- Sam Johnson Talks Change but Legislates Status Quo
March 26, 2015
A few days ago, Representative Sam Johnson, R-TX, representing Plano, North of Dallas, has chosen to take up the ongoing holy war to evangelize the US military. He recently stood on the floor of the Congress ranting about atheists and persecuted Christians because someone wanted to defend the Constitution without having to swear to his ...
- Navy Chief of Chaplains Reinforces Pluralism
March 20, 2015
Update: Local command Response letter added t the Chief’s response below.
The Navy has re-affirmed pluralism in the wake of one chaplain who was dismissed for relying exclusively on “biblical” counseling. Two weeks ago, Liberty Institute and other Christian privilege advocacy organizations told the story of Chaplain Modder, a Navy chaplain who is pending dismissal from the Navy. ...
- Do Atheists Curse a Blessed Day?
March 14, 2015
Objections from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently led to new policy at an Air Force installation to stop its gate guards from greeting visitors with “Have a blessed day.” The objection was that this religious greeting was inappropriate for government officials in the performance of their official duties. Certainly the objection was valid and ...
- Do You Even Chaplain, Bro?
March 10, 2015
A Chaplain has been dismissed (pending appeal) from military service for evangelizing troops under his care. Kudos to the military for finally enforcing professional chaplain conduct. That having been said, this issue is still under investigation and the details are by no means all understood. So MAAF and readers should withhold judgement until and if relevant ...
- Air Force Celebrates Humanists at Offutt AFB
March 4, 2015
In a great leap forward for acceptance of Humanists, Offutt Air Force Base posted a story celebrating the approval of Offutt Humanists, aka OH!, as a recognized Private Organization. While Chaplains provide advertising, space, resources, and organization for beliefs they deem acceptable, humanists and other nontheists are on their own to work through Private Organization procedures, like ...
- Reason Magazine Denies Service of Atheists
March 3, 2015
With a name like Reason Magazine, one would expect a certain level of respect for, well, reason. Apparently that’s not the case. Stephanie Slade, Deputy Managing Editor at Reason, authored an article with the subheading, “There may be no nonbelievers in a foxhole—but there were some this year at CPAC.” This denies my service and that ...
- The Rise and Fall of an Honorary Navy Chief Petty Officer
February 25, 2015
Guest post by Chief Petty Officer ETC(SW) Doug Wright
For decades, Bill Cosby was an American icon. If you were anything like me as a teen, you would find yourself sitting faithfully in front of the color TV to watch the latest episode of ‘The Cosby Show’. I can still remember with surprising clarity many of the jokes, one-liners ...
- Schriever AFB Gives Special Promotion to Christianity
February 24, 2015
At Schriever Air Force Base east of Colorado Springs, and unfortunately at many installations around the country, Bible Study continues to the main effort for chaplains. MAAF has reached out to the Air Force Chief of Chaplains on multiple occasions to discuss this issue, but there seems to be no interest at all in resolving or even addressing ...
- MAAF Affiliates in 2015 Off To A Strong Start
February 12, 2015
2015 has started off at a run for the MAAF Affiliate groups around the globe. We are in the process of developing affiliates in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Ellsworth in South Dakota. Internationally, MAAF affiliates are developing in Korea, Stuttgart in Germany, and Naples and NAS Sigonella in Italy. These newly ...
- Be the Match with MASH Hawaii
January 2, 2015
Aloha from MASH Hawaii!
Under new leadership, MASH Hawaii is being revitalized and is again holding events and meetings. This affiliate now has a Group on Facebook, where members can communicate with one another and organize gatherings and volunteer opportunities. Which is exactly what Affiliate Coordinator Beth Romero has done. Their first meeting was a dinner ...
- Merry Everything, Happy Always! Seasons Best From MAAF
December 23, 2014
“Merry Everything, Happy Always!”
This was the quote shared by MASH Fort Campbell on their parade float for the Clarksville, Tennessee annual holiday parade. The group constructed a parade float that informed the viewers of the “Evolution of Christmas,” showing how the holiday evolved from a winter solstice celebration, to Saturnalia, Yule, and finally Christmas. Members ...
- 5th Ranger Battalion Disciplines Evangelical Chaplain
December 11, 2014
A few weeks ago, a chaplain delivered a Christian sermon and materials as part of mandatory suicide prevention training to 5th Ranger Training Battalion. MAAF immediately contacted the command, alerted them to the situation, and asked for the opportunity to work toward a resolution at the lowest level. Receiving no immediate response and knowing that commanders were in attendance ...
- Soledad Cross – Monument to Underhanded Christian Politics
December 9, 2014
The giant Christian cross on Mt Soledad in San Diego has been the focus a long-running fight to promote Christianity on public land. The National Defense Authorization Act, published December 2nd, includes a provision to confer the Mt Soledad Cross to the Secretary of Defense and then to a private party. This follows a convoluted, 20+ year ...
- The Perfect Gift for your Religious Family
December 8, 2014
I recently finished Living the Secular Life by Phil Zuckerman. It was a great sociological assessment by a sociologist. I was quite confused at first because I am used to ‘atheist’ books the question god and ‘humanist’ books with lots of life lessons. I was confused at first, until I realized this was not such a ...
- Atheists at the Christmas Party
December 7, 2014
Holiday events are starting. In the video below from before Thanksgiving, I encourage MAAF members to participate in Holiday/Christmas Party planning. Joining other groups, the MAAF Chapter in Kaiserslautern, Germany is having a Holiday party potluck event. This year should be the year that everyone sees atheists participate in holiday cheer. That’s the best way ...
- Meet the Fine Folks with MASH Fort Bragg!
December 5, 2014
Are you headed to Fort Bragg? Are you there currently? Are you looking for a group of free thinking individuals who make a difference in their community? You’ve come to the right place! Meet up with MASH Fort Bragg.
They are a social organization of active military, veterans, dependents and civilians, in the Fayetteville and Sandhills ...
- Ranger Suicide Prevention Becomes Christian Sermon
November 21, 2014
Update 12/28: Chris Carroll with Stars and Stripes quotes Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning as saying, “ role is not to provide religious instruction during non-religious mandatory training classes… Chaplains may appropriately share their personal experiences, but any religious information given by a Chaplain to a military formation should ...
- Air Force Mutes Prohibitions Against Proselytism
November 16, 2014
Update: Testimony by MAAF to Congressional hearing 11/19/2014
The new Air Force Instruction 1-1 is published with eliminations of the more inclusive regulations in the original publication. Language explicitly restricting commanders and chaplains from proselytizing has been removed. However, the language still acknowledges the importance of the establishment clause alongside the free exercise clause. So while important ...
- Marine Evangelism Flourishes As Humanists Ignored
November 6, 2014
A new video of Marines, in uniform, singing a Christian praise song during the official Faith Warriors Sunday worship service event a Marine Training. MAAF congratulates Camp Pendleton for providing such outstanding Christian support. MAAF has offered to prepare similar services with the support of a local Navy Chief Petty Officer certified as a humanist leader, ...
- Navy Approves Atheist Lay Leader
October 28, 2014
In a great leap forward for diversity of belief, commanders on the USS Makin Island have approved an Atheist Lay Leader. Chief Petty Officer Martin Healey completed lay leader training, got assistance and an endorsement by way of Paul Loebe of American Atheists, and was approved.
The lay leader convened a meeting of 5 others on the vessel ...
- Remembering SMSgt Fred Green
October 24, 2014
We are sad to announce the death of Fred Green, one of the original MAAF members and one of my own inspirations to activism. We met first in 1999 or 2000 when he was with Washington Area Secular Humanists. I was new to humanism and it was great to see him able to live his ...
- VFW and Alabama Town Leave Foxhole Atheists Behind
October 20, 2014
Adding to a long history of promoting Christianity under the guise of supporting veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veterans organizations have funded and promoted a monument to “The Glory of God” in Baldwin County, Alabama. Courageous activist Amanda Scott, a student in the area, stood up to speak for atheists in foxholes. ...
- I Freakin’ Get It – Why It’s Important That I Support Military Atheists
October 16, 2014
Recently, I was at an event hosted by one of the many Atheist groups in the D.C. area, with several of the movers and shakers in the atheist/humanist community here. I chatted for a bit with a few of these folk, in between the other things going on at the event, about the work I’ve ...
- Lemoore, Buehring Troops: Fear God, Accept Creationism
October 5, 2014
There is a long way to go for acceptance of nontheists in the military, and the overriding influence of Christianity is doing nothing to help. Two troubling reports exemplify the problem. In both cases, leaders seem baffled as to what the problem is. The first is from 2-34 Armor Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division, currently ...
