Atheist group seeks to ban “religious preference” from military documentation

 
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Atheist group seeks to ban “religious preference” from military documentation

 As with most things MAAF does (Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers) this seems to be solution in search of a problem.

Last we heard from MAAF was when they were going after a cross at Camp Pendleton that Marines had put up to honor their fallen brothers.  That effort angered even their fellow atheists:

 I am a fellow atheist and have been for over ten years. I joined the Marine Corps in 2002 and continue to serve today. Never in that time have I been asked to change my beliefs or encouraged to be silent about my religious opinions… I will say that the opposition to that monument by this organization disgusts me and takes away from our brotherhood and all that we stand for.

More than once I’ve wondered if they weren’t secretly a religious group trying to discredit Atheism because the battles they pick to fight seem so utterly ridiculous.

A support group for atheist servicemembers has launched a petition drive to have President Obama end the requirement that the services solicit the religious affiliation of personnel, including recruits.

But a week after the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers submitted the petition on WhiteHouse.gov the effort has garnered just 25 of the 25,000 signatures it needs by Feb. 5 to get any kind of response from the White House.

MAAF President Jason Torpy, a West Point graduate and former Army officer, acknowledges there is a long way to go but says he remains “optimistic that we’ll get the signatures once some other groups pick this up.”

As of last time I checked, a few minutes ago, it was all the way up to 30 signatures.  I’m fairly confident I could put up a petition calling on the federal government to indict Spongebob Squarepants for crimes against Starfish and have 50 people sign it by lunch just by putting it on my Facebook page.

Nonetheless, they do have what I consider a legit concern on one thing:

“What MRFF [MAAF allies Military Religious Freedom Foundation] has received complaints about is the fact that a service member's religion is listed on forms where there is no legitimate reason for it to be listed, such as the Army's ORB (Officer Record Brief) … forms whose purpose is to provide a summary of a service member's education, special skills, and service record,” said Chris Rodda, a writer and a researcher for MRFF.

“There is no reason that religion should be a factor in any career or assignment decisions that the information on these forms is used for,” she said.

I honestly didn’t know it was on any of those forms, and I am at a loss to explain why it should be, so I definitely can see their point there.  And if that is what this petition said, I would have pushed it through a few different mediums.  As far as I can tell there is no reason anyone on a promotion board or similar group should know what God or Deity one ascribes to, or chooses to disbelieve.  I just don’t see how it is germane.

But alas, that isn’t what their petition says:

Every new military recruit is asked the question, "What is your religion?" This causes undue stress and pressure to conform as the recruit considers the predominant Christian culture of the military and the US. Having the "right" answer on ID tags and official records might make the difference in peer treatment and in equal opportunity in military assignments and promotions.

That first part seems absurd and insulting.  You mean that our brave men and women signing up today are so susceptible to peer pressure that they would conform to something contrary to their moral underpinning?  Maybe I just served in the most enlightened units of all time, but I never saw even a hint of this.  The guys I served with had WIDELY divergent religious views, and no one had a problem with it, except the one dude who found out that he only had to work certain hours during Ramadan and promptly became a Muslim.  And the only ones truly hostile about that were the other Muslims in my unit who knew the guy was using it as a scam.

In my Infantry Platoon alone we had a Muslim, a Mormon, several Catholics, a ton of Baptists, a Universalist Unitarian, two Buddhists, and atleast one Wiccan.  (I’ve also served with Jewish guys and people who worshipped Odin.)  Most the rest I didn’t know or had no religious affiliation.  None of it mattered, no one cared.  The only time it ever came up was if we were discussing something theological, and that was just for debates.  (We would sometimes put the Muslim, Mormon and Catholic in the same Guard Tower so they could fight it out rhetorically.)  If someone’s religious views are so milquetoast that they would change them because of peer pressure, then they probably weren’t all that devoted to their religion in the first place. 

