The foxhole atheist community is alive and well at Fort Bragg and is getting ready to hold an event on the central parade ground. Rock Beyond Belief, an organization of atheist soldiers, after long bargaining has gotten permission to hold a kind of atheist Woodstock on March 31.
“This just might be the turning point in the foxhole atheist community’s struggle for acceptance, tolerance and respect,” Sergeant Griffith wrote on the Web site. “It’s an amazing time to be a nonbeliever in the U.S. military on the cusp of a major breakthrough.”A spokesman for the fort, Benjamin Abel, confirmed that Colonel Sicinski had approved use of the parade field because Rock Beyond Belief had come up with enough money to pay for a stage, lighting, sound system and other expenses involved in setting up the grounds. He said he understood that Rock Beyond Belief had obtained the money, more than $30,000, from a donor.Mr. Abel added that the fort would provide electricity, water and security for the event but not any direct financial assistance.
This is all exactly as it should be. The United States is a constitutional republic; its citizens and soldiers are free to profess any beliefs or non-beliefs they choose. They are also entitled to speak about those beliefs on public or private property. “Foxhole atheists” are as entitled to hold events as are foxhole Presbyterians.That said, it’s a good thing most US soldiers and citizens aren’t atheists. Many atheists are upstanding citizens and fine people, but now as ever most of us need the comforts and the guidance of religion to keep our lives on track. The country would be in trouble if ‘foxhole atheists’ weren’t able to hold public events — and it would be in trouble if too many people attended them.