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Atheist numbers soar at Air Force base in Texas

Atheist numbers soar at Air Force base in Texas

Back in 2013, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas gave non-religious recruits permission to organise secular gatherings in lieu of attending church services.

Given that the previous alternative to going to church was to stay back and clean the dorms, this was a welcome third option.

There were only five attendees when the alternative programme was launched, but now the group, according to Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta, hit a new record at the weekend with an astonishing 270 trainees and airmen attending a meeting. Said Mehta:

Far from being a group for just a handful of people, the program is accommodating the growing number of Nones within the Air Force, who want a place to discuss ethics and morality without having to waste their time paying homage to a supernatural deity.

The 270 attendees include trainees, graduates, and their families.

• The picture used to illustrate this report appeared on the Facebook page of the San Antonio Military Atheists and Secular Humanists.

13 responses to “Atheist numbers soar at Air Force base in Texas”

  1. CoastalMaineBird says:

    For those who might not know, Lackland AFB is where ALL U.S. Air Force recruits enter the service.

  2. SallyinMI says:

    And this, people, is what our Freedom of Religion is all about-the freedom to believe what your heart tells you, not what some millionaire preacher and his
    ‘anointed’ son do. Good for the US Military!

  3. Broga says:

    This is encouraging and so welcome from a base in Texas. I attended a Register Office wedding in Brighton at the week-end. It was held in a splendid room which accommodated a large audience.

    The comments of the Register were admirable and included entirely appropriate descriptions about what the participants were entering into. The comments gained in not including any incredible reference to God but with the commitments two people were accepting. I was interested to discover that the Register checked in advance that there would be no religious element introduced by the bride and groom.

  4. Rob Andrews says:

    Military religion is especially bad, because they tell young people things like, these disgusting sentiments:
    “we’re in the right. god is on our side”.
    “You’ll go to heaven if you die, don’t be afraid”

    This is in total service of the state. If you risk your life you should know what its for and NOT for..

  5. Vanity Unfair says:

    By the time any armed force really gets down to work ethics and morality and any consideration thereof must have failed completely so perhaps their political masters are the people who would most benefit from such meetings. Unfortunately, I cannot think of any country where this is likely to happen.

  6. Cali Ron says:

    Broga: The military is federal government so the state of Texas has no say in it. If they did religious services would be mandatory and the ten commandments would be etched on every gun, tank and plane. 270 may sound like a lot, but there’s probably thousands of personnel on base.

    On a more positive note religion free weddings are becoming quite common in California. Also funerals. A gay friend of mine recently passed away and the ceremony was a beautiful rainbow celebration of his life with not a word about god. Miss you Steve.

  7. 1859 says:

    This is good news – and probably for every one of the 270 who attend meetings there are perhaps 10 who don’t, simply because , besides being non-religious, they just don’t want to talk about morality or ethics – so these statistics could indicate a sizeable number.

    But what about the odious prayers American football players indulge in before the start of a game? Has no one objected to them?

  8. Michael Glass says:

    According to Wikipedia, “Joint Base San Antonio supports a population of 80,000 and supports students at three installations annually of up to 138,000.” That’s about 3 in every thousand of the 80,000 or 2 in a thousand of the 138,000. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Base_San_Antonio

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    It is good news, but there’s still a ton of work to be done. Anyone not familiar with Mickey Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation should have a look: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/

  10. Brian Jordan says:

    @Broga
    ” I was interested to discover that the Register checked in advance that there would be no religious element introduced by the bride and groom.”
    IIRC, there are moves afoot to get this requirement ditched.

  11. Broga says:

    @Brian Jordan : The groom told me that the checking was thorough: no prayers, no hymns, no blessings. I was impressed by the Registrar’s comments which left no one in any doubt about both the seriousness of what they were doing but also about the commitment to each other that they were accepting.

    Another aspect which added to the occasion was the webcam. This sent live pictures to relatives in other countries e.g. California where the ceremony was viewed at 2.30am. This cost £80 but, in my opinion in view of the quality of the webcast, was worth it. Unlike my Spartan ceremony in 1967 there was a definite sense of occasion. So folks, if you decide to get hitched I recommend this.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    Laura Roberts: thanks for the link. Checked out the MRFF web site and it’s good to see someone like Mickey Weinstein fighting the good fight for truth. He must be brave because his work has painted a huge target on him for the religious wackos which is evidenced by the hate e-mails he receives.

  13. edwords says:

    Meanwhile, an angry Texas Gov. Abbott removed a small Bill of Rights

    in the manger Christmas display from his rotunda that gave it

    lots of free publicity.