[FoRK] South Carolina Atheists, Christian Military, and "Dumbutt Texas"

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Apr 28 07:44:01 PDT 2009

Older: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/220960

South Carolina Atheist Movement Growing Strong
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Monday, April 27. 2009
South Carolina Atheist Movement Growing Strong

Of all places, South Carolina is experiencing a public relations boon 
for atheists. Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry recently put up a 
large billboard exclaiming "Don’t Believe in God? You Are Not Alone". 
The sign was in response to the South Carolina Legislature passing a law 
allowing State sponsored Christian license plates.

Instead of the expected angst, the group had to find a larger venue for 
its meetings as hundreds crowded outside the doors of the small meeting 
room. South Carolina Atheists Growing NYT

Over the past 20 years the number of people claiming no religion has 
doubled, from 7% in 1990 to 15% in 2008. It is the tip of an iceberg of 
millions of Americans who are afraid - for many reasons - to admit they 
are unable to swallow the Kool Aid.

If one were to include those millions along with the tens of millions 
looking for an organized religion void of ignorance and intolerance it 
could very well become the majority coalition in America. A new 
religion, for after all, Unitarian Universalist churches are filled with 
boring people who read books and talk about stuff and just don't have 
the room. The Kick! Religion Page

But I have a warning which I hope I can explain by turning on the 
wayback machine.

It was the day I reported for duty after being drafted, before the train 
ride to Missouri for Basic Training. I was in a large room with others 
filling out the last series of forms. One of these was for Dog Tags, the 
last line of which asked for my religion. My answer would then be 
stamped into the steel I would wearing around my neck for the next few 
years. I put "n/a."

A few minutes after I had turned it in, an aging bald man with lots of 
yellow stripes on his arm (I later learned that the yellow stripes did 
not mean cowardly as one would think, but that he was a First Sergeant) 
pulled up a chair next to me and asked what religion my parents were.

I answered "Catholic."

He advised we put "Roman Catholic" in that field.

"No", we replied. He shook his head and made his pitch.

"Listen kid, you are going to Missouri, you are a Yankee who will soon 
be housed with so many Southern Crackers there won't be enough cheese in 
the world to make it palatable. If they get wind of your cute little 
"n/a" there, you will soon learn what a "blanket party" is. [This was 
well before the movie Full Metal Jacket so I needed that explained.]

I still balked on the free expression issue.

The 1st Sergeant went on. "Where do you think you will end up kid? You 
want to ensure that Vietnam is your final destination? Then let it be 
known in combat that you are an atheist. You know the old saying? 'There 
are no atheists in a fox hole?' Well that's only true because well 
meaning Christians shoot all the atheists in foxholes."

I was still having trouble believing him.

He went on, "I can assure you that one Southern Christian Boy or another 
will frag your butt if word gets out that the Yankee from Wisconsin is 
an Atheist. Especially if you are in a leadership position. His 
explanation that "frag" meant shoot your own guys in the back during 
combat and no one would ever know, registered as logical to me.

I acquiesced and added "Roman Catholic" to the form.

I had been somewhat of a wiseass is high school with a barely "C" 
average and working in a factory when I was drafted. I was not a week 
into Basic Training when I was pegged for Officer Training School, 
assigned as platoon leader, and was called Einstein by my drill sergeant.

That experience was repeated 30 years ago when I moved to Texas. 
Overnight my IQ rose 50 points. Relatively speaking.

I am still not quite sure if that boost to the ego compensated for the 
thirty years I have been banging my head on the table in disbelief of 
just about everything that happens down here in Dumbutt.

This month my lumps are regards the 31 to nothing Senate vote FOR guns 
in schools! Texas and the NRA to Arm College Students to Make Keg 
Parties more Fun

Posted by Rack Jite in Religious Truthiness

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