Atheists in Foxholes Demand Recognition

Monday, April 04, 2011
Atheists in Foxholes (L-R Sgt. Mike Aguilar, SPC Christopher Carr, SPC Jeremy Hall, SPC Tony Hernandez, and SPC Dustin Chalker)
There is a saying that “There are no atheists in foxholes,” meaning that in times of war, every soldier believes in God. Wrong. A group of atheists, agnostics, humanists and others based at the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg have formed an organization for non-believers that is seeking recognition from military officials.
“We exist, we’re here, we’re normal,” Sergeant Justin Griffith, chief organizer of Military Atheists and Secular Humanists (MASH), told the Associated Press. “We’re also in foxholes. That’s a big one, right there.”
Without official recognition from the Army, MASH can’t hold meetings at Fort Bragg. For now, members gather off base in homes or bars, providing a friendly place for like-minded soldiers to talk.
Named after the hit 1970s television show about the Korean War, this MASH came about after Fort Bragg hosted an evangelical rock concert in January that bothered the new group’s organizers. At the time they attempted to hold a counter music festival for non-believers but gave up, claiming a lack of support from base leaders.
Non-theists have held meetings at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
If MASH receives recognition from Fort Bragg authorities, its members will be allowed to distribute literature alongside Bibles and Qurans. According to a report released last June by the Pentagon's Military Leadership Diversity Commission, 20-25% of military personnel have no religious preference and 3.6% identify themselves as humanists.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Army Group Says There ARE Atheists in Foxholes (by Tom Breen, Associated Press)


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