Monday, May 27, 2002
"No atheists in foxholes." As much as I appreciate where I think TAPPED is coming from in its entry regarding the "there are no atheists in foxholes" quotation, I think TAPPED is confused.

"There are no atheists in foxholes" doesn't mean, as TAPPED would interpret it, that "only those possessed of deep religious beliefs are capable laying down their lives for their country." What "there are no atheists in foxholes" means is that when you're scared shitless, you start praying to something whether or not you believe in God or not. It has nothing to do with atheists being to afraid to sacrifice their lives for their country: it has to do with the same kind of gut reaction that leads people to pee their pants when they're afraid. As likely as not, it's something believers tell themselves to feel good about their belief, not an accurate representation of reality. But it never occurred to me that it meant that atheists were incapable of patriotism.

I've watched the more outspokenly Christian among us in their response to the September 11 attacks. "In God We Trust" may be a national motto that's been in use since the founding of the Republic, but it shouldn't be used to bludgeon those who don't believe. Like TAPPED points out, plenty of atheists have died for this country, for the right of people of whatever beliefs to exercise those beliefs. Or not. I'd love to see an "Another Atheist Willing to Die for Your Right to Believe in God" bumper sticker. Sure, it's a bit long, but...

To interpret "no atheists in foxholes" as an indictment of atheists' patriotism seems completely off the mark. I'm surprised that TAPPED took that tack, instead of simply pointing out what the quotation really -- okay, more likely -- means.