What the article neglects to mention at all is the actual reason for having a religious preference on military forms.  That was brought home to me last night in a sad story that my friend Amy told me about.  Her son is at Navy Basic Training, and his unit lost a man yesterday:

A recruit at Naval Station Great Lakes died Wednesday morning during a physical training exercise, according to the Lake County coroner.

Christopher Walker, who turned 19 in December, suddenly collapsed on the base near North Chicago, said Lake County coroner Artis Yancey.

He was rushed to James Lovell Federal Health Care Center but was pronounced shortly after at 9:57 a.m., according to Yancey.

Authorities said Walker was a Pennsylvania native.

It seems to me that Mr. Walker’s grieving parents would appreciate that the chaplain that came to the door to pass on this horrific and tragic news would be of the same religious persuasion as Christopher himself.  Sending a Sikh chaplain to inform the parents of a deceased Catholic soldier wouldn’t seem to make much sense would it?

Lastly, the whole doing away with “No Religious Preference” thing seems just politically correct to me.  How does a blank space convey something different than that phrase?  Add “Humanist”, add "Spiritual But Not Religious”, add “First Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”; it won’t make any difference to me.  When I joined the army I became green.  We may self-identify as white, or Christian, American-Indian or Buddhist, but we identify those around us more easily: because they are all our brothers and sisters, regardless of any other affiliation.

 

EXIT QUESTION: Someone either below of possibly in an email to me said that the DoD choses what religions it recognizes, and that some people practice ones not recognized by the DoD.  Can someone name me a religion not recognized by the DoD and someone who wishes it were practiced?  An actual religion mind you, not some made up one that is clearly farcical.  I am actually curious, and would like to explore it with the DoD, but I need an actual example.

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Having served as a combat medic in Vietnam, I found it amazing how many Atheists called out ; "Oh, God, help me!" when they were hit. I wondered about their dedication to Atheism at the time. Were they only using their non-belief as a crutch? And, yes, I knew who the Atheists were. It was also part of my responsibility to notify the proper chaplain of the injured's religious preference.

So, you would judge them in their moment of pain? Would you also play executioner as well?

Christians in the USA are on the whole a intolerant lot is you disagree wih them. But I obtain joy from all the holiday christians using pagan rituals during 'christian' holidays.

I volunteered for duties over the December holiday periods since I am not a christian. And then when I would get my 'holidays' off when everyone else was back at work, many would complain.

What about our Muslim brothers who serve in the US armed forces? How about the Jewish? Wiccan? Or people only desire to celebrate their own brand of religion?

So if the Atheists are so proud of their decisions, why are they so scared to hide it? If they actually believe their is no higher power, then either get back in the closet or deal with your decisions in the open. You don't see any believers in a higher power getting stressed out when they are asked what their religious preferences are... stop being little b*tch's and accept the choices you make and quit trying to cram your sob story down everybody elses throat.

The Inquisition come to mind? Salem witch trials? Many times a lack of or a difference in beliefs was worth hiding if you wanted to live.

Please ignore this organization as they are trying to block our rights under the US Constitution guaranteeing our right to religious choice.

Why do the VAST majority of people (military or civilian) - believers in a Supreme Being - have to change just so the VAST minority of people - atheists - can get their way. They are selfish, bull-headed and arrogant. Respect for one's rights goes both ways.

If you were hurt would you want an unbeliver by you side or someone who knows your belief regardless of their training in religious matters. I would want a christian by my side through the injury prayine for me. The best place for this info is on the dog tags period,.

iam a vet and i was in the marine corp for 14 yers it just gets my goat all theses groups trying to take away what we as a nation have done for centerys, and the sad part is we as a nation let them strip this nation of theses things so as not to offend them well i say enoph. what this group is doing is ridicouls what more are we going to let groups like this take first they takeaway our abilty to say merry chrismas for what reason then they take the right for our kids to say a simply pray in school along with the pledge to our flag and doing even get me going by them whant to take a simply word like god out of that same pledge you now what these groups have nothing better to do i say they just need to stay out of it and let it alone. theres nothing wroung with asking if some one has a religous prefference there not asking for blood just leave it the way it is and thats that but i know that they will get there way becasue as a nation god forbid if we offend anyone thats whats wroung with our nation and thats why the founding fathers are rolling in their graves

