Atheist Jason Torpy Equates Himself with Abolitionists
Jason Torpy, the one-man Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, is an atheist and former Army officer. While his MAAF is ostensibly a “community support network,” he recently revealed the true motivation behind his ideology.
In a recent display of internet frustration, Torpy took fellow atheists to task for not banding together and being “anti-” enough. The context was a comment that people don’t join groups for things they don’t believe in, spoken by Neil deGrasse Tyson, a self-described agnostic (who says he is “often claimed by atheists”):
Do non-golf players gather and strategize? Do non-skiers…come together and talk about the fact that they don’t ski? I can’t do that. I can’t gather around and talk about how much everybody in the room doesn’t believe in God.
This is the same point raised by many people for precisely the same reason, including here, and when military atheists have demanded “equal” representation in the chaplaincy (for the apparent intent of being anti-religious). Atheists demanding the government provide them with a “religious” leader is like non-soccer players demanding a school provide them with a non-soccer coach. Even atheists’ own pithy retorts — used when critics accuse them of acting like a “religion” — work against them.
- Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color? Asking for an atheist chaplain is like a bald man demanding