Religion in Society
Religion in Society

Atheists Applaud Obama for Including Them in Fort Hood Speech

| by American Atheists
THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT!
ATHEISTS PRAISE PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR INCLUDING NONBELIEVERS IN MESSAGE
ABOUT FT. HOOD TRAGEDY...

An Atheist civil rights group today praised President Obama for including "nonbelievers" in a broadcast thanking a diverse group of Americans serving in our nation's military.

In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama discussed the tragedy at Ft. Hood and praised the actions of soldiers who quickly came to the aid of victims. The president cited the diversity of the armed forces, saying "They are Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers."

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, praised Mr. Obama for reaching out.

"Nonbelievers go by a variety of labels -- Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Rationalists -- and we make up more than 15% of the population. We thank the president for including us in the diverse population that is the people of the United States. We appreciate the fact that President Obama has acknowledged what we have always known: Of course there are Atheists in foxholes, and there are and always have been men and women who have worn the uniform of this nation and have served with courage in the military and in many other ways."

Buckner added that according to surveys, the number of "seculars," i.e., nonreligious people is growing, and that Atheists constitute a solid support group for Mr. Obama.

Kathleen Johnson, Military Director for American Atheists, and a civilian employee at Ft. Hood said that Mr. Obama's address shows that he is solidly behind efforts to end any religion-based harassment in the military.

"There have been serious problems in the past with religious proselytizing, mostly Christian fundamentalists," said Ms. Johnson. "The tragedy of Ft. Hood claimed soldiers regardless of what they believe in respect to religion, though. Our armed forces -- at all levels -- need to be united. It's good to know that our Commander-in-Chief shares that vision."