As for me, I live for My Lord and I want folks to know my Catholic/Christian faith declaration, of which I am honored to be, to death, to it make known. God Bless America!
lja/JMJ

The atheists have gone too far!! As a former service member, I found comfort in the fact that my dog tags had Roman Catholic on them. I knew that if something had happened to me, a Catholic chaplain would be called to administer last rites & one would be sent to my parents to inform them of what happened. As Ms. Ingersoll said in her comments, the government can not make a law determining a national religion nor prevent the free practice thereof. If that had happened when the Constitution was being established, the state religion would probably be Anglican(Church of England) since a good portion of the founding fathers were of that religion. If the atheists don't want God in their government or their daily lives, then they probly should give up money too, as the words"In God We Trust" in on all money. Maybe they should live like hobos or make their own barter society. Please DOD, keep religious preference on the dog tags, etc.

i am a Vietnam era army vet. When I joined, I was asked my religious preference. I said I was atheist. They refused to put that on my record. They insisted I had to use "no preference". That pissed me off then and it still does today. I am proud to be an Atheist and I will match my moral standards to all you religious Hippocrates out there.

Asking if you belong to a Faith or the omission is not the issue with individuals who declare themselves Atheist. Atheism is the declaration there is no God. Human beings are created by God and this will always be branded deep in the sould of the individual. When we choose to deny something so natural and deeply instinctual, there is an ongoing conflict within us. Seeing others with Faith is alike a mirror held up to someone who is declaring rebellion against their Creator. Each reminded provokes this conflict and reminds them of their rebellion. There is no peace despite their efforts insisting they have all the answers. Therefore, trying to destroy these reminders - ex. the Cross at Camp Lejeune, the dog tags declaring Faith; etc. are offensive to the reminder of their own conflict. It is a sophisticated and well masked form of bullying -allowed in the name of a false understanding of freedom- the Atheist feels badly on the inside and lashes out, suppressing others to justify and pacify their own lack of peace.

What in the hell has happen to the Military? With this crap going on, no wonder it took ten years to get Hassen Ben Sober. I'm an Atheist so what. When I was in, we had no time for this kind of junk. Up set over Religious preference on dog tags and Military records! These Nut Balls have too much time on their hands. How about worrying about the War that is going on. What ever happen to training so hard that all you want to do is hit the old bunk. When did these professorial Kvetches take over? I thought the mission of the Armed Services was to fight, not cry like some 5 year girls because someone has Catholic or Jewish or Baptist on their Dog Tags. " Whaaa! Commander there's a cross on the lawn and I'm offended. You know what would happen to me in the sixties, when I was in, and I said that to my commander. He would tell me to "Get Down And Give Me Ten!" It's about time some General some where said enough is enough. This is the Military if you don't like it, lump it." I hope that I was not to Un-PC for the little darlings. If I was, Tuff Sh*T!

If I died in combat I would like to know, along with my family that I didn't have Jewish ceremony if I was Catholic. I only stands to reason that your tags have it on them.

If I don't want to list my religious preference, that should be okay and I think that it is the way it is now; If I want to list it, I should be anle to and that is also the way it is now, I believe; in the military there are good reasons to list it considering the fact that you face death dailyPiGRL. Athiests have a right not to believe as do those with religious mores. Damn those whom try to strip either's rights!

