Independent Democracy

Thought provoking commentary

Air Force Airman Wants Freedom from Religion

21 May 2012

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley spoke with Airmen today at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK. During the question and answer period, an Airman asked a question to the Secretary regarding rights for Airmen who are atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinking.

Here is the question that was asked:

I support & follow ALL Air Force regulations protecting an Airman’s religious freedom. However, I believe our Air Force does an inadequate job of protecting Airmen who are NOT religious.

For example, Airmen are routinely required to attend various military functions where public non-sectarian prayer is part of the program.

What will you do to ensure our Air Force respects Airmen like me who are atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinkers and don’t want to hear, or participate in public prayer? Current rules seem to imply, if I don’t like it, then don’t listen, and I find that offensive.

The Secretary provided his response and instead of pledging support for atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinking Airmen, he referenced the U.S. Constitution and freedom of religion; then proceeded to pledge his support of chaplains and their role in supporting Airmen of faith.

In his response, he did not acknowledge the rights of atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinkers to not have religion forced upon them at official Air Force functions. In fact, he never uttered the words atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinking.

The long standing problem has been, as outlined in the Airman’s question, that Airmen are often required to attend various military functions and prayer is often a part of the event. For example, change of command, award and graduation ceremonies are often mandatory attendance for Airmen. At these events, there is often a non-sectarian public prayer, which ignores the beliefs of the atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinkers in the audience. It is not uncommon; especially at a change of command ceremony, to have Airmen standing at attention or parade rest as a chaplain asks the audience, “Let us pray” and proceeds to speak, assumingly, for all those in the audience who ARE religious. Can you imagine having to listen to this when it goes against the very core of your personal beliefs? This is exactly the point this Airman was making.

Why are our U.S. Airmen being forced to attend mandatory Air Force functions where public prayer is a part of the event? Airmen are not required to attend church. So why are Airmen required to attend military functions where they are forced to listen to public prayer? To please the Airmen who believe in gods while disregarding those Airmen who don’t? Apparently that is exactly the current policy in the U.S. Air Force. At least that is the only conclusion one can make based on no regulations specifically protecting the atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker Airmen minority. Is there respect for Airmen who are not religious? That’s for you to decide. If you want to make the Air Force a more friendly and respectful place for America’s atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinking Airmen. See below for ways to help.

So, you may be asking yourself, why did this Airman bother to ask such a question. I asked it because I believe in my Air Force and all that it stands for. Secretary Donley is in a position to speak for all Airmen. I wanted to know what his (and the Air Force) position was on protecting atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinking Airmen. I believe in freedom of religion and all the Air Force regulations that support those who choose to believe in gods. I also support and defend the U.S. Constitution, which allows me to choose to believe or not believe in just about anything I want. When people, governments, or corporations respect the beliefs of some, but not all, something must be done to change that. The apparent Air Force indifference and disrespect for Airmen who are not religious, and full support for those who are, makes me wonder what “I will never leave an Airman behind” really means.

What can you do to support civil rights and the separation of church and state for America’s atheist, agnostic, humanist, and freethinking Airmen? Here is a list of some, but certainly not all, of the organizations that can help.

Join and support Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers
http://www.militaryatheists.org

Join and support Military Religious Freedom Foundation
http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Join and support Freedom from Religion Foundation
http://www.ffrf.org

Join and support American Atheists
http://www.atheists.org

Join and support Americans United for Separation of Church and State
http://www.au.org

Get involved with your local atheist, agnostic, humanist, or freethinking group.

Respectfully contact:

Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Leon E. Panetta
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Disclaimer: This article in no way represents the official position of the U.S. Air Force or the Department of Defense.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Current Events, Military & War, News, Religion | , , | 1 Comment

The Tea Baggers can’t make up their mind

The Tea Baggers can’t make up their mind. The people at the DC rally today said government is too big and stay out of my wallet. The Tea Baggers outside Cape Canaveral today want more government money for NASA. So let me see if I understand this, it’s less government when it’s assisting the poor and providing unemployment and health benefits to those in need. It’s more government when it’s $$ for NASA, farmer subsidies, and it’s their job that’s being cut. Nice platform Tea Baggers.