- MAAF Gets the Guidestar Gold
September 22, 2014
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers Has Reached the GuideStar Exchange Gold Participation Level as a Demonstration of Its Commitment to Transparency
Washington, D.C. – The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) today received the GuideStar Exchange Gold participation level, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier ...
- Secular families face special challenges in military communities
September 18, 2014
Contributed by Erika Douglass
Last year, my son attended a theist preschool. While waiting for class to be released, I asked another parent about how she got started being a foster parent. She rambled on for a few moments, giving me Christian based websites to look at, then she did something I still can’t believe. She ...
- VICTORY: MAAF-AHA partnership ends mandatory Air Force religious oath
September 17, 2014
Air Force officials have relented, after pressure from everyone, military and civilian, atheist and theist, and reinstated the secular affirmation option.
Thanks to the American Humanist Association in particular and also to support from the Center For Inquiry, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Department of Defense who directed the Air Force to change. And ...
- Secular groups take aim at mandatory military religion
September 12, 2014
Atheists are in foxholes and always have been. Yet the Air Force has recently dug in to try to oust those who don’t fit new religious (read: Christian) requirements. In early August, a MAAF member, an Air Force NCO, reported that he was being denied the opportunity to re-enlist in the Air Force unless he ...
- As Summer Winds Down, MAAF Keeps Moving!
September 8, 2014
Summer winds down and MAAF keeps winding up. August brought a number of new members to MAAF and its Affiliate groups, as well as a number of PCS moves that shuffled individuals and families to new locations. MASH Ft Campbell is keeping up with the trivia circuit, and adding new activities, including movie nights, karakoe ...
- Florida Mayor Unfair to Foxhole Atheists
September 4, 2014
In the city of Winter Garden, Florida, they think a religious Pledge is necessary to support troops overseas. Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta reports on the Freedom From Religion Foundation defense of a man who chose not to stand due to the continuing religious bias in the Pledge of Allegiance. MAAF entirely supports honoring our nation ...
- Modern SMART Recovery treatment supplanting AA 12-step
August 28, 2014
Prohibition ended in 1933, at least for alcohol. Now we have the War on Drugs which was started by Richard Nixon in 1971 as a response to high rates of heroin addiction among soldiers in Vietnam. During the 1980s, the war on drugs was more apparent as an effort to stop crack cocaine. From Prohibition to ...
- US Military Academy SSA Greets ’18 Plebes
August 18, 2014
On 12 August 2014 the United States Military Academy (USMA) incoming class of 2018 conducted a 12-mile forced march from Camp Buckner to the academy. The march is the culminating event of cadet basic training where they were taught land navigation, marksmanship, and, perhaps most importantly, how to survive within the Corps of Cadets. Now ...
- July Flew By for MAAF Affiliates
August 13, 2014
July has been an extremely productive month for MAAF and its Affiliate groups around the globe! Jason, MAAF President, and Maj. Ryan Jean, local MAAF member, participated as panelist experts during the American Humanist Association’s Congressional briefing concerning Humanist Chaplains. The following week, both participated in a Twitter Chat, also sponsored by the AHA, discussing ...
- Secularizing Religious Patriotism
August 8, 2014
Humans use a variety of mediums to express thoughts, ideas, messages, and a variety of other things. Music is one that every culture across the globe relates to. Catchy tunes help us remember the message, which is why commercial jingles are so popular. On national levels, we’ve been exposed to music to help us develop ...
- MAAF Graphics Contest 1
July 31, 2014
MAAF Graphics Contest Round 1: T-Shirt
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers is hosting a Graphic Design contest to create T-Shirts. Help make MAAF’s message more prominent in today’s fast-paced environment!
This graphic may be used on our website, social media pages, brochures, or on products like t-shirts, buttons, pins, and other items. The focus of ...
- Jumpin’ June – MAAF Affiliates in Review
July 10, 2014
June was an interesting month for MAAF! Jason and Rose attended the Secular Coalition For America 2014 Lobby Day Conference in Washington DC, meeting with many of the movers and shakers of the Secular movement from around the country. They participated in workshops and lobby training, listened to members of Congress and the House speak ...
- In Memoriam – Gary Guillen
July 2, 2014
Gary A. Guillen unexpectedly passed away at the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on April 10, 2014 at the age of 63. MASH Fort Bragg members honored his passing over Memorial Day weekend. Born in Wyoming on March 19, 1951, Gary grew up to serve in the United States Army in the Vietnam War as ...
- Where Military Service Leaves Off, Music Begins
June 25, 2014
I am Chief Master Sergeant Rich Brown, a recent retiree from the United States Air Force. I originally entered the service in December of 1984, specializing as an Independent Duty Medical Technician (4N000 SEI 496). Since then, I have served all over the world, most recently at RAF Lakenheath in England. I am retiring to ...
- May In Review – MAAF’s Amazing Affiliates
June 11, 2014
The month of May was a busy one for MAAF! Jason completed a trip to North and South Carolina to promote the organization and talk with local organizations about support for our nontheist service men and women, and developed contacts for future outreach. Rose was busy in the MAAF office reaching out to our local ...
- War College thesis masks real issues with Victimhood campaign
May 29, 2014
A new ‘monograph’ by Don Snider and Al Shine has been published through the Army War College. This monograph proposes to review the role of personal beliefs (And expressions thereof) in the professional military ethic. More specifically, the authors analyze impacts and suggest resolution for “hostility” toward religion in the military. In reviewing the piece, ...
- Only One Not Cheering
May 16, 2014
Anne Klaeysen, Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, recently gave a platform address on the power of poetry to express human values and humanist values. “Poetry has the power to inspire us and elicit empathy for others. It can turn us inward to reflect upon the meaning of our lives, as well as open us up to ...
- Check Out What MAAF Affiliates Are Up To!
May 9, 2014
MAAF Affiliates have been busy in April, with a wide variety of activities, outreach, and community building. Here at MAAF National, Jason has been working with the Seventh Day Adventists to develop training materials that bridge the gap between our communities to provide support and grief counseling. He has also been busy visiting Chaplains and ...
- MASH Ft Bragg Dogwood Festival
May 8, 2014
Fayetteville, North Carolina Dogwood Festival runs every spring and provides an opportunity for the community around Ft Bragg to interact. Military Atheists & Secular Humanists at Ft Bragg is one of the longest-running affiliates of the MAAF Network and set up a booth for this year’s festival on April 26th and 27th. Brenda and Paul Germain ...
- Review: Coming Out Atheist
May 2, 2014
Coming Out Atheist is a new book of guidance and stories that show the challenges of being atheist in America. Our challenges are not nearly those of gays in the 1970s or African Americans in the 1940s, or of atheists today in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, or elsewhere around the world. We are, however, like those ...
- Healthy Resolution of Conflict at RAF Lakenheath
April 25, 2014
Shane Hinton is stationed at RAF Lakenheath, UK. He has been active with the local humanist communities and is one of our certified lay leaders. He is married with (soon to be) two children. He recounts this story of resolving issues in the workplace.
Today (Apr 18, 2014) was dedicated to sexual assault prevention training. After briefing with ...
- Foxhole Atheist Heroism
April 11, 2014
MAAF would like to recognize member Tori Aletheia’s recent Foxhole Atheist Heroism; Tori and her partner on the police force saved a local family of eight from a burning home on March 25, 2014.
Eight people escaped an overnight house fire Tuesday thanks to two police officers.
Read more: http://www.kcci.com/news/7-escape-overnight-house-fire/25150358#ixzz2yUSE032Z
Good can be done without a god, and people ...
- Atheist Marine Honors Fallen Friend
March 27, 2014
As service members and veterans of the military, we have all taken a good, hard look at the person we are inside and recognized a call to duty. Many of us completed enlistments and commissions, and returned home safely, none the worse for wear. We conceptualize what it would mean to not come back, to ...
- Air Force Academy Freethinkers Seek Understanding
March 20, 2014
The latest gossip from the Air Force Academy is about “censorship of religious commentary” by erasing a whiteboard and “proselytizing for atheism” with an optional information booth. That’s what people hear about, but the Freethinkers Club, which is a recognized cadet club focusing on nontheist community and topics, has persevered through recurring controversies for years. These ...
- Introducing Our New Outreach & Operations Coordinator
March 14, 2014
As President of MAAF, I’m excited to present Rose Eaton, CVA as the new Outreach and Operations Coordinator for MAAF. She will be focusing on MAAF membership and local groups. Building community is MAAF’s primary mission, and so as MAAF grew, the Outreach mission was the first priority for full-time staff. MAAF enjoyed a strong response ...