I was a PAC clerk in a thousand man signal battalion, and I can assure you that asking a soldiers religious preference is not forcing a religion down anyones throat or issuing an edict for crying outloud!! It is simply a means to respectfully provide for the soldiers wishes if a catastrophic event occurs. Several folks have aptly pointed out that we have a freedom of religion, not a freedom FROM religion in this country. Grow up and learn to respectfully disagree instead of trying to legislate away others rights. Just because I stand quietly and respectfully for another countrys national anthem doesn't mean I become a citizen of that country or agree with their policies. There is no conversion by exposure, an athiest will not "catch religion" from others. Those few people responsible for this action are trying to do what famous dictators have been doing for century's, trying to force everyone else to conform to their standards. Athiests exist freely in OUR culture because of that respect for choice, in other lands they would be put to death as infidels, yet these few would take that freedom away from the majority of our society. Who are they to decide what symbol I have on my home, or on my gravestone?

I agree with everything you said except one. We do have freedom From religion. 1st Amendment. The Founding Fathers put that one in because they knew full well what an Established State Religion had done and to some extent is doing to the Old World. They wanted to establish a 'New World Order' just like our money says. Where religion would not be that much of a deal. To me ,as an Atheist, it's not that big of a deal what anybody believes unless they converted it into flying airplanes into buildings.

In my military career, 1961-1981, I never heard of a soldier volunteering that he/she was
an atheist, mainly because they would be quickly, although quietly shunned. No one
would fully trust or form a close association, and in a Army that tends to be led by Bible-
belters, belief in any dieity would be preferable to no belief at all. On the other hand, I have
seen many a soldier suddenly remember his belief system as he exited the aircraft or heard
those first rounds fall on his position or whistle past his head.
At first blush one could question religious preference on forms in your 201 file reflecting your
choice or absence of choice. Having sat on many promotion boards, have faith in this - board
members do not act in isolation, and are fully instructed as to criteria for selection, and faith
isn't in there. Secondly, military records are permanent, historical, and largely public records.
Let's not handicap future researchers. No military personnel of Jewish faith are forced to have
their religious preference on anything they carry into areas where capture could lead to any
more harm than being of any other faith, or sex, for that matter. So we can all calm down,
this is a non-story that is going nowheres, only value to show religious freedom is alive and
well.

although a Atheist during the same time you were in, my dog tags say " Catholic" . I may be an Atheist but I'm no fool. I could pass since I was force to go to Catholic School. Did you ever hear of a Atheist Altar Boy? I got more girls if I could say some prayers in Latin. I wonder how many more undercover Atheist there were in the Air Force. We believed in Country, Honor, and Duty. It was an Invisible Man we had trouble with.

Sadly, my name is not unique here, so don't blame me (or him!) for comments made by the other "Jack Cain". You may be able to tell us apart because I use more moderate language than my co-writer with the same name.

First, take a look here to see what is recognized as the third highest RELIGION in the world (note that you will have to change the URL as valid addresses are not allowed here): w.w.w.adherents..com/Religions_By_Adherents...html

Next, I do not agree with the petition as stated here. However, I have some actual experiences to relate. You be the judge if religious preference has been used inappropriately in these cases, and therefore if there is a tiny bit of reason to make sure that religious preference is used where it should be - and never where it should not be!

In Jan 1981, Navy RTC San Diego - a Master Chief (E-9) sent a message for me to come to his office 2 or 3 days into boot camp. He noted that I had chosen "Baptist" as my religious preference and invited me to attend his church once I was out of boot. He also requested that I not make known the reason for his request to see me, which caused problems when I came back to the barracks.

Fall/Winter 1983/84 Nuclear Power Training Unit, Idaho Falls - I was called into my supervisor's office (an E-6) and asked behind a closed door "If you died today would you go to heaven?". I replied that I was a druid and worshipped trees, so the question was moot. Unknown to this person, I was saved at 12 and even paid my own way through a private Christian high school. I was and am now a Christian. That being said, unwanted proselytization by a superior is inappropriate in any circumstance. After that I was regularly called into various offices where one or more people would question me about my beliefs. When I refused to "convert", I was unable to get ANY further instruction and graduated last in my class. My bank records were obtained by my supervisor whose wife worked where I banked. My final oral exam was so biased that one of the examiners requested that his name be noted as objecting to the questions asked.