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, Current Events, Florida, Money, News, Newspaper, Politics | Leave a comment

Let’s see how much coverage Haiti gets now

The next 24 hours will bring:

Breaking news announcements every 3 minutes on the 24-hour news networks with the fancy music and flashy graphics. OK people, time to move all your attention and resources away from Haiti, the next stop on our 2010 tour of sensational disaster news is… we’re headed to the South American paradise of Chile. The next 10,000 hours of CNN & MSNBC coverage (Not Fox News, they’re still bashing the left after the worthless “Health Care Summit”) will be non stop coverage of suffering and heartbreak experienced by the Chilean people.

George Clooney has just announced another celebrity 3-hour telethon scheduled for Friday to raise more for needy aid organizations who can’t manage to provide a tent or bottled water to victims 14 days after a disaster, even though they just raised 40 million dollars.

Oh, and we need the U.S. to immediately offer to help, even though we are gazillion dollars in debt, are fighting multiple wars, have a stretched military, corrupt politicians, and can’t provide health care to our own people without causing a person to declare bankruptcy.

Lastly, and most importantly, redirect your thoughts and prayers from Haiti to the Chilean people. Even though thoughts and prayers clearly did not prevent this disaster, or in any way warn the people it was coming, they are much needed now. And we need multiple theist organizations to send bibles, lots and lots of bibles, not food, water, or building materials. Just please hold off on the do-gooders who want to bring a better life to the Chilean children by taking them away from their parents, and bringing them to the good ole U.S.A.

All that and more, on the WXYZ news at 10.

February 27, 2010 Posted by | Current Events, News, Newspaper, Politics, Random, Religion | Leave a comment

Dear God, where were you when we needed you most?

This story John Travolta Flies Rations, Scientology Ministers Into Haiti, got me thinking.

Do these religious groups care about helping the people of Haiti or “saving” the people of Haiti?  It’s one thing to donate food and $$, it’s another to try and convert them when you get there.  Where were these religious groups BEFORE the earthquake struck?  Most were not there, why, because they didn’t care.  Since most all of the religious groups who are helping now, were doing absolutely nothing to help the people of Haiti BEFORE the earthquake struck, I can’t help but believe their true purpose now is to spread the word of their religion.

Travolta’s cult of Scientology is not the only one doing it, but for example, is there really a need to send “Scientology Ministers” to Haiti now?  Food, clothing, shelter, and infrastructure repair are what’s needed, not religion.  Why is religion not needed?  When the people of Haiti needed a God the most, about 30 seconds before the earth shook, no God was there to prevent this disaster.  However, now the religious groups are saying, God is here to help.  Really?  Even though he/she didn’t help me then, if I pray according to your religion now, I will helped.  Reminds me of the phrase “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”  Or as George Bush would say “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”  Unfortunately for the Haitians, there’s a lot of foolery going around.

This post was not meant to offend you, or anyone else, you can believe whatever you want and are entitled to your opinion.  It’s just things like this make religion seem foolish to me.  We pray now in the hope our prayer will be answered, even though, it clearly didn’t prevent the disaster in the first place.  Yes, I know, it’s called faith.  I think a better word for it is credulity.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Cult, Current Events, Military & War, Money, News, Newspaper, Politics, Random, Religion | Leave a comment

I guess Obama didn’t take away their guns

During the Presidential political campaign, the Tea Party activists and the McCain-Palin supporters loved to claim “Obama will take away your guns”.  Remember how the gun fanatics were carrying their guns openly to rallies to protest and intimidate the Obama supporters?  If you remember correctly, there was a huge run up of ammunition and gun sales after Obama was elected because the gun fanatics wanted to “stock up” on their weapons & ammo because they were going to be taken away once Obama was sworn in.  Ammunition was in short supply around the country.  But where is the mainstream media one year later to do a fact check on how many guns Obama took away from law-abiding citizens? Where is the mainstream media to document the many, many laws passed to take away the right to bear arms? The mainstream media is silent. Why, because they suck and because it didn’t happen.

