This Saturday, Rock Beyond Belief concert at Fort Bragg, NC.
The U.S. military has not always been friendly to atheists. I was an atheist in the military, by the way. When I was in basic training, I could either go to chapel on Sundays or perform chores in the barracks. I chose to do the chores. But why was the only free time available for atheists on a Sunday, if they went to chapel? After all, there were no humanist alternatives.
I didn't have the option to read books by Robert Ingersoll or even Kurt Vonnegut, whose books had humanistic themes to them. (By the way, if you haven't read Vonnegut, you must.) Indeed, when I checked in at Fort Dix my first night, the only books allowed were religious texts, there is no way I could have kept a book written by a humanist.
In the military, atheists are thought of as pickings for chaplains or religious organizations to convert. In military academies flag officers (generals or admirals) have used their position to advocate for their own religious beliefs, knowing no one, especially a military cadet, is going to argue with them.
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (which has many Christians as members) are two organzations who strive to ensure that those in positions of authority don't abuse that granted authority, in promoting their own religious beliefs.
Well, this Saturday, March 31st, there will be a concert entitled Rock Beyond Belief at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It will have speakers such as renown evolutionary biologist, Dr. Richard Dawkins and strangely enough the son of Fred "God hates f.gs" Phelps. Good to know that Nathan Phelps left the hyper homophobia of his father. Also, Mikey Weinstein, of the previously mentioned MRFF, will also be there.There will be music of course.
The event has not gotten the support that the religious concert, Rock the Fort, got when it played at Fort Bragg. The commanders of the base obviously cared more about a promotion of Christianity than the ability of despised atheists and freethinkers to put on this concert.
So, while supposedly atheists don't exist in the military, we are said to all convert on the battlefield, it is good to know that for once they will have a chance to come together and make their voices heard.
I hope if there is a President Santorum, that atheists will be allowed to have these concerts again in the future. With him though, I am not that sure.