Given these two actual examples does anyone think that I was the only person who could tell the same tale?

When you are in boot camp, you do not disagree with a Master Chief, especially when you graduate and don't know if he has your name on a list (he did - they contacted me). My refusal to cooperate with the Christians pursuing their proselytization in Idaho had an extremely adverse effect on my ability to graduate from arguably the mentally hardest program in the Navy.

Even MOTHAX said in his article that "We used to put (3 separate religions) in the same guard tower so they could argue it out". Isn't that contrary to claiming that no action was taken regarding someone's religious affiliation outside their religious care if needed?

There is no doubt that if I join an organization where my life can be taken at any time that my religious preference is important if I choose to make it known. Other than looking at my dog tag on my dying body, nobody should know or care to know my religious preference unless I make it known that I am open for discussion on that subject. The person next to me needs to do their job accurately and effectively under extreme stress. When the do-do hits the fan, that's the only thing that matters.

Whether you agree or disagree with someone, how about a bit of respect and tolerance for others? Too many of you claim tolerance then go on to use extremely derogatory language about others who have served just as honorably as you have.

Given what most of us claim to believe and support, any outsider reading this posts would think we were the least tolerant people they had ever seen. They would also think most of us are in 5th grade. Have some self respect!

Want respect from others? Then give it. Notice that I took the time to log in so my posts have a verified author. I also chose a user name that doesn't hide who I am. If another "Jack Cain" posts - and I have seen too many by someone with which I share a name but don't share their attitude - then look to see if it says "(not verified)" after my name. If it does, it ain't me!

Do YOU have enough pride and honesty to stand behind what you say?

I joined the Air Guard in 1986 as an atheist. I have no problem with a religious preference on our dog tags as that is important for some people. When I said I wanted "No Religion" on the tag I was told I couldn't have that. The tag read "No Rel Pref". No Religious Preference is not the same as No Religion to me. It is like a lactose intolerant fellow saying no to ice cream and being told he has "no flavor preference".

There is no place for religious preference outside of our dog tags; and frankly I think a religion cited other than Muslim may put a captured military person at risk in many places of the world.

My request is that we get the option to leave the religion area of the dog tag blank. Even those with beliefs may not want it printed in metal.

Isn't atheist and Freethinkers a non sequiter?

After reading the article and most of the commentsIi belive the athiest group is wrong. Dog Tags are to make sure your right to choose how you're cared for upon your death in or out of service is upheld.

When the news boke of the death of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama informed the nation the body had to be buried at sea in accordance with HIS beliefs and within a short time frame per his faith. And he was OUR ENEMY and we, The United States of America, respected his beliefs!. Not once did we here from our enemy that we disrespected him in his death...not once!!!

As Wendy Ingersoll, Neil, Mark, Raymond i ormsby, Jack Price, MSg and others have stated here the atheiset group have no ground for any complaints. As to other forms of ID or forms with that info, it's to insure that all documents have valid info on them. No one knows when or where we will die and the info being made readily availabe on all documents decreases to zero the chance of an error.

Just be pleased that you have the option to complain, valid or not.

I was a chaplain's assistant for twenty years in the army. One of the main reasons for stating one's religious preference is for the hard fact that in war troops are gravely injured and/or die. Some religions have specific requirements for the care of injured or killed persons. Religious preference on one's dog tags provides quick reference for people who are tasked with the care and disposition of our fallen troops such as doctors, chaplains and graves registration. Further, in twenty years I never encountered one case in wich an individual received an assignment, promotion, award or preferential treatment based on religious peference or denied these things either for the same reason.skvqd

Congress shall not pass any law prohibiting the free exercise(of religion) . I have no problem with a religious preference on a dog tag. The only people besides myself that would read the tags is graves registration, and they need that info to properly dispose of whatever is left of me.

