Profile: Major Anthony Posada
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 of their daughter’s childhood leukemia.
In suburban New Jersey as an Italian / Colombian kid, my Catholicism was a given I did not question. After four years at the Air Force Academy and two more on active duty without attending Mass, I finally began to address my mounting doubts about religion. I thought about what I didn’t believe and why not. When my 19 month old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and strangers began to placate me with messages of “God will heal,” I felt it was time to find others like me.
I have proudly served the United States Air Force since 2001 as an astronautical engineer at various bases throughout Air Force Space Command and am now at Patrick Air Force Base. My wife Christine is a speech-language pathologist, currently staying at home to raise our two wonderful children, Jocelyn and Keira. We are an atheist family who try to instill in our children the humanist tenets of humanity and reason.
Matching haircuts for a speedy recovery
Our path to atheism wasn’t provoked by any life changing events. It was a gradual realization that our childhood Catholicism left more questions than answers. Having studied the sciences, we could not put the accumulated knowledge of all human history aside to have faith in the implausible. When our younger daughter Keira was diagnosed with leukemia, we placed our trust in our spectacular doctors, modern medicine and Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando. Keira was quickly in remission and is expected to make a full recovery thanks to chemotherapy and her body’s ability to fight this particular cancer. In response to our good news, we often heard statements like “Thank God” and “Jesus heals.” When this came from someone who was aware of our views, we felt our beliefs being disrespected. Christine and I decided we needed to spend time with people who understood how meaningless these words were to us. Looking around our base, there was no support group for atheists like us, no one to speak openly with about how frustrating all of the religious talk was to us.
This is when I found the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and got help starting a new group. Patrick Atheists and Freethinkers now has about 15 members who meet monthly, and we continue to grow. We discuss humanist morality, our place in the military and much more. Our group is successfully lobbying the base chaplain to officially accommodate humanist service members. Through member efforts, the base exchange agreed to stock a few copies of atheist books, which quickly sold out.
When a new member introduces him or herself to the group, a common refrain is “I didn’t know there were others out there like me!” This statement is both incredibly gratifying and deeply saddening. There is a generation of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines that are questioning traditional faith and think they are alone. We are in fact a growing population. We may call ourselves humanists, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics or just none-of-the-above, but we all share the basic tenets of humanity and reason.
Good Without a God
Maj Anthony Posada