- Elsinore City Christian War Shrine Fails Legal Scrutiny
March 2, 2014
One of the most contentious issues MAAF covers is that of Christian and religious war memorials. MAAF supports religious freedom, religious memorials and grave markers for individuals, and the rights of private citizens on private land to fund and set up whatever memorials they like. However, it is impossible for our nation to be free ...
- Veterans Step in at Secular Kids Camps
February 25, 2014
Camp Quest is an international network of camps for “children of nontheistic parents”. There is a long tradition of sending kids away during summer for values, socializing, and personal growth (and a bit of time away from home). Camp Quest West is a dual camp with northern and southern California locations operating this July. Camp ...
- Profile: Navy RP Todd Kregel, Atheist Chaplain Assistant
February 17, 2014
The MAAF membership includes a number of chaplain assistants. While the chaplaincy has not embraced humanists and other nontheists, we are working among chaplains already, and this is one story.
My name is Todd Kregel, and I am an atheist chaplain’s assistant in the United States Navy. We go by “RP” Specialist for “Religious Programs” Specialist. ...
- Religious Accommodation Expands Beyond Christianity
January 29, 2014
The Department of Defense has published an updated regulation on religious accommodation (see text: DoDI 1300.17). They represent a thorough and thoughtful effort to manage post-DOMA strife caused by some who continue to oppose all lesbian and gay rights. It is only fair to point out that military policy and culture was, up until recently, effectively ...
- Review: Reason’s Fifth Dawning
January 20, 2014
Reason’s Fifth Dawning, or R5D, was written by MAAF member and veteran (pseudonym) Alan Jeskin. Some may consider the ‘downfall of religion’ a negative, anti-religious topic, but the method is one of enlightenment not oppression. Readers will be interested to see what about “religion” Jeskin’s new society replaces rather than rejecting outright. I wanted to ...
- Humanist Groups Come Together to Support Troops
December 25, 2013
Troops overseas are receiving lots of care packages and support. Included in that are foxhole atheists receiving dedicated packages this holiday season. Whether celebrating HumanLight, Winter Solstice, Festivus, a good old Secular Christmas or Hannukah or no holiday at all, it’s always nice to hear from home. The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers have ...
- MAAF Celebrates our veterans coast-to-coast
October 25, 2013
This veterans day, MAAF is partnering with local organizations to honor veterans including foxhole atheists. In the Northern Virginia / DC area or the LA/Santa Barbara area on the west coast, you can join MAAF. If you aren’t able, consider another way to honor veterans in your area.
November 8th at 4PM at American University with ...
- Memorial: Captain Jeff Lucas
October 24, 2013
Jeff Lucas and family. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations in memorium to Freethinkers of Colorado Springs.
It is with sadness that MAAF marks the death of Jeff Lucas, who, for decades, advocated for and supported the atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists at the Air Force Academy. He was also a long-time leader at ...
- Profile: Airman Taylor Grin
October 17, 2013
guest post by Airman Taylor Grin
When I enlisted in the Air Force, one of my chief concerns was how I would be treated as an atheist. After I swore in, one of the first things I did was sign up with the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and send in a message asking if ...
- White House Addresses Military Spiritual Fitness Training
September 24, 2013
The US military has a real problem with mental health and suicides. The military is addressing these issues with hotlines, training, and a wide array of professional mental health training to not just address issues but to change culture. A component of this has been “spirituality,” which relies heavily on chaplains, like chaplains, has neglected ...
- Chelsea Manning and Transgender Service
September 20, 2013
Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, wants to transition from biologically male to female. It has been generally understood or at least suspected that Bradley identifies as a woman. Some are skeptical, but let us assume this is a sincere request (especially considering the physical changes required of someone making such a sincere request). So we ...
- Military chaplaincy faces choice of mission or anti-gay toleration
September 11, 2013
Update 3/26: SDA Guidance, Update 10/31: Texas Baptist Guidance and August DoD Guidance, Update 10/2: Disciples of Christ guidance, Update 9/19: Catholic Guidance, see below for details.
The military chaplaincy faces a clear threat as more chaplain endorsers come out with policies denouncing their duties in favor of anti-gay theology. There is also redemption in the ...
- Humanist Society offers free weddings to same-gender couples
September 10, 2013
The Humanist Society is providing for free wedding services for same-gender military personnel. MAAF and the Society work together closely, with MAAF assisting Society-endorsed lay leaders, celebrants, and chaplains to find recognition within Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs settings. Recently, Captain Ryan Jean officiated a military wedding. And MAAF has reached out to various ...
- Didn’t Southern Baptists Just Resign as Military Chaplains?
September 3, 2013
While Southern Baptists did not directly withdraw from chaplaincy, their recent policy letter essentially reads that their chaplains are now prohibited from performing many of their official military duties. The North American Mission Board, the endorsing agency for the Southern Baptist Convention, has issued policy to its chaplains in the wake continuing acceptance of gays and ...
- Profile: Captain Ryan Jean
August 27, 2013
Disclaimer: This website is not endorsed by the DoD or its affiliates. The statements made are of the individual’s alone and do not reflect policy of DoD or its affiliates. This is a series of profiles showing the face of MAAF around the globe. Captain Ryan Jean talks about the marriage he recently presided over ...
- Profile: Major Anthony Posada
August 13, 2013
Disclaimer: This website is not endorsed by the DoD or its affiliates. The statements made are of the individual’s alone and do not reflect policy of DoD or its affiliates. This is a series of profiles showing the face of MAAF around the globe. Anthony talks about his family’s reliance on humanism in the face ...
- Interfaith leaders support humanist chaplaincy
August 5, 2013
Jason Heap, a Humanist Celebrant with Masters degrees from Brite Divinity school and Oxford Theology, has applied to be a humanist chaplain. Some Christians have decided to treat his application as a threat, denouncing the idea as an ‘oxymoron’ and ‘contradiction in terms’. Other Christians and chaplaincy professionals have decided to speak for themselves. A broad ...
- Humanist Alternatives to Church at Air Force Basic Training
August 4, 2013
In a major step forward for humanist support, alternatives to church have been provided to humanists at Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base. Victoria Gettman, Debbie Bienen, and the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas have stepped forward to help Air Force trainees who are looking for humanist support. The request started with ...
- Profile: Staff Sergeant Grace Greer
July 26, 2013
Disclaimer: This website is not endorsed by the DoD or its affiliates. The statements made are of the individual’s alone and do not reflect policy of DoD or its affiliates. This is a series of profiles showing the face of MAAF around the globe. Grace talks about her values and passion as a humanist and ...
- Profile: Staff Sergeant Kassandra Mueller
July 21, 2013
Disclaimer: This website is not endorsed by the DoD or its affiliates. The statements made are of the individual’s alone and do not reflect policy of DoD or its affiliates. This is a series of profiles showing the face of MAAF around the globe. Kassandra talks about writing letters to other foxhole atheists.
My name is ...
- Wansink Veteran Prayer Study Illuminates Foxhole Atheists
July 18, 2013
Two brothers, Drs Brian and Craig Wansink have self-funded and directed a study of responses to combat stress in and after military service. The study was published in the independent Journal of Religion and Health.
The interim media coverage showed combat vets pray in response to stress. Many outlets friendly to nontheists were quick to condemn ...
- Review: The Citizen Lobbyist
July 14, 2013
The more our citizens (that’s YOU) engage in public policy and with our elected officials, the more our government — and therefore our society — will benefit. – Amanda Knief, The Citizen Lobbyist
There’s a new resource out for those who want to participate in government and influence our political process. With a 5×8 size and ...
- Veterans Administration Hammers Through Barriers to Diversity
July 13, 2013
The Veterans Administration, in its list of authorized emblems for its headstones, has been a pioneer in recognizing diverse beliefs. They have recently added the Hammer of Thor, named Mjölnir (Crusher), to accommodate the wishes of sincere devotees of pagan (Ásatrúar) beliefs. They also include other pagan symbols, Jewish, Native American, Sikh, atheist, and humanist ...
- New Coalition Speaks Out For Christian Privilege
July 10, 2013
Some of the most extreme proponents of Christian privilege combined forces on July 9th to give a briefing outside the Capitol. This including Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council, Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance, and Representatives Louie Gohmert, John Fleming, and Jim Bridenstine. They laid out their case, essentially, that ...