If I'm correct one reason that it is on the tags is that The goverment will know how to tend to your body if you are killed.. After all WE gave Bin laden that respect according to his religion.

Maybe , just maybe the military uses it to figure out how many chaplains and other spiritual leaders are needed for the armed forces.

Atheism is a religious preference! It means someone chooses not to believe in any higher power. To say Atheism is not a religious preference is like saying zero "0" isn't a number because it represents nothing, nada, zip, dooda, etc.

Actually, I have linked it twice now.  Maybe you don't like our position, but at least be honest sir.  I left t once in the comment, and it is linked in the original article.  Also, my email address is mothax@legion.org which appears in several places, and you could have emailed me.  However, your insinuation that I am hiding it or something certainly seems to imply that you would rather accuse me of things than actually be honest about it.

Before you make a statement on the Religious Preference on the ORBs you need to check out what are the facts. Yes the Religious Preference is on our ORBs. However my Religious Preference is taken of the Promotion Board's ORB, as is the Married status. This is even true for Chaplains. In the case of a Soldier's death the ORB or ERB would be used to confirm the Religious Preference, the Military Awards, and Unit Assignments, among other things.

I am retired from the Army. I was a unit clerk. The reason I have always been told that religious preference was placed on dog tags is so the soldiers remains would be handled in accordance with his religion and nothing more. It seems that there is just no respect for anything in this country or military any more. I dont need to have that I am a Roman Catholic printed in the paper. All I would ask for is that my remains be taken care of according to my religion. Some remains need to be cleaned and wrapped a certain way. Others would be due last rights. If you don't believe in God or a Creator what ever you wish to call it then don't, but stop pushing your right not to believe on others that do. You are a religion of non believers which is your right, and it is my right to believe in a God that I don't push on you.

Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers GET A LIFE.. Leave things as they are.. Quit causing trouble, It doesn't realy matter what one believes in or what one doesn't. If your association really has former military members in it then their wouldn't be an issue. I put in 10 years and my friends and coworkers never talked about religion or beliefs, that is petty stuff. MAAF get over yourselves. The world doesn't owe you S@!&.

SOME ONE ONCE SAID " WHO IS BETTER OFF ONE WHO BELEAVES AND FINDS OUT HE IS WRONG OR
ONE WHO DOES NOT BELEAVE AND FINDS HE IS WRONG ..
SO KEEP PRINTING DOG TAGS AND WAIT FOR THE FINAL DAY TO ANSWER THE BIG QUESTION...

Just as we all have the freedom to post our thoughts here we are still speaking of freedom, something we have all paid our dues to defend. Simply put it just as much a right to put my religion on my dog tags as it is for others not to. The word political correctness has become another word for BS. We have turned the tables to were our own personal beliefs are fringed upon and freedom is only the squeaky wheel. I personally don't push my religion or beliefs on the streets of life. Ther are my beliefs not yours nor my neighbors however I respect that your viewpoints may be different. That is what makes America what it is today a place we can all come together and be one regardless of our ethnic backgrounds. We can never begin to understand one another that's what's makes us interesting. What once was a country of open arms is slowly becoming the past and just like this topic, is one more thing on the check list takes away from our freedoms. We have worse issues to work on than to cause drama over whether or not I choose to have a religious preference on my dog tags.

If you Aethists can not respect the Constitutional Right of the Freedom of Religion (applicable to any Federal Governmental Agency or form of Federal USA Government, including the Armed Forces) because you do not respect people's rights to their own RELIGIOUS BELIEFS...then WHY should we respect your right to your own NON RELIGIOUS belief...which is really a religon in itself not to believe in the "GOD WE TRUST" which is on every piece of our Federally printed or minted money.

Why do minority causes get the media legs they seem to get? This attack is going nowhere, anyway. Most military (in my day) avoided comments and causes like this simply out of respect for their mates.

