Is A Marine Base Discriminating Against Atheists?

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Also see the article posted in the Blog section

There’s an old (and inaccurate) military saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. If the brass at Camp Pendleton in California gets its way, however, there may not be any atheists welcome at the base, period.


As reported by Sgt. Justin Griffith, military director for American Atheists, the U.S. Marine base outside San Diego recently denied a request to host the second-ever atheist festival on a military base even though religious groups have been given base access.

Griffith said in a blog post that Camp Pendleton rejected the festival on several grounds, citing: “too expensive,” “too little manpower,” “all-day rally” and “8,000 attendees.”

American Atheists fired back, noting that the group would cover the same portion of the costs as previous groups had, that the event would be a concert with speakers rather than an “all-day rally” and that Camp Pendleton has accommodated events in the past with more than 10,000 attendees.

Curiously, those in charge of the base haven’t shown the same concerns about events put on at Camp Pendleton by Armor of Light, the military wing of the evangelical Christian Calvary Chapel. The California based group, which has been embroiled in child sex abuse scandals, has held events at the base for more than a decade, including a concert for 15,000 people in 2009.

Written By: Simon Brown
continue to source article at au.org

8 COMMENTS

  1. The Marine core isn’t exactly the place that you expect to find the spirit of free thinking, indeed it might be damaging to the production of new killing machines. If you succeed here there just may be hope for America at large, where anti-intellectualism is their national product exported as poor international choices.

  2. In reply to #4 by jambone:

    The Marine core isn’t exactly the place that you expect to find the spirit of free thinking, indeed it might be damaging to the production of new killing machines. If you succeed here there just may be hope for America at large, where anti-intellectualism is their national product exported as poor international choices.

    Disagree with your basic premise. As someone who grew up on Marine bases and as a former Marine Corps Officer who was stationed at Pendlleton myself I am not surprised this happened. We have our share of nutbags. However, I think that you will find that we have a much higher percentage of freethinkers in the Corps than the other services. The Marine Corps prides itself on being different. That attracts a lot of nonconformists as well as holy rollers.

  3. If, instead of fighting for dissemination of democratic values, Americans were fighting for the preservation of Christianity, then there would probably not be any atheists in the foxholes.

    As a result, the military would also have to start recruiting candidates based on their religious affiliation, which is not only unconstitutional but also self-handicapping, insofar as the pool from which the military could select the most qualified candidates would be several factors smaller.

    While the military may propitiate their masses by refusing such an event, which can seem unfair, especially when you belong to the minority group, they aren’t daft.

  4. I guess it’s a lot easier to persuade people to die for you when you tell them that they were all created by God, and that God commanded people to wage this “holy” war than to try and convince them that people have nothing to do with each other, that there is no god and no obligation to do anything for anyone. That people are born free and can do whatever they want, even leave this planet if they can and want to, and never deal with earthlings ever again.

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