- Military Atheists Celebrate DOMA Downfall
June 26, 2013
Today the Supreme Court reinstated equal marriage in California and opened the door to allow federal government agencies to recognize the marriages of military men and women throughout the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. MAAF applauds this decision and will continue to support efforts to reform military culture and practices to ensure equal ...
- Ft Benning Atheists Run For Heroes
June 25, 2013
by Alexandra Meehan
RUN FOR THE HEROS was running high on Jesus this last Memorial Day weekend. The run may have advertised itself as “using our love of running to help this worthy cause,” and described itself as, “new, fresh and interesting.” The 260-mile run across Georgia was spread over a span of five days. Run ...
- Foxhole atheists speak out against Congress on social media
June 7, 2013
This article is one of two on the issue. Read background on this issue including the MAAF position, arguments and additional resources. This article by Alexandra Meehan covers social media response. Also, the Secular Coalition Action Alert from 6/11 provides additional background.
On the MAAF Facebook page, MAAF posted the following comment and link: “Congress ignorantly denouncing atheists and avoiding ...
- Foxhole atheists denounce Congressional ignorance of humanist values
June 7, 2013
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers and its thousands of current and prior military members are denouncing the ignorance and prejudice displayed by Representative Mike Conway who declared that atheists believe in nothing and would tell a grieving family their son was “worm food”. Representative Fleming worried a humanist chaplain would tell a dying soldier there ...
- MASH Hawaii to Godless Liberty
May 24, 2013
by Alexandra Meehan
As the need for a stronger community of freethinkers continues to grow, MAAF has expanded to inspire and support affiliate programs in many areas including MASH Hawaii. MASH leaders work closely with the Hawaii Secular Society, which is a “community of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists, brights, skeptics, naturalists, and all other nontheists.” MASH Hawaii consists primarily within ...
- MAAF at Tinker AFB helps with tornado disaster relief
May 23, 2013
Joseph Griffin leads the local MAAF affiliate at Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City. He is one of many rushing to aid those in Moore, Oklahoma. As a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, he has been coordinating his unit’s 24-7 relief efforts. In addition to that, he is planning his own relief efforts ...
- Family Research Council Misrepresents Our Military
May 18, 2013
After adopting military cast-off and anti-Muslim crusader retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, the Family Research Council is taking special interest in publishing their own special spin on military policy. They recently published a list of offenses against Christianity and their own FRC. But, not surprisingly, they got some facts wrong. Unlike their own list which ...
- MAAF Requests Inclusion in Spiritual Wingman Toolkit
May 1, 2013
Click to go to the Add-A-Resource Form, enter militaryatheists.org, and use the quoted text below to recommend the MAAF site be added as a resource. More info below.
The Air Force Reserve Command has created a Wingman Toolkit with a seemingly positive purpose:
The Wingman Toolkit is an Air Force Reserve initiative to empower Airmen and their families to sustain ...
- Review of The God Argument by AC Grayling
April 3, 2013
A new book has been published laying out the case against religion and for humanism. It’s called “The God Argument: the Case Against Religion and For Humanism.” Seems simple enough, but this is by AC Grayling, immediate past president of the British Humanist Association and eminent British philosopher of decades’ experience and renown. Sam Harris ...
- Humanist Chaplains in the Dutch Military
March 29, 2013
In the United States, humanist chaplains are decried as contradictions in terms or as abominations against the Christian establishment. Chaplains provide a valuable service to boost the morals and morale in the military, health care positions, the military and other specialized settings. MAAF continues to reach out to equal chaplain services for humanists. Thus far, ...
- Military Atheists at Tinker AFB Lead Through Service
March 26, 2013
At Tinker Air Force Base, atheists and humanists are building a supportive community. They are doing so through service in the local community. Staff Sergeant Joseph Griffin is stationed at Tinker and wanted to meet with other nontheists like him. He contacted MAAF for support and direction and set up a group on Facebook. The ...
- Dawkins Foundation Continues Care Package Support
March 25, 2013
For more than a year, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has partnered with the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) to send over 300 care packages to military personnel around the world. These packages have gone from Japan and Djibouti, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Richard Dawkins Foundation, through its existing store has provided increased efficiencies to allow ...
- Mass Invites To Church Unchecked in Military Units
March 12, 2013
What is the purpose of command information systems? Is it for official business or is it an advertising service for Christian events? A common email to “All Personnel” email distributions is the call to worship services. Chaplains do provide services to the command and they should, as command staff, occasionally have access to systems, but ...
- Center for Inquiry Takes Up Fight Against Military Evangelism
March 10, 2013
A new agency has taken up the struggle against religious fundamentalism in the US Military – the Center For Inquiry Office of Public Policy. The Office’s new director, Michael DeDora, commissioned a white paper from Dr James Parco to assess and make recommendations regarding fundamentalism in the US military. Dr Parco wrote 30 pages outlining ...
- A Visit to the Chaplain and a Debate
March 8, 2013
Recently a MAAF member visited the local chaplains office at an Army medical center. He visited the head chaplain and asked what he could do for an atheist.
He started by stating it depended on what the atheist wanted. He was clear that it his job encompasses the entire unit, but he didn’t make any outside ...
- Get Ready for the Secular Coalition Lobby Day
February 28, 2013
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers participates in several coalitions, including the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, Coalition for Liberty & Justice, and the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy. Through these efforts, we provide key insights to ensure that nontheists in the military are represented in a variety of policy areas. Our most important coalition ...
- Christian Embassy Video Culprit Given Top Post at West Point
January 26, 2013
Rewards continue for those who were found to have violated regulations by promoting Christianity at the Pentagon in Uniform. MAAF has learned that Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, past President of the Officers’ Christian Fellowship, is slated to be the next Superintendent at the US Military Academy. LTG Caslen was found in 2007 to have violated regulations for ...
- Military Atheists Expanding to Special Ops at Ft Bragg
January 22, 2013
Ft Bragg is the home of primary deployment center for the Army’s combat power. Home to Forces Command (the Army’s deployable forces), including the famous 82nd Airborne Division and Special Operations Command, Ft Bragg is one of the most important military installations. It’s not surprising that it would be a focus for atheists and humanists ...
- A Merry Christmas From Military Atheists at Travis AFB
December 24, 2012
At Travis Air Force Base, the local affiliate of MAAF, North Bay Military Atheists & Secular Humanists, has posted an inclusive holiday greeting, wishing all on the installation a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Solstice, and Happy HumanLight. The local local group discussed the proper approach and wanted to make sure to maximize the diversity ...
- Hawaii Military Atheists Celebrate with Charity and Service
December 21, 2012
Across the military, atheists and humanists are reaching out to support their local communities. Hawaii MAAF Affiliate M*A*S*H* Hawaii with organizer Jacob Milich and lay leader Nick Stenkamp support Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hickam AFB, Schofield Barracks, and Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay. They’ve shown their holiday spirit by doing a food drive for local homeless persons ...
- A Tale of Three Christmases at NSA Bahrain, Schofield Barracks, and Fort Belvoir
December 10, 2012
Update: NSA Bahrain spokesperson Jennifer Stride confirms to MAAF that the Nativity celebration will be held in the chapel December 24th. This is the win-win outcome requested by MAAF and originally reported in this article. The prevailing right wing narrative, “Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint” was misleading at best when posted and is now ...
- Cadet Leaves West Point After Resiliency Programs Fail
December 6, 2012
Blake Page was scheduled to graduate in the summer of 2013 after four years at West Point. Instead, he will return home to Minnesota and seek a new profession outside the military. Why? More than most cadets, he struggled with the military oversight, the academic pressure, and the long hours. Whereas many cadets have command ...
- UK Boy Scouts Consider Atheist Members
December 5, 2012
Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner for the Boy Scouts, has posted a video asking its members for input on accepting atheist members. In particular, this would require an alternate, secular, Scout Promise to replace the UK Scout Promise currently in use:
On my honour, I promise that I will do my best,
To do my duty to God ...
- Devil’s Advocate: Prayer Lunch Flyer
November 9, 2012
Devil’s Advocate is new recurring article regarding military policy. The focus will be on a specific incident reported to MAAF. The purpose will be to take the facts of an issue to create a vignette that can be used for decision-making by leaders and for training on what right looks like with respect to treatment ...
- Godless Patriots Brand Supports Military Atheists
November 8, 2012
Steven Arauza, a geologist in Austin, has gotten into the t-shirt business. He has a love of country and an atheist worldview. He wants to make sure people know that patriotism and support for troops is common in the nontheist community. Your support through Kickstarter will help Steven to start a business that will increase ...