The facts are, Obama took exactly zero guns away from law-abiding citizens since he was elected.  Fact is, Congress passed and Obama signed, zero laws related to taking away a person’s right to bear arms.  Matter of fact, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Obama an “F” grade because he didn’t do anything they wanted.  Obama also didn’t do anything the right-wingers said he would do either.  You can read the full Brady Campaign press release here. As Alanis Morrissette would say, Isn’t It Ironic?

January 19, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, Current Events, Election 2008, John McCain, News, Politics, Random, Sarah Palin | Leave a comment

Americans just don’t care…about each other

If you come upon a a driver who has been injured in a car accident, most people would stop and help. Whereas if you have a fellow American citizen without health care who is dying because they can’t afford health care or were denied coverage, most people do nothing. Why is that?

What happened to our United States that we don’t provide a basic human right for each other, such as affordable health care for our citizens? England, France, and Canada do, why don’t we? Are you not willing to collectively pay a little more in taxes so all of us are covered? We all pay a little in taxes so we all have clean drinkable water from our faucet. We all pay a little in taxes so we have paved roads, police/fire service, and a sewage system. But when it comes to health care, which everyone needs sometime in their life, we do nothing. That is why Americans just don’t care…about each other.

Greedy, profit driven companies and corrupt politicians have ruined this country. Complacent citizens have contributed to the problem.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Money, News, Random | 1 Comment

Senator Mitch McConnell, where were you in 2003?

Today Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was blabbing on about how bad the health care bill was and how nobody wants health care reform. Specifically he said

“The notion that we would even consider spending trillions of dollars we don’t have in a way that a majority of Americans don’t even want, is proof that this health care bill is completely and totally out of touch with the American people.”

Source NPR News (All Things Considered) 11/30/09: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120963372

What came to mind when I heard that was:

  1. A majority of Americans DO want health care reform, look at all the polls (with the exception of anything coming from Fox News).
  2. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the White House and Congress spent trillions of dollars we didn’t have to start an unnecessary war with Iraq?
  3. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the White House started a war with Iraq even though a majority of Americans (and a majority of people around the world) didn’t even want it?
  4. Where was Senator McConnell in 2003 when the Iraq war started and the White House and Congress was completely and totally out of touch with the American people?

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Military & War, News, Newspaper, Politics, Random | Leave a comment

Conservatives hate socialism (and this country), unless it benefits them

We hear the word socialist thrown around by the right wingers day after day.  Obama is turning this into a socialist country, blah, blah, blah. I want my country back, yada, yada, yada, I love Glen Beck. Many if not most conservatives participating in the Million Moron March in Washington this weekend could not give an accurate definition of what Socialism was.

Socialism is a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

So let’s list some things that we have that are socialistic in nature, but yet conservatives have no problem reaping the benefits of. Some hate our government (and when you get right down to it, they hate having a black President) and yet they freely reap the benefits of these services even though it’s provided for by the government they hate so much. Isn’t it ironic?

  • Paved roads
  • Bridges
  • Social Security
  • State colleges
  • Snow removal
  • Garbage pick up
  • Sewer lines and treatment plants
  • Water treatment facilities
  • Parks
  • Public schools
  • Police
  • Fire Department
  • Street signs, traffic lights

The list goes on and on. So those of you who hate this country so much, those of you who hide behind racism to spew your lies and distrust for my United States of America, please please, please, do not accept these services your government provides to you.

September 14, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Current Events, News, Politics, Random | 2 Comments

Bayer One A Day men’s multivitamin threatened with lawsuit over misleading health claims

If you are a man over 50, you’ve likely seen ads for Bayer One A Day men’s multivitamins that claimed the mineral selenium helps reduce risk of prostate cancer or otherwise promotes “prostate health.”

