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candy331 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:06 PM
Original message
The military members have to select a religion
even if they are not practicing it at least that is the way it was when my brother was in many years ago but is this still the case? Can one select atheist and be in the US military? Inquiring minds want to know.
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atreides1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes
When I was in the Army you made decision. I know a lot of guys who had "No Preference" under religion on their dog tags. You don't have to believe in any particular religion to enlist, at least you did'nt when I was in, which was from 1978-1991.
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DarkPhenyx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. You can select athiest...
...or non-denominational.

You can also choose Pagan, Wiccan, Satanist....many, many others.
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. My old dog tags (80's-90's) say "No Pref". eom
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. Mine said "CHRISTIAN".
Which I still (I guess) thought I was back then.
Funny part is, now that I've decided on atheism, I'm more Christian (in the way that I treat and think about others) than I was then.
Go figure.
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TheDebbieDee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. My ID Tags read "No Pref".......eom
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AZCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. A guy I know chose "Pink Floyd"...
So I guess there aren't too many restrictions on your choices!
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BrotherBuzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Times have changed!
I'm a "No Pref" because my religion was not on their approved list.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. The military would prefer you to be religious because
you would be more likely to do heroic acts.
The reason being you'd believe in an after life and would gain admittance to heaven because of your good deed of dying in the act of saving your buddies.

Where as an atheist would know better the consequences of what he was doing.
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libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-04 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. This has nothing to do with it, it is about respecting the handling of
your body when wounded or dead and which type of chaplain you would prefer for religious rites or counseling.
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Sir Craig Donating Member (222 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. Mine used to be "No Rel Pref"
When I first went into Basic Training, when asked about my religious preference I replied, "Atheist." Well, that didn't sit well with the idiots behind the counter (realize, this was Ronnie Ray-gun's Amerika at the time) and they said I had to have something else. I replied, "Atheist. Get over it." So they instead put "No Rel Pref," which doubled as some kind of Protestant denomination. Needless to say, I was pissed, but I got over it.

In Basic we were also required to undergo what was known at the time as "Morality Training," a misnomer if ever there was one. They took 200 of us to the chapel, where we were met by some 30 or so representatives of various religious denominations. As each denomination was called out, people would go to those representatives. They even had a rep for Jehova's Witnesses, which was really odd. Finally, when the last denomination was called out, 199 bodies were sitting with their reps, and all were looking at the one body still sitting in the pews: Me. I said something to the effect of "Bite me," stretched out and started napping on the bench. I was joined later by one of the guys from my flight who said he was impressed with me sticking to my guns and not flinching like he had done. I told him that after years of similar treatment for being an atheist you tend to ignore the stupid fucks.

The fun didn't stop with Basic: At my prior permanent assignment, we were processing through Mobility for some exercise, and this was one of the only times I can recall that we had to hit every station, including the chaplain. (Our leadership at the time had apparently found God, and wanted everyone else to find Him as well. I found Him behind the sofa, hiding. Okay, bad joke.) Well, when the chaplain saw that my dogtags said "No Rel Pref," he knew it was code for "atheist." He then had the audacity to ask me if in the event of my demise I wished to be buried face up or face down. At that moment, I could not have cared less that he was a captain - hell, he could have been a general for all it mattered to me when he said that. I snatched my dogtags from him and said, "Neither, you bastard - I'm being cremated." Well, that had him gasping for some kind of response, and the first one I heard came not from him, but from his enlisted assistant who objected in the strongest terms what I had just called him. She got the message when I told her to shut the fuck up or I'd have her on charges as well.

For years I faced similar abuse, and for years I told people to shut the fuck up or else the military would have to court-martial whatever was left of their sorry ass once I was done kicking it. Only recently was I able to get my dogtags changed to "Pagan," because frankly I like fucking with chaplains' minds. But I will never forget the lesson that no matter how noble your actions are (in my case volunteering to fight for and defend my country from all enemies foreign and domestic for the last 19 years), there will always be intolerant assholes who can't see past their ignorance and try to shame you.

I've also learned that those people are generally the first to become cowards in the face of stiff resistance, either from me or from whatever enemy we may be facing. Funny how they seem to lose their convictions when they should be relying on them most.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. In 1967 I told them "Agnostic" & got "No Pref."
Eventually I had tags made that said "Buddhist." I think I still have one of the old Buddhist tags lying around somewhere.
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bigbillhaywood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. My mom was raised Catholic, became agnostic and married a Muslim
and she had "Jewish" on her dog tags! Apparently her best friend was Jewish, and she went to synagogue with her as a kid, and when she enlisted, her friend said she heard that if you were Jewish and they sent you overseas they had to station you at a post that had a Kosher mess-- so it was less likely you would get sent to the middle of nowhere.

It's really funny to look at the dog tags now, with a Muslim last name that say "Jewish" on them. I wonder if this qualifies me for Israeli right of return? Although I rather doubt they'd let in an Arab-American atheist Red.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. My son said he had to choose
for his dog tags. We're lapsed Presbyterians. He was concerned about his spelling so he wrote "Baptist". As a joke. He's very liberal and is voting for Kerry. He's in Viet Nam, now. Supposed to go to Baghdad later this month to prepare for the "transfer".
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. What are American soldiers doing in Vietnam now? (nt)
nt
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-04 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. wish I knew
he's on a trip which includes Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Thailand. He hasn't told us much. However, there's a very intriguing article by Robert D. Kaplan from The Atlantic Monthly which offers some insight into "setting up military missions throughout the formerly communist world, creating situations in which U.S. majors, lieutenant colonels, and full colonels are often advising foreign generals and chiefs of staff. Make no mistake: these officers are policymakers by another name." The article is actually from the July/August 2003 issue.
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Brother Buzz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-02-04 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
13. I had to go with "No Pref" because
Ned Ludd wasn't considered a savior by the military and they wouldn't let me use NOYGDB, Agnostic, or Stranger, either.
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libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-04 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
16. Mine said "PROT NO DENOM". The reason you choose is because
certain religions have customs dealing with the treatment of the corpse, such as ROM CATH last rites, etc.
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Rick in Maryland Donating Member (90 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-03-04 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
18. Yeah, but I always sellected Catholic. That way someone would at least
give me Last Rites. Otherwise, they might just leave me alone in a corner to die alone.
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