- Academy Religious Respect Conference Not for Atheists
October 29, 2012
On October 30th and 31st, the US Air Force Academy will celebrate its bi-annual Religious Respect Conference to highlight progress since its 2010 conference. Major changes seem to be in two main areas. The first area is increased services for religious groups that are, according to the official Academy article regarding the Conference, “outside the ...
- Remembering Paul Kurtz, Humanist Pioneer
October 21, 2012
Paul Kurtz has been a leader in the humanist movement for his entire life. He was integral to the development of the American Humanist Association, Center For Inquiry, and his most recent endeavor, the Institute for Science and Human Values. He led the movement from a scholarly perspective, publishing a long list of books and ...
- Growing Military Humanist Groups Hear Trailblazing Speakers
October 18, 2012
For too long, local groups of atheists and humanists in the military have operated without recognition and still struggle for equality. This fall, Academy groups have official recognition and openness by officials have made possible great events off and on military installations. Atheists and humanists across the country have exercised their expanding rights with speakers who ...
- Religious Intrusions Mar Army Suicide Stand-Down
October 1, 2012
Suicide rates in the US military exceed one per day. This has been identified by military leaders as a crisis requiring attention throughout the military. Last Thursday, there was an Army-wide “stand down” to focus on suicide prevention training. However, reports are coming in that chaplain-led sessions on ‘resilience’ showed a priority on religion, prayer, ...
- Humanists host speaker at Ft Bragg chaplain facility
September 26, 2012
At Ft Bragg on Sep 22nd, David Niose presented topics from his new book Nonbeliever Nation. Central North Carolina Atheists & Humanists (CNCAH) coordinated to make the event happen. Ft Bragg chaplains showed openness to nontheists in allowing the event at Watters Family Life Center on Ft Bragg. This is a positive step forward, showing openness from the chaplaincy ...
- Military Academies Recognize Student Humanist Groups
August 29, 2012
For the first time, groups of atheists, humanists, and freethinkers have been given official recognition at the nation’s military academies. USAFA Freethinkers, Naval Academy Freethinkers and Atheists, and the West Point Secular Student Alliance all had tables at the Academy club nights. Between 40 and 60 cadets and midshipmen are participating in each group. Challenges ...
- New Air Force Standards Protect Nonreligious Personal Beliefs
August 26, 2012
Airmen everywhere just received a new foundational regulation for their use – Air Force Instruction 1-1 Air Force Standards. The regulation covers values, conduct, ethics, equal opportunity, and appearance.
This regulation also serves to codify the interim guidance on religious accommodation released in 2000, 2006, and 2011. In particular, this guidance recognizes nonreligious/nontheistic beliefs:
“Leaders at all ...
- Questions Regarding Navy Base Bahrain Gospel Outreach Concert
August 16, 2012
At Naval Support Activity Bahrain, a “Gospel Desert Outreach Concert” is scheduled on the final Friday of Ramadan. The Chaplain sent an all-hands email August 16th to announce worship services, Bible classes, Catholic transition, and a concert to “reach people with the Good News”. Such an event brings to mind the clear violations with the ...
- Legion Publishes Political Platform, Under God
August 15, 2012
The American Legion has supported veterans since they received a Congressional Charter in 1919. They began with a Preamble “For God and Country” to ensure “First things have been put first. All that follows is in conformity.” It’s difficult to see military service co-opted to promote religious values above American values. But maybe the Preamble recognizes religious ...
- New Study Shows Significant Atheist Military Population
August 13, 2012
A new population study of official Department of Defense records by the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers shows religious preference and chaplain endorsements for all components and branches of the military. Findings show atheists are represented in larger numbers than any non-Christian denomination. “No Religious Preference” is the largest individual selection. The Air Force also ...
- Review: Becoming More Fully Human
August 7, 2012
When I write of religious Humanism … I am not referring to belief in a deity … Humanism is religious because it binds people together and helps people to reconnect with ultimate reality as understood as nature or as life without illusion. (31)
Bill Murry is an instructor at Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist ...
- VA Chaplaincy Asked to Facilitate Humanist Services
July 30, 2012
Currently, religious, theistic oriented Chaplains are on staff and visit patients including secular humanist atheists like myself. While the Chaplains have been friendly, according to their Christian beliefs I will be burning in hell after my demise. While I respect their right to believe as they wish, I don’t find their perspective on death comforting.
- Review: The Letter by Marie Tillman
July 25, 2012
Review of The Letter, My Journey Through Love, Loss, and Life by Marie Tillman, published in 2012
All references are taken from the iPhone eBook version. This version has 557 pages in its vertical orientation. Converting from 557 pages to the number in your version should allow for cross-referencing.
“I ask that you live.”
In a letter labeled, “Just ...
- Time to End Federal Support of Boy Scout Discrimination
July 17, 2012
Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta posted about the Re-affirmation of Boy Scout discrimination. This issue is well-known. The Humanist covered federal funding of the Boy Scouts back in 1995. Scouting For All has spent many years advocating for reform and Margaret Downey is a humanist activist who has brought suit against the Boy Scouts. James Turley, ...
- Military Academies Provide Alternatives to Church
July 16, 2012
Cadets and Midshipmen at the nation’s military academies have been provided the opportunity for humanist and secular alternatives during their summer training. At the beginning of July, thousands of young men and women reported for training. Within their first week, trainees were given the opportunity to attend religious services as a break from weekly training. ...
- Humanists Honor Fallen Warriors For Independence Day
July 2, 2012
On July 1st, the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers honored fallen warriors at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. MAAF presented a red-white-and-blue wreath to represent the American values our warriors defend. Following placement of the wreath, several members continued on to visit the graves of atheists in foxholes who have ...
- Help Colorado Springs Military Communities Threatened by Fires
June 29, 2012
Army Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Murphy is one of many MAAF members in the Colorado Springs area. Massive fires have destroyed homes throughout the area and are even within a few miles of the Air Force Academy. Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, and Fort Carson are also in the affected area. The massive ...
- Pentagon Pride Celebration Should be Optional
June 23, 2012
“Evangelical soldiers, airmen, Marines, they’re going to have to make some courageous stands right now to say to their commanders, ‘Sir, I cannot participate in this type of ceremony because we believe this is a celebration of something that God’s Word is clear about defining as wrong,'” Ron Crews, CH (COL) Ret. and Exec. Dir. ...
- Humanists Question Military Marriage Counseling; Offer Alternatives
June 21, 2012
This article continues a previous article that covered the personal issues faced by MAAF members in pre-marital counseling at the US military’s Defense Language Institute in Monterey California. This article focuses on Gary Smalley’s Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships, the primary training video used for mandatory pre-marital counseling, and alternatives to the program that MAAF hopes ...
- Humanists Raise Concerns With Air Force Family Counseling
June 20, 2012
“The air force chaplain is making married air force couples watch Gary Smalley’s Hidden Keys to Loving Relationships as their “couples counseling” prior to moving off post. They just gather all the couples in a big group in the basement of the squadron building, where they lounge around on couches napping or playing games on ...
- Christian strategy group convenes for Memorial Day
May 29, 2012
Update: C-SPAN Video
Bringing with it a suitably euphemistic and presumptive title, the American Religious Freedom Program (ARFP) has brought together Christian leaders intent on enshrining special privileges for Christianity in US law and government. While inviting complicit Jewish leaders and avoiding too much mention of Christianity, the intent was clear. In the tradition of the Liberty ...
- Atheists at West Point band together despite religious culture
May 24, 2012
The West Point Secular Student Alliance (SSA), including more than 40 prospective members, are seeking official recognition from Academy officials. The Academy claims lack of funding for cadet clubs and is currently reviewing over 100 cadet clubs to find room for more. MAAF spoke at West Point’s November 2011 Diversity Leadership Conference to advocate for ...
- MAAF Network Update
May 17, 2012
Local Groups continue to meet around the world. A new group at Eglin-Hurlburt AFB is hoping to attract members in the Pensacola area. There are also several individuals who have stepped up as Lay Leaders and Local Points of Contact, including at FE Warren AFB, WY, Bagram, Afghanistan, Ft Bliss, TX, Minot AFB, ND, and Kirtland AFB, ...
- Rep. Akin’s office joins evangelical leaders to fight DADT repeal
May 7, 2012
A recent email from the office of Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) office lays out plans for the next battle in the implementation of the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A House Armed Services Committee session on May 8th will discuss amendments to the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act, which updates the military budget and ...
- Playing Favorites: What beliefs should chaplains support?
April 23, 2012
Today’s chaplaincy has been assigned care and counseling, free exercise, and establishment clause responsibilities far outside their faith-based roots. The military chaplaincy, and to some extent the civilian chaplaincy, is faced with a more diverse laity than ever in the past. Chaplaincy originally constituted assistance by the ...
