Posts Tagged ‘Jeremey Hall’

When Atheists Come Out of the Closet – the Right Not to Believe

April 27, 2008

A few months ago, Wired magazine wrote about “The Church of the Non-Believers.” In their article they wrote about Atheists like Richard Dawkins who actively were stating that religion is evil. I personally find that to be far too intolerant.

While being a Non-Theist ( think of that as a non-practicing Atheist, mainly for the holidays), I think that tolerance of different religious opinions is important when it comes to having a reasonable civilization.

Sadly, many religious establishments and members of religions, while espousing the same notion, have little tolerance for those who say they are Atheists. In fact, can you think of one American politician who has , or could, claim to be an atheist and still win office? Instead, we get obvious phonies who claim to have religious affiliations (attending churches during campaign season and praying when we have hurricanes) but who obviously do not live honest lives.

This is probably what drives many atheists to adopt that belief.

Recently, there was a story about a soldier, Jeremy Hall, in Iraq who admitted to be being an atheist. Apparently, if he had admitted to being a child molester , he would have gotten better treatment at the hadns of his fellows in the military.

He eventually came out of the religious closet in Iraq in 2007, when he was in a firefight.The soldier was a gunner on a Humvee, which took several bullets in its protective shield. Later, his commander asked whether he believed in God, Hall said.”No, but I believe in Plexiglas.” He further said, “I’ve never believed I was going to a happy place. You get one life. When I die, I’m worm food.”

Apparently this was worse that being asked and telling. He was even threatened with having charges brought against him for organizing a meeting of Atheists (how horrible!). An allegation which Hall denies.

The soldier has gotten to the point where he felt he needs to sue the Military and even names Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a defendant.

if we are to have a truly civil society, we need to get to a place where someone’s religious opinions or doctrines are not the basis on which we judge them.

Recently, we saw the issue raised with a first time Mormon running for president. We have seen the issue raised with Senator Grassley who is investigating churches that espouse an doctrine and version of Christianity different from his doctrine. We hear of talk of culture war against Islam and of Islamic extremsiss who want everyone to live under Sharia law.

America deserves better.

We need to be able to judge our neighbors and officials on the content of their character not their affiliation to one group or another; a lofty idea once proposed by a baptist minister who was eventually put to death for such radical concepts.