Foxhole Atheist Heroism

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.

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Good can be done without a god, and people like Tori reinforce that idea every day.  She and her partner spotted the fire, radioed for the fire department, and were able to evacuate the four adults and four children safely from the burning home. Tori was kind enough to write this short piece for the MAAF site:

Photo by Cpl Reece Lodderion, additional photos here:

Photo by Cpl Reece Lodderion, additional photos here:

My name is Tori Aletheia, and my husband Zach and I are both members of MAAF, and active participants of our local civilian group, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers (IAF).  The original reason I joined the National Guard, and became a police officer as my civilian career in Des Moines, was to be a part of something that would make a difference in the here and now, instead of relying on a higher power that I didn’t believe in.  As a member of the National Guard, I am able to make a difference in my local community in terms of disaster response and am also mission-ready to be sent where I am needed.  As a police officer, I am able to make an impact on the citizens of my city on a daily basis. Whether it be getting the bad guys off the streets, or by helping to save a family from a burning home, I am making a difference.

It is also important to make a difference for ourselves and others like us, which is why we joined MAAF.  We heard the stories about service members’ Constitutional rights being violated, and I experienced my own issues.  I wanted to help put an end to that discrimination by helping to create communities of freethinkers for military personnel.  I was a member of the (local MAAF Affiliate) MASH at the Defense Language Institute when I was a student there from 2010-2012. I am a 35P – a cryptologic linguist.

The IAF has been very successful in creating a community where non-theists can come and get support and participate in thoughtful discussion.  Locally, the group participates in volunteer events such as the Planned Parenthood book sale and we have adopted a section of highway to maintain and keep clean.  We hold a school supply drive before the beginning of each school year and collect toys for Toys for Tots each winter.  We also participate in protests, such as when the Family Leadership Summit came to Ames, Iowa and brought many big name conservative-religious politicians.  Currently we are looking forward to Richard Dawkins coming to Des Moines to speak on April 12th where our group along with many other Iowa secular groups will be attending en masse.

We, as a group, are still seeing discrimination, best evidenced by the bus ad campaign controversy that occurred in August 2009.  The group placed ads that read “Don’t believe in god, you’re not alone” on Des Moines buses, only to have them removed 4 days later due to numerous complaints from the public.  One bus driver even refused to drive a bus with the ad on it, stating that the sign went against her faith.  Unfortunately, if those signs were posted today, I imagine the same reaction would occur.

I hope our group will continue to grow and expand and attract more secular individuals.  I also hope that people of all worldviews see the charitable and volunteer activities we participate in and realize that nonbelievers are not bad people.

Know about a foxhole atheist hero? Contact MAAF.

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