- Book Review: Rethinking Depression provides existentialist path to happiness
April 15, 2012
The following is a review of an author and text of interest to MAAF readers. This is not an ad, but an objective review with no financial interest for MAAF.
Rethinking Depression is a resource by a foxhole atheist that would be helpful for foxhole atheists and for military leaders who desire to help foxhole atheists ...
- Army allows for sectarian prayer at mandatory events
April 11, 2012
Last month, MAAF received two reports of sectarian Christian prayer at mandatory military events. At Ft Campbell, a battalion chaplain was leading his unit in prayer during regular morning formations. At Ft Benning, at senior NCO reported mandatory graduation ceremonies often include prayer “in Jesus’s Name”. An Army spokesperson declared these practices entirely within Army ...
- Network Update: Continuing growth after the Rally and RBB
April 10, 2012
The last network update was Feb 26th, prior to the Reason Rally. The Naval and Coast Guard Academies were able to set up trips to visit. They had representatives on stage during the MAAF military tribute. Rock Beyond Belief (click for pics and videos) was also a groundbreaking show of support for atheists and humanists in ...
- Air Force to remove requirement for hotel Bibles
April 9, 2012
In early February, a cockpit atheist in Kadena Airbase in Japan contacted MAAF to ask why there was a Bible posted in Air Force lodging. Because the Air Force is a government agency, there should be neutrality toward religion rather than a special privilege for Christianity. After inquiries from the Military Association of Atheists & ...
- Reason Rally shows patriotism and military support
March 26, 2012
The Reason Rally recently hosted upwards of 20,000 atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The program included opening ceremonies hosted by the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. Colonel (Retired) Kirk Lamb oversaw a tribute including a color guard of atheists in foxoles, the national anthem performed by ...
- New Humanist Lay Leader joins others seeking chaplain support
March 19, 2012
Army Reserve Captain Ryan Jean has submitted a lay leader application at Ft Meade, Maryland. With support from The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers and endorsement from the Humanist Society. If approved, this lay leader application will allow Ryan to work with chaplains to help out atheists and humanists on his installation. This would ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 9 Mar 2012
March 10, 2012
MAAF has selected 47 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. This month will see the Reason Rally and Rock Beyond Belief. Recent news had a wide range of activities, including featuring of Naval Academy Midshipment, the MAAF care ...
- 98% Christian military chaplaincy reinforces barriers to diversity
March 8, 2012
The military chaplaincy has a diversity problem and it just got worse. The chaplaincy is currently 98% Christian, 90% Protestant, and 66% “evangelistic” Christian (the denominations that may engage in a more political expression of their religion). The same denominations in the general military population are 70%, 50%, and 19% respectively. This mismatch in the ...
- Network Update: Enlistment support and Rally/RBB preparations
February 26, 2012
Only 30 days left, approximately. The Reason Rally is March 24th, in DC. The entire movement is coming. Rock Beyond Belief is March 31st at Ft Bragg. This follow-up event will have strong support throughout the region and from the military. Book your tickets and lodging now.
Local groups continue to spring up, even with only ...
- Humanist literature now available for new enlistees
February 23, 2012
New enlistees are exposed to an imposing new culture as they enter the military. For decades, the Gideons have been treating them to a good Christian introduction. Good for the Gideons for taking care of their people. For the first time, enlistees will see that it’s ok if you’re not Christian. Humanist enlistees now have ...
- New veterans cross is perfectly legal
February 19, 2012
Don Vierstra didn’t like the objections MAAF has made to a large Christian cross posted at Camp Pendleton.
Vierstra and some friends installed the 17-foot-tall white wooden cross on land he owns on the west side of Interstate 15 in Murrieta, near the I-215 split … There are no writings or markings on the cross, though ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 15 Feb 2012
February 16, 2012
MAAF has listed below 50 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. January included tributes to Christopher Hitchens, reports of nontheist gatherings in Idaho and Kansas, and encouraging reports from Egypt where a freethought blogger was released.
MAAF was also ...
- Dawkins Foundation care packages go to atheists in foxholes
February 13, 2012
Over the past several months, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has partnered with the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) to send over 150 care packages to military personnel around the world. These packages have gone from Japan to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Richard Dawkins Foundation, through its existing store has provided increased ...
- Religious memorial bills join long line of Christian nation tactics
January 27, 2012
Congress is playing fast and loose with the sacrifices and courage of our nation’s heroes, and they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.
HR 290 encourages the use of religious symbols in war memorials
HR 2070 would place a prayer on the WWII Memorial
The term “stolen valor” generally refers to a false claim of military service. ...
- Network Update: Grass roots activism for the holidays
January 22, 2012
We’re coming out of the holidays and Christmas displays inspired local efforts to organize at several installations. Travis AFB now has a thriving community led by Dan Rawlings. Chaplains are holding a grudge; denying access to support but MAAF is continuing to provide assistance where chaplains will not. Dan also joins Ray Bradley at Ft Bragg, ...
- Army Chaplains Deny Soldier Right to Identify as Humanist
January 19, 2012
Army Major Ray Bradley is currently stationed at Ft Bragg, North Carolina. served in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005, and is a committed humanist. He is an officer on the board of a local humanist group, is active with the local MAAF affiliate, and is recognized as a Humanist Lay Leader by the Humanist Society. ...
- Military atheists invited to chaplain conferences
January 19, 2012
I had the pleasure last week of attending two chaplain conferences. The first was for the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies (AREB) and the second was for the Network on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS Network). AREB is a collection of some of the most active civilian chaplain religious endorsing bodies, while the COMISS Network ...
- Remove Military Requirement to Choose Religion
January 6, 2012
Sign the Petition to: Eliminate the standard question “what is your religion” in entrance processing.
Change the default entry for religious preference from “No Religious Preference” to blank.
Eliminate the “No Religious Preference” option.
Add an option for “Humanist”.
Add an option for “Spiritual But Not Religious”.
- Atheists in Foxholes News 28 Dec 2011
December 29, 2011
MAAF has selected 31 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. As always, December was filled with arguments about holiday displays and the “War on Christmas.” Justin Griffith, Military Director of American Atheists, helped to jump-start local activism by ...
- Military leaders struggle with diversity in holiday displays
December 21, 2011
As the “holiday” season continues, post officials are extending special recognition to religious service members, specifically Jews and Christians. A nativity scene and menorah combo have been erected at both Travis AFB in California and Ft Campbell, Kentucky. This privileging of religion has led to legal challenges and a groundswell of local atheists and humanists ...
- Study highlights need for secular community
December 19, 2011
A recent survey by the Pew Forum on reintegration identified a 24% bump for “religious” Post-9/11 veterans. This question specifically asked “how often a recent veteran attends religious services.” Those claiming to attend once per week were 24% more likely to declare an easy re-entry back to civilian life than those who never attend services. ...
- Network update: Still growing, but with little official recognition
December 15, 2011
Despite limited support from the military leaders, local groups continue to come together within the MAAF structure and with the diligent work of local leaders. There are new groups established since November at Ft Riley, RAF Lakenheath, and the San Diego Area. Still more are in development.
In particular, at Ft Leonard Wood in Missouri, a still-informal group adopted by ...
- FORSCOM Refers Extremely High Risk to Chaplains
December 13, 2011
The US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) has rolled out a new mandatory risk assessment that identifies chaplains as the primary referral for the most extreme risk cases. The assessment is a counseling form between a soldier and his or her leader with specific actions to take for high risk responses. This use of chaplains for mitigation ...
- Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative
December 12, 2011
To offer an insight into MAAF operations, the following article will put in perspective the collaborative efforts of MAAF. As listed on the site, MAAF is primarily about supporting and growing the community of atheists and humanists in the military. We spend less time pointing out problems in the military, which are numerous but often ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 9 Dec 2011
December 10, 2011
MAAF has selected 43 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. It was a big month as MAAF got a first interview directly with NPR’s All Things Considered with Rachel Martin. MAAF also earned a lot of backlash coverage ...
- Army Chapel Welcomes All and Privileges None
November 25, 2011
Tim Mak at Politico reports a large cross adorning an Army chapel has been removed. Army Regulation 165-1, which governs Army chaplain operations, states “the chapel environment will be religiously neutral when the facility is not being used for scheduled worship” and that “symbols are to be moved or covered when not in use during services” and ...
