ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLESNovember 11, 2005
The North Alabama Freethought Association (NAFA) is putting together care packages for atheist soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This
project is called OPERATION FOXHOLE ATHEISTS (OFA).
OFA started after hearing about several atheist soldiers in Iraq that attempted to start a group at their Forward Operating Base (FOB). They were harassed by a major that threatened to go after them with the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). The soldiers did not violate the UCMJ at all. In fact, the major, by misusing his rank to harass the soldiers and try to trump their attempt to exercise their right in the military to the freedom of religion, violated the UCMJ directly. UPDATE: The major involved in the harassment case has been identified as Major Freddy Welborn. PFC Hall, who attempted to start the group, has filed a lawsuit against Maj. Welborn and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. NAFA members were deeply disturbed by the actions of the major. NAFA members wanted to support these soldiers by sending them care packages and letters of support. That small initial event has now turned into a national effort to help support any foxhole atheist. OFA will send these foxhole atheists care packages with their needs and wants, as well as supporting letters from around the nation. OFA will not spam soldiers. All foxhole atheists are asked if they want care packages, if they do or do not want atheist-related material in their package, and if they have any special requests for their care packages. Please help OFA support foxhole atheists. No matter what your views may be concerning the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is clear that politicians are the problem: not the soldiers. Let these foxhole atheists know you care about them. Sending foxhole atheists packages of hard-to-find items, specific requests, and letters or cards of support will help make their time in the war zone feel a little more like home. These soldiers go day-to-day without praying to any of the man-made gods. They get their comfort from reality, and from people like you that care. Due to sensitivity for the privacy of the foxhole atheists OFA is supporting, to reduce the risk of physical harm, and to maintain Operational Security (OpSec), the names, addresses, and specific FOB of the foxhole atheists will not be disclosed to the public.
OFA NEEDS YOUR HELP!
TO ADD A FOXHOLE ATHEIST TO THE OFA LIST:
Send an email with the rank, name, and address to: Yvonne Scott, NAFA Coordinator, Operation Foxhole Atheists.
TO DONATE GOODS TO OFA:
To find out what goods are needed, please contact Yvonne Scott, NAFA Coordinator of OFA.
* Donate goods at any upcoming NAFA event.
* Send goods via postal mail. DO NOT use UPS or FedEx, use the US Postal Service only.
Operation Foxhole Atheists
PO BOX 41
Ryland, AL 35767-2000
TO DONATE MONEY TO OFA:
* Donate cash at any upcoming NAFA event.
* Because we do not have an EIN from the IRS, we cannot accept checks or money orders written to OFA. If you are comfortable writing a money order or cashier's check (no personal checks please) out to an individual that will transfer the money to OFA, please contact Yvonne Scott, NAFA Coordinator, Operation Foxhole Atheists.
TO SEND LETTERS AND CARDS:
Operation Foxhole Atheists
PO BOX 41
Ryland, AL 35767-2000
AIF Is Over!
We have three sets of photos from the event: Photos by Timothy Dicks, photos by Richard Cotter and Edwin Kagin´s Camp Quest Singers.
NBC, COURIC AND TODAY SHOW NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU NOW OVER NO ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES’ CLAIM, LACK OF BALANCE IN GOD, AMERICA AND WAR’ SEGMENT
In a piece aired on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, NBC Today Show’ host Katie Couric introduced a segment on religious faith in time of military conflict. The piece was narrated by reporter Lester Holt. Ms. Couric stated: Perhaps you have heard the expression ‘There are no Atheists in foxholes,´ and the men who have occupied the oval office have also turned to a higher power ’
The program included mention of Jon Meacham´s book American Gospel’ which discusses the religious faith of national leaders, and featured brief clips of President Bush invoking God. There was, however, no Atheist on the program to challenge the unsubstantiated and inaccurate claim (There are no Atheists in foxholes’). Nor was mention made of the secular roots of our history, and the fact that our Constitution provides for the First Amendment separation of church and state.
The no Atheists in foxholes’ cliche marginalizes and insults millions of Americans who profess no religion’ (American Religious Identification Survey), including those who are serving or have served with honor, patriotism and distinction in our nation´s armed forces. Hundreds of these men and women rallied in Washington, DC last Veterans Day for the first Atheists in Foxholes’ Parade and recognition rally.
Imagine if a leading television network had repeated a similar slur against, say, blacks or gays or some other group! But Atheists continue to be fair game’ as long as we do not speak out to correct this unfortunate stereotype.
CONTACT NBC and the Today Show’ now asking for a clarification and apology over the no Atheists in foxholes’ cliche! We urge you to send letters and e-mails, and phone call to NBC. Be polite and concise. Point out that many Americans who are Atheists, Freethinkers and humanists have answered the call and served our nation in times of war and peace!
Address your concerns to:
attn: The Today Show
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
You may also send E-mails to: email@example.com
Ask for a reply to your concerns! Politely ask that the network clarify the inaccurate claim that There are no Atheists in foxholes,’ and point out that this statement is not supported by credible evidence. Many Atheists, freethinker, humanists and other nonbelievers have been Atheists in foxholes’ serving our nation!
Share your letters and replies on on the American Atheists web site.
Spread this Action Alert. Post to discussion boards, e-mail groups and web sites!
American Atheists Press Release:
April 6, 2006
Katie Couric Repeats No Atheists In Foxholes’ Canard: Watchdog Group Calls for NBC Apology
An Atheist civil rights group is calling for an apology from the NBC television network over remarks made by Today Show’ host Katie Couric in a segment aired on Wednesday, April 5, 2006 that included the statement: There are no Atheists in foxholes.’
The remarks came in an introduction to Lester Holt´s piece on God, America & War,’ which profiled the role of religious faith in times of military conflict. Couric said: Perhaps you have heard the expression, ‘There are no Atheists in foxholes,´ and the men who have occupied the oval office have also turned to a higher power.’ The program included mention of a book (American Gospel : God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation by Jon Meacham) detailing the role of religion in American history. There was NO mention, however, of the secular tradition in the United States, nor was there any critical examination of the claim that There are no Atheists in Foxholes.’
On Veterans´ Day, 2005, Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other nonbelievers from across the country were in Washington, DC for the first Atheists in Foxholes’ rally (see: http://www.atheistfoxholes.org).
We are asking for Katie Couric and NBC to issue a statement recognizing that there ARE and have been ‘Atheists in Foxholes´ serving this nation and upholding our secular Constitution,’ said Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists. It would be unfair and discriminatory to claim, for instance, ‘There are no blacks´ or ‘There are no gays´ in foxholes. We want to educate the public and our media, about this serious misconception.’
Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that NBC needs to recognize that there are over 30 million people in the United States who profess no religion’ (American Religion Identification Survey).
It´s wrong to single out a whole segment of Americans by using an inaccurate and disparaging cliché,’ said Silverman. Many citizens have served our country with honor, and this includes Atheists,’ said Mr. Silverman.
The AtheistsInFoxholes Website is at http://www.atheistfoxholes.org
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