I am a veteran. I am also an atheist. I had the honor to serve with both, along with those who believe in Gods, gays who weren’t asked and didn’t tell, women, minorities, the handicapped, even citizens of other countries who served on behalf of their adopted home. Most of them served with distinction and some of them made the ultimate sacrifice. These days, they all volunteer. The military, like the civilian world, is everyone.
American divisiveness is a special breed of cat. American-style democracy is an anomaly in the world and so is the American way of trying to bridge divisions to balance the needs of the many and the few.
Sometimes this is a knee-jerk, willful, or greatly misguided bunk — as in former House Speaker Tom DeLay’s contention that, “We stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.” Sometimes it is a matter of forcing opinions on your opposition — like Richard Dawkins’ claim that, “What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That’s child abuse.”
America’s politicians are engaged in internecine warfare, but there is a far larger and equally destructive religious war going on. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction in religion. Christians build ostentatious monuments to the Ten Commandments so Satanists want their due. If the Christians and Satanists get their statues the Hindus and Atheists want theirs.
This tit for tat generally infuriates Christians, particularly evangelicals, because they see it as an innocent act that no one should object to. After all, the vast majority of Americans are Christians and most evangelicals see their place as an unquestionable birthright. Non-Christians think this is an improper and illegal affront to their views. They both have points.