- Camp Pendleton Cross Privileges Christianity; Marginalizes non-Christians
November 22, 2011
I posted last week about religious memorials on veteran’s day. The Camp Pendleton cross (technically located in the Camp Horno area) was one of two focus items in an article that referred to a long list of Christian monuments defended using military/police service. MAAF spends the vast majority of its time fostering community and providing ...
- Tis the Season to Demand Your Rights
November 21, 2011
We’re coming into the <queue scary music> Christmas Season. All across the United States, government officials are sending out invitations to “holiday parties” when they really mean Christmas parties. Tis the season to stand up and be counted. MAAF stands ready to help resolve local violations, so stand up and be counted. Demand equal treatment. ...
- Unconstitutional Christian Monuments Mar Veterans Day
November 14, 2011
A large permanent Christian cross went up on public land* at Camp Pendleton. A US Congressman is pressuring the Forest Service to provide a special use shrine to Jesus to the Catholic Knights of Columbus. Both are being defended as military memorials. These are two of the newest examples of stolen valor. No cross or statue of Jesus ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 10 Nov 2011
November 10, 2011
MAAF has selected 26 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. MAAF was covered in Mother Jones, the Atlantic, the Alyona Show on RT, the Boston Globe, and the Baltimore Sun. The Baltimore Sun added an editorial in support ...
- Open Letter to Chaplains from Foxhole Atheists
October 29, 2011
This is a second open letter that follows up on a first letter and continuing outreach to military leaders and chaplain endorsers from atheists, humanists, and other nontheists. The intent is the same – to speed support and services to military personnel in need. The original letter (excerpts repeated here in italics) was posted in ...
- Academy-Atheist Collaboration Continues to Bear Fruit
October 19, 2011
Continuing what is now nearly a year of collaboration, the Air Force Academy has made significant changes to training as a result of reviews by the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. New training for senior cadets includes stricter language on government prayer, direct references to the nonreligious, and specific scenarios to clarify boundaries on ...
- West Point To Feature Atheist Leader at Diversity Conference
October 13, 2011
The United States Military Academy Diversity Leadership Council has sponsored a conference at West Point from Oct 19th to 21st. The theme is “Cultivating Leadership and Inclusion for Service to the Nation.” Principal sponsors are BoozAllenHamilton, Accenture, GE, ITT contractors, Walmart, USAA Bank, and Wiley publishing. West Point has invited major corporations and speakers to a ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 11 Oct 2011
October 12, 2011
MAAF has selected 63 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. The tenth anniversary of 9/11 happened during the past month and played a prominent role in the news. MAAF highlighted those stories in a separate 9/11 section, including ...
- Secular Organizations Find Bias in Combined Federal Campaign
October 12, 2011
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers conducts an ongoing review of Combined Federal Campaign charities to help its members select charities that align closely MAAF objectives such as respect for conscience and belief and support for atheists in foxholes. MAAF has conducted this review bi-annually since 2003. Since the first review, MAAF has found ...
- Meet the Challenge: Government Funds for Humanism
October 10, 2011
Ray Bradley, a Major in the Army Reserves at Ft Bragg, NC, is a strong supporter of atheists and humanists in the military. He has found an innovative (but still legal) way to transfer his government benefits to MAAF . Every time you feel government officials are promoting religious activities, consider what Ray has ...
- Chaplains and Atheists Meet at Harvard Divinity School
September 25, 2011
via Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy
National military humanist leader Jason Torpy, national chaplain leader Dave Plummer, and national humanist leader Greg Epstein meet at Harvard Divinity school on October 3rd to discuss humanist chaplains and chaplain support of humanists.
On Sunday, October 2, the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy will be hosting a very important community meeting at 12 Eliot Street ...
- Military Atheists Reform Chaplain Website
September 22, 2011
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers has posted a Chaplain Services Center at spiritfit.militaryatheists.org as a response to an ill-conceived and badly-executed “Virtual Spiritual Fitness Center” published by the Army’s Installation Management Command. This reformed mirror site is posted after months of waiting for IMCOM to respond to outreach efforts. MAAF hopes that this effort ...
- DADT Ends – Celebrate Open Service for All
September 20, 2011
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers applauds the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the ongoing implementation of that repeal. MAAF has always supported open service and called out the exclusively sectarian biases keeping gays out. Presidential, Congressional, and DoD efforts leading up to this day are cause for celebration. The military’s ...
- Arlington Cemetery Confirms Secular Policy
September 13, 2011
At the end of July, foxhole atheist and WWII Pilot John Hormuth was interred in a humanist ceremony along with his wife at Arlington National Cemetery. Unfortunately, an Arlington Lady provided verbal blessings and a written religious card officially on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army. This was done against the explicit ...
- Air Force Chief Institutes Stronger Controls on Command Religion
September 13, 2011
Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz has issued a new memorandum on “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion.” This new memorandum puts responsibility on the chaplains to maintain government neutrality. There are also positive statements that better validate nontheistic and secular life stances.
The tone of this message validates the importance of both free exercise ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 6 Sept 2011
September 6, 2011
MAAF has selected 29 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the military, society, and government, both in the US and internationally. Stars & Stripes posted a feature and a secondary article highlighting MAAF’s outreach to local organizations. In a major step forward, Ft Bragg atheist concert “Rock Beyond Belief” ...
- City of Simi Valley prays for troops; disregards atheist service members
September 5, 2011
Update 9/7: The local VC Star has printed a letter to the editor based on the text below under the heading “disrespectful poster.”
Stuart Bechman, atheist activist and prior President of Atheist Alliance International, has identified an action by the city government of Simi Valley, California to promote religion in the guise of supporting members of ...
- Military atheists seek rights – Stars and Stripes
August 25, 2011
Stars & Stripes has featured MAAF and its members in a front page article – Military atheists seeking the rights and benefits offered to religious groups . MAAF has provided follow-up and commentary here.
The article talks about the struggles and success of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) in seeking recognition and rights from military ...
- International humanist congress advocates for humanist chaplains
August 21, 2011
Delegates to the International Humanist & Ethical Union World Congress recently adopted a resolution in support of humanist chaplains for military service. The World Congress was held in mid-August in Oslo, Norway and featured local and state Humanist organizations from around the world, including the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. Their purpose was to ...
- Veterans and Active Duty Sought for Survey
August 17, 2011
The Center for Atheist Research is an unbiased and professional organization of researchers studying the needs and culture of atheists. Through discussions with MAAF and other foxhole atheists the center was informed of the lack of consideration of the military for the needs of atheists, humanists, and other nontheists. In particular, the “spirituality/spiritual fitness” programs ...
- WWII Humanist John Hormuth Honored at Arlington Cemetery
August 11, 2011
On July 25th, 2011, John Hormuth and his wife Mattie were interred at Arlington cemetery. John was a WWII pilot who earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart during over 100 sorties in the war. He was also a loving father and husband to his wife Mattie, who loved him, their 7 children, and her ...
- Local MAAF network continues to thrive
August 9, 2011
Local groups are continuing to thrive with local leaders and some support from the chaplaincy. The highlight is continuing support from the Military Academies. Last month, West Point, Air Force, and Naval Academies started the first chaplain programs nontheist summer trainees.
MAAF President Jason Torpy has been out to visit Air Force and Navy, and most ...
- Ft Bragg Approves Rock Beyond Belief
August 8, 2011
For nearly a year, Justin Griffith, recently appointed Military Director of American Atheists, has received approval from Army officials to hold an atheist festival at Ft Bragg. Rock Beyond Belief will be a free festival for military personnel and the local community on March 31st, 2012. National personalities and rock bands will be posted at ...
- Atheists In Foxholes News, 1 Aug 2011
August 1, 2011
MAAF has selected 25 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the media and military, and in the area of church-state separation. This month is dominated by the hot-potato treatment of Christian terrorist Anders Breivik. Christian pundits say he’s no TRUE Christian while everyone else, including PZ Myers, Ed Brayton, ...
- Justin Griffith, Military Director of American Atheists
July 29, 2011
American Atheists is pleased to announce the appointment of Army Sergeant Justin Griffith as American Atheists’ Military Director. Sergeant Griffith replaces First Sergeant (Retired) Kathleen Johnson, who stepped down in order to focus on her duties as American Atheists’ Vice President.
Justin Griffith, a sergeant in the US Army currently on deployment, has gained fame as ...
- Humanist Network News: The Bookless Humanist
July 14, 2011
How does a humanist, who doesn’t believe in a magic deity (or deities), navigate the rocky road of life without a guidebook?
Chaplains often ask the question above, or a version of it, when atheists and humanists come seeking support. In an article for Humanist Network News, Candace Drimmer has endeavored ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 13 July 2011
July 13, 2011
MAAF has selected 37 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the media and military, and in the area of church-state separation. This month includes a special international section. An Austrian gained approval to wear a Pastafarian collander as religious headgear in his driver’s license photo. The Bangladeshi Prime Minister ...
- Chaplain Reports on Proselytism at Army War College
July 8, 2011
Dr. Michael Milton is a Presbyterian minister and Army Reserve Chaplain who recently visited the Army War College “on behalf of the Reformed Theological Seminary.” In a March 2011 article titled, “The Prince of Peace at the U.S. Army War College.” He spoke about how, during his visit, he found Christ at the Installation, the ...
- Religious Groups Criticize Houston VA for Respecting Families’ Wishes
July 7, 2011
The Houston Chronicle reports that some Christian groups have filed suit against the constitutional policies of the VA cemetery administration. The nation remembers Richard Tillman, who jumped on stage to stand up for his brother Pat Tillman’s wishes. The Veterans Affairs Cemetery Administration protects the family when it restricts the religious speech of ...
- Military academy chaplain services extended to atheists
July 5, 2011
Reinforcing positive trends in respect for atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheists, the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and West Point (Army) have provided weekly meetings for summer trainees. Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, visited each of the Academies during the spring to request this service. Air Force agreed ...
- Air Force Academy Makes Strides in Religious Respect
July 4, 2011
In a recent visit to USAFA, MAAF President Jason Torpy reviewed current training, programs, and materials. This is a continuation of ongoing collaboration between MAAF and USAFA to better provide for atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and other nontheists at the Academy. It is part of a larger effort to make the military culture more accepting of ...
- Open Letter: Chaplain Support of Atheists
June 22, 2011
As endorsers and related agencies, you oversee and direct chaplains who interact with atheists and humanists daily. The primary purpose of this open letter is to invite chaplain endorsing agencies to agree in principle to the Minimum Statement of Support, a basic statement of equal access for nontheists:
“Nontheistic service members including atheists, agnostics, humanists, ...
- Humanists reach out to injured hero
June 20, 2011
Like many other atheists in foxholes, Oscar Zavala has served his country for years. Like few soldiers and fewer Americans, Oscar is an infantry squad leader serving during wartime with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Having served two tours in Afghanistan, he has shown his dedication to duty and personal conviction. On May 28th, Oscar ...
- Local military humanists continue to thrive
June 18, 2011
Atheists and humanists in the military continue to come together throughout the world. From Japan to Italy and throughout the US, leaders are stepping up. Communities are forming as well, in some cases with the help of local chaplains. The following is a series of reports on successes at the grass-roots level. On-post groups, collaborations ...
- National Chaplains Organization Reflects on Atheists
June 16, 2011
In the recent newsletter of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Services (NCMAF) focused on diversity within the chaplaincy, and the conflict of diversity and religious freedom. The primary focus was on the religious objections some have to homosexual people. The other focus was on the increasing diversity of the chaplaincy, from a primarily ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 10 Jun 2011
June 9, 2011
MAAF has selected 46 recent articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the media and military and church-state separation. That is a lot of coverage, but all interesting. Memorial Day tributes by LA Atheism Examiner Hugh Kramer including remembrance of Pat Tillman and an article and video of MAAF participation in ...
- Stiefel Freethought Foundation Matching Challenge
May 17, 2011
The Stiefel Freethought Foundation has expanded its support of freethinkers in the military by offering a $50,000 challenge to the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. Donations from current military and veterans to MAAF will be matched dollar-for-dollar for a limited time. Now is the time to give. Your support is needed and makes a significant ...
- Atheist Chaplain Follow-up
May 12, 2011
The NY Times covered MAAF efforts to endorse humanist chaplains. MAAF operates a chaplain outreach program with opportunities for candidates to opt into the program. Media including Alan Colmes, Mike Smerconish, and Michael Medved on Fox News, Lockwood Phillips, Canada TV, the BBC, and Sirius.
International media including US, Europe, and Egypt have taken notice. Religious media ...
- Local military atheists groups make headlines
May 11, 2011
Local groups are starting on post as a result of local leaders agreeing to stand up and stand out. There are 17 current organizations, 7 of which are working through the chaplains for greater assistance. There have been delays, but no direct opposition as yet. Local groups at military academies, major US and international installations, ...
- Atheists in Foxholes News 10 May 2011
May 10, 2011
MAAF has selected 32 articles of interest in the areas of atheism & humanism in the media and military and church-state separation. Humanist chaplains and local military atheist groups were most prominent in the news, and there are separate entries about those items.
The current Executive Officer of Naval Station Great Lakes denied the service of ...
- Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military
April 27, 2011
The front page of the NY Times today covered the efforts of MAAF to better support atheists and humanists and to endorse humanist chaplains in the military. The Chaplain Outreach program at MAAF also seeks to ensure that the 3000 chaplains already serving in our military underst and both why and how they should support ...
- MAAF News 30 Mar 2011
March 30, 2011
Trending stories about Atheists, Atheists in the Military, MAAF, and occasional other news items of interest.
Atheists in foxholes in the media
Justin Griffith makes news with local MASH Ft Bragg chapter
Army NG Chaplain Steven Veinotte in Kuwait disparages atheists in foxholes
Hospital chaplain converts sick atheists
Christopher Hitchens shows there are atheists in foxholes
Gainseville writer denies our service
- Air Force reviews academy religious climate
March 29, 2011
Retired General Patrick Gamble, working through the Council of Logistics Research on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force, is conducting a review of the religious climate at the US Air Force Academy. Recently, the Academy completed and published a religious climate survey that showed lingering issues with the climate. Wing Chaplain Lt. Col. ...
- Military atheist visits chaplains
March 25, 2011
(by MAAF President Jason Torpy)
From March 16th to 22nd, I traveled to Virginia and North and South Carolina to put out the MAAF message and improve the support of atheists, humanists, and other nontheists in the military. The intention was to visit local civilian organizations, meet MAAF members, and speak with chaplains. Six local humanist ...
- MAAF Atlantic Coast Trip, March 2011
March 10, 2011
NoVA : Norfolk : Raleigh : Bragg : Jackson
Mar 13-22, 2011
MAAF President Jason Torpy is visiting several locations in the Atlantic coast from March 13th through March 22nd. With invitations from representatives and Ft Jackson, Ft Bragg, and Naval Station Norfolk, Mr Torpy is helping military leaders and chaplains understand why and how to help ...
- Ft Bragg blocks Rock Beyond Belief event
March 7, 2011
Soldiers and civilians can got to the Rock Beyond Belief page for ways to contact Congressional leaders, Army leaders, and Ft Bragg leaders to call for fair treatment of all soldiers, even atheists.
Following ongoing issues with Rock the Fort / Rock Beyond Belief and related spirituality training programs by the military.
In September 2010, Ft Bragg ...
- Update on USAFA Training
February 28, 2011
In November 2010, the US Air Force Academy invited the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers along with other representatives of religious organizations and interfaith advocacy groups to their 2010 Religious Respect Conference. The focus of this conference was dialogue about the religious climate at the Academy and the development of religious respect training for ...
- M*A*S*H Ft Leonard Wood
February 24, 2011
MAAF welcomes a new M*A*S*H Chapter to the MAAF Network at Fort Leonard Wood, with the first meeting scheduled for March 26th, 2011 (updated). Sign up for the next event on Meetup and Facebook is set up.
Lisa Wilson, a wife of an Army communications technician and mother of 3, has stepped up to create ...
- MAAF News 16 Feb 2011
February 17, 2011
Trending stories about Atheists, Atheists in the Military, MAAF, and occasional other news items of interest.
Podcast Frostcall interviews MAAF, MASH Ft Bragg, and MASH Ft Campbell leaders
Reddit atheism trends, atheists joining the military and MAAF in Tampa
Backward, Christian Soldiers, The Nation about proselytism in the military
Humanist Hip Hop, San Diego CityBEAT
New atheist film “Paul, Breitbart
- MAAF attends chaplains history event
February 17, 2011
On 16 February, the Veteran’s History project and Interfaith Alliance hosted a discussion among five military chaplains. The panel was diverse, including three Christian denominations, Judaism, and Islam. Dr Gaddy of Interfaith Alliance asked questions about the chaplains’ motivation for their service, the implications of gays in the military, proselytism in uniform, support ...
- Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers
February 10, 2011
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers an independent 501(c)3 project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. MAAF is a community support network that connects military members from around the world with each other and with local organizations. In addition to our community services, we take action to educate and train both the military and civilian ...