Hello everybody, I'm Ron! I'd like to start with a brief introduction of my background. I'm currently serving active duty in the U.S. Army. I joined in July of 2003 and have deployed to Iraq twice. I'm currently on my way out the door again to Afghanistan. Religion never played a huge role in my family life growing up and at a very young age I started to question the belief in a god. While I identify myself as an Atheist it hasn't been until recently that I have started to really speak on this topic. I, along with countless others in the population just never saw the need to discuss religious beliefs. It just wasn't that important to me. Live and let live was my philosophy on the subject. Theists have their opinion and I have mine and so long as their opinions don't effect me than they are free to express their opinions as they see fit. The problem, however, is that religious opinions do, in fact, effect me as well as every other American. I never really paid much mind to it. My eyes have been opened to the issues of religion plaguing our government and it's policies. I feel this need to speak my mind and express my opinions on this fact. It started a couple of months back when I received an annual Equal Opportunity briefing that is mandatory in the military. One of the topics was specifically on religious freedom. The main focus of this briefing was geared toward leaders ensuring they afford the opportunities for their soldiers to practice their religion while we are deployed in a combat environment. Nothing wrong with that, but the briefing quickly shifted toward respecting other's religious beliefs. The part of this briefing that struck out at me was being told that it was wrong and that I could be punished for speaking out against someone else's religious views. It was at that moment I realized that I could no longer be so passive in my atheist views. The idea that someone of religious faith could express their views in the form of a simple comment such as "I'll pray for you" and not be reprimanded for it but if I were to make a comment such as "I don't believe your god exists" I could be punished for an EO violation was appalling. It was that moment that I decided that atheists need to stop being passive and fight for religious freedom.
While I would like to see religion, as a whole, eradicated from human existence, I will not advocate outlawing/banning religion. I feel if you wish to believe in a higher power that is your right. However, I also believe religion should be a private matter and left at that. My activism comes not in the form of eradicating religion from humanity, but from eradicating it from our government. A separation between church and state is necessary for the equal rights of everybody, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. In any public institution religion should not be a topic of discussion. We shouldn't have court cases about the legality of allowing the Pledge of Allegiance in schools or nativity scenes outside of court houses. It should be as cut and dry as keeping religion out of public institutions, period.
I decided to start this blog because I want to speak out on these types of topics. I would like to share my opinions and beliefs on them as well. I guess at this point I should also include the clause that all opinions expressed in this blog are that of my own and in know way express the opinions of the United States Army (my fellow soldiers will understand why this is necessary). I have no particular structure as to how I will conduct this blog yet. I'm sure one will evolve as it progresses but as of right now I'm going to simply use this medium to express my thoughts and opinions as they come to me. I've already got a few topics I want to touch on here in the near future so expect more to come soon.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will stay tuned for more to come.