Have you ever seen a atheist with mud on the bottom of there boots???? ENOUGH SAID!!

First, you can put whatever you want. Second, I am sick and tired of non-Christians demanding what and how we do things in America and now our service. Buy a ticket and go somewhere where there is no religion or no Christians or whatever you believe in. Leave my God and my Country alone! This country was founded by Christians, for Christians. It was not Freedom from religion. It was was Freedom of Religion. Those that left England did not want a State Religion. They wanted to worship God and their Freedom. Do some reading. Learn some history. Get out if you don't like this place! God Bless America!

I once encountered a young female Soldier who would proudly espouse her religious preference and produce her dog tags upon request. Her preference was: Jedi Knight. The tags were issued by DoD and paperwork reflected her preference. I might consider this a made-up, farcical religion, but apparently someone in a decision making position condoned it.

I'm proud of my religion, I'm a Christian. Why are the Atheist cowardly about their beliefs?

This is B.S. 25 years ago, My mother and Father were of two like but different Christian religions. When I enlisted in the Army I was asked what my religion was, I was allowed to put "No Preference" on my forms/dog tags with out any backlash during my tour.I am a Christian but out of respect for my parents, I allowed them the honor of deciding what type of burial Iwould have should anything happen to me. These morons need to find a more important topic if they want to attack the military. If someone wants "Athiest" on their dog tags....fine... It's one less dying person a clergy member will have to risk their life to pray with under fire as they die. I myself can't inagine going into battle without my belief in both "God" and "Country".

I have to agree with you. They still let you place no preference on your dog tags. The only reason it is on there is so that if you are dying or have died. You can have you remains taken care of in accordance with your religion. If you are an atheist you dont have to worry about it. I am a Roman Catholic. I would want my remains handled in accordance with my religion. Since I am the one that put my life on the line for this country I would want my country to take care of my remains. It also lets the notification personnel who usually has a chaplin with them when they make notification to have the correct chaplin there. Would you want a buddist chaplin at your house if you were a catholic?

Why is it when the liberals don't like something it has to be removed but when a conservative doesn't like something he just does not use it.
There is the choice of "no religious affiliation" that should say it all.
This was meant to speak for us when we could not speak. It is the same as a DNR my choice to select or NOT select it.

As I understand, it is your choice what is on your Dogtags. During my 20 year career, I went thru several steps in my spiritual journey. At one point, I had Dogtags that said I was a Druid. At another, I was a Universalist. If I can say what I believe, why is that less valid than an Atheist saying what he doesn't believe? Grow up & try to remember that if you believe GOD doesn't exists, it's no different that a non-unicorn believer. Where is your outrage over unicorns? As to other paperwork, I agree that your preference should have no part in the decision-making progress about your career.

Whats the big deal just put NONE. The founding farthers put the in the seperation of church and state was to keep the gov. from forming a national religion so lets knock off the crap. If you don't believe thats your choice but leave the rest of us ALONE. oh AND THE WAY YOU ATHEISTS act it seems like it's your religion.

Can someone name me a religion not recognized by the DoD and someone who wishes it were practiced?

Pagan religions are all lumped together as "Wicca" by the DoD (just check out the Army Chaplain guide). Which would be something like considering all Christians to be Catholic. When I joined in 2003, I there was a list, and Pagan wasn't an option (and I wasn't Wiccan), so I ended up with NORELPREF (for no religious preference). Since 2008, at least in the Navy, according to MILPERSMAN 1000-070, they are supposed to use whatever religion you identify with. Also, in CHCS (the medical computer system) you can input your religion as a write-in box, and since its done separately from personnel, you can put whatever you want to in there, its a fill-in box.

The purpose of dog tags is to identify the wearer, whom to notify (provided through ser#) and religious preference so that military personal will know how to handle the body.
Dog tags used to have a small notch on one end which was used to drive between the front teeth to identify the fallen solder.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.