There Are No Atheists In Foxholes

The atheistIt is commonly held belief among the more fundamentalist christians in the United States that atheists lack morals, are self centered and don’t care about others. The list comes in many variants and is hard to argue against, not because it is true, but because many believe it to be despite evidence to the contrary.

Or the claim that we atheist do believe in a god, and the assumption it is the particular god they are arguing for, we just deny it and burry the belief as deep as possible. Most often this is followed with some reasoning that we do this because we want to sin in some shape or form. To indulge as much as possible with no regard for the consequences.

I don’t care much for this kind of argumentation, and mostly it doesn’t bother me that much, as the theists who use this do it to dismiss us. To not look at our reasoning as to why we do not believe, as this presents the risk of shaking their belief.

But it does cause worry me if the more fundamentalist theists, who do act and behave accordingly to this reasoning, gain a position of power. They will discriminate against non-believers or subscribers or other religions, and don’t mind to favour their own religion with the power their position grants them.

By now you might have an idea about the type of politicians that have me worried. And you might already be thinking of the usual suspects like Perry and Bachman, especially with the media attention they have been getting. But their religious position is the least of my worries, it is their blatant disregard of simple facts and science. I fear for the day that politicians like them gain enough power to actually significantly impact policies, or even become president.

As I’m a foreigner, and from a small non-english speaking country at that, you might wonder why I care so deeply about this. I care because the U.S. has a considerable amount of power, economically and military, with which it can influence the world. You can imagine the amount of damage this could cause if applied for ideological causes. And not for the betterment of all, or at least for actions based on facts.

Especially as it isn’t that long ago that the United States was a political leader, working with other countries to create a better world. They weren’t perfect, but the politicians were listening and talking to at least attempt to find common ground. Now it is more an us versus them mentality, which doesn’t help. Or the leadership the U.S. had in the sciences, which it is now slowly loosing to other countries.

So please let your voice be heard, challenge these politicians and point out why they are wrong with what they do. Just like Sgt Braxton McCoy has done with his letter:

Dear Presidential Hopeful,

I am writing you this letter to express a most pressing concern.

Over five years ago while on deployment to Iraq I was struck by a suicide bomber. The shrapnel devastated my body; breaking my left humorous, both femurs in several places and most of the bones in my right hand. The blast caused so much soft tissue damage that some called my mere survival a “miracle”.

After being medevaced to Ballad and later flown to Germany. They elected to send me to the states for further surgery and ultimately to begin my recovery.

My several months at Walter Reed were followed by years of physical therapy and slowly but surely placing right in front of left on the road to mental recovery. Although each step of the journey has been painful at best and utterly debilitating at worst, one thought remained a beacon of comfort and motivation: At least I am an American.

I have always thought that being an American was as much a duty as it was a privilege. Now, having done my duty it seems as if I am afforded less and less privilege every year. Our former President even went as far as to say i shouldn’t be called an American citizen. On what grounds you may ask? Because I am an unbeliever, the preverbal atheist in a foxhole. Apparently not believing in that which there is no evidence to support immediately revokes your citizenship in the eyes of former President Bush.

It may seem that this issue is trivial. Or, just too taboo to touch. But, as a strident unbeliever and an avid patriot I can assure you that it is important to the millions of Atheists and Agnostics in America.

So my question to you is simple: If you were so eager to assure me that the voices of my brothers and sisters and i would be represented by our government 5 years ago, then why not now? Are my brother and sister unbelievers less American because they’ve never shed blood or had poets tell their story? And what of those who have, and still lack faith? Will they be only partially recognized? Will you quietly qualify what it is to be an American or, will our voices also be heard?

SGT. Braxton McCoy (Ret.)


Collin Maessen is the founder and editor of Real Skeptic and a proponent of scientific skepticism. For his content he uses the most up to date and best research as possible. Where necessary consulting or collaborating with scientists.