Military Atheists Defend Camp Quest July 29, 2007

Military Atheists Defend Camp Quest

A couple weeks ago, this letter-to-the-editor appeared in the military publication Stars and Stripes. It referred to an article on Camp Quest, the summer camp for children of atheist parents:

The author of the article seems to be overjoyed and ecstatic about young teenagers being at a summer camp where the existence of God is happily denied and refuted, speaking of a revival of atheism and Camp Quest (the name of the summer camp) being a training ground for the atheist movement. How sad to see yet another example of God being kicked out and pushed aside in our society, and young kids being taught — or, in my opinion, brainwashed — to do it.

I wonder how long it will be before America becomes a completely secular society when I see and read things like the Camp Quest article. We already have people fighting daily to remove God from our money, the Pledge of Allegiance and more. As one girl who was quoted in the article stated, “This year, I stopped getting up and saying the pledge,” because it includes the words “under God” in it.

Like it or not, our nation was founded under God, upon Christian principles and values, and yet it seems people, such as the ones who founded Camp Quest, continue to ignore and defy it and encourage others to do the same. It seems to me a nation that forgets what made it great is destined to fail.

Obviously, he’s ignorant on many levels.

But this will make you happy. A couple military men wrote in to correct his mistakes. Here’s Staff Sgt. Gene Horrigan:

… Our nation was not “founded under God, upon Christian principles.” The first settlers of the new world were seeking, among other things, escape from religious persecution, not to form a faith-based colony. As Americans, we are granted the freedom of religion, which includes not having one, not the freedom to choose which form of Christianity we follow.

I highly doubt any of the children at Camp Quest would be chastised if they thought a higher power might exist. On the other hand, what would happen if a child at a Christian retreat voiced doubt that Jesus was the son of God?

Atheists come from every walk of life and many are educated about several faiths. As a child I was fortunate enough to be allowed to attend many churches. By the third grade I knew there was no God, and still educated myself by attending a variety of services. This is common with a lot of atheists. Many people force their children into the family religion and shun other beliefs, that’s the true “brainwashing.”

There is no atheist revival, we’ve always been here as a silent minority, most just choose to live their own lives and let you live yours.

And here’s Spc. Jeremy Hall:

… Since America is a Christian nation, I guess everyone else is just second-rate! Sorry (insert religious minority here), you’re not good enough. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a mention of a God. Religion is referenced as exclusionary. Such as stating that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” (Article VI) That sounds secular to me.

The U.S. is a free nation. The First Amendment applies to every private citizen. And that includes us atheists. It is the individual freedoms that make our nation great.

Thankfully, they’re not the only atheists who serve our country.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Stars and Stripes, Camp Quest, God, Christian, Gene Horrigan, Jesus, Jeremy Hall, First Amendment[/tags]

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  • Huw

    Hi –

    I agree 100% that this is not a Christian nation… for which I’m very thankful to our founders.

    But Gene Horrigan needs to read up on some history… “The first settlers of the new world were seeking, among other things, escape from religious persecution, not to form a faith-based colony.” This is only half true: they were fleeing religious persecution, yes – but almost all colonies established in the New World were set up with religious bias already built in. Most of them started persecuting other religions almost as soon as they got here.

    The Puritans started a near-theocracy in Massachusetts Bay, Jamestown was as Anglican as they come, the oldest city in the New World, St Augustine, was named for a Roman Catholic Saint, Pennsylvania was for Quakers, Maryland for Catholics, etc…

    Again, we’re not a Christian nation, but that’s because our Founders had the good sense to secularise public life and redirect certain sectarian impulses for the greater unity of the new country. This is how the nation that Jeremy Hall lampoons was avoided (at least on paper… we need to avoid it daily in real life, of course).

  • It warms my heart that this kind of conversation takes place inside of “Stars and Stripes”. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

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