There’s a big problem however:  It’s not true.

In fact, for most men, taking too much selenium may actually promote more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.  And, previous studies warned against supplementing with selenium since men taking selenium developed more cases of diabetes than men in control groups who did not.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened Bayer with a lawsuit over those claims, and just last month, we asked the Food and Drug Administration to seize existing stockpiles of One A Day Men’s Health Formula and One A Day Men’s 50+ Advantage.

As CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt said at the time, “Bayer is exploiting men’s fear of prostate cancer just to sell more pills.”  And, a group of some of the most prominent prostate cancer researchers in the country wrote that “Bayer Healthcare is doing a disservice to men by misleading them about a protective role for selenium in prostate cancer.”

If you purchased either of these One A Day Men’s Multis on the belief the product would help reduce your risk of prostate cancer or promote better prostate health, we would like to hear from you.  Please email us at cwalsh@cspinet.org so we can learn about your experience with One A Day men’s multis.  Together, we may be able to help other men from being ripped off by Bayer’s misleading and illegal claims.

Sincerely,
Steve Gardner
Director of Litigation
Center for Science in the Public Interest

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health, Helpful Resources, News, Newspaper, Politics | Leave a comment

Palin resigns as Alaska Governor, to enter porn industry in 2010?

fn-header


Saturday, July 04, 2009
James Clavitt Jr., Fox News Senior Staff Writer
New York, N.Y.

Fox news has confirmed Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will resign her post as the state’s chief executive and will enter the lucrative porn industry of Southern California sometime in 2010.  Larry Flynt staffers have confirmed Flynt has offered and Palin has accepted a large 8 figure salary to exclusively appear in print and film productions for Larry Flynt Publications.  It’s unclear why the conservative Palin has accepted Flynt’s offer but sources close the negotiations have said Governor Palin wanted to create a situation that would keep her and her family financially secure and for years to come and Larry Flynt Publications submitted an offer that was hard to pass up.  Todd Palin, the Governor’s husband, was initially furious but was persuaded to accept the offer after Flynt staffers estimated the video and print media demand would make Palin the most sought after actress in the history of film and year one sales profits would exceed $800 million dollars.  Flynt reportedly also agreed to donate a large some of money to Mr. and Mrs. Palin’s favorite charities each of the next 3 years.

Additionally, Palin is expected to get a percentage of the video and print media sales in which she appears, which is said to be unprecedented in the adult film industry.  Initial reports are she will receive as much as a 55% share of profit for each video sold and 75% for online video content.  The print media share was estimated at 10%.  Mr. Flynt, did not immediately return calls to his office but a spokesman for the adult media mogul said the deal was 99% complete but he could not give any more specifics because he was not permitted to release information until the contract was finalized.

James Stanton, editor of Adult Video News, said this agreement would be bigger than any contract ever signed in or out of the porn industry and that Palin demand is so high that sales could reach levels seen of Oscar winners in traditional film and print sales would eclipse demand for the Harry Potter book series.  “We’re reaching a time when adult film is no longer taboo” Stanton said from his Los Angeles office. “Demand is high for anything Palin, film and print sales from a woman with the popularity and beauty queen caliber looks of Palin would be so high that something like this just might help get the country out of the recession”, said Stanton with a chuckle.  Calls to Mr. and Mrs. Palin’s office were not immediately returned.

James Clavitt Jr. and Jessica Dupart, Fox News Senior Staff Writers contributed to this report
Copyright 2009, All Right Reserved

You can save $5 on a new SmugMug subscription
14-day free trial, no credit card required
Named best photo & video storage site on the web, 2007-2008

smugmug

July 4, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Current Events, Election 2008, John McCain, Money, Movies, News, Newspaper, Politics, Random, Religion, Sarah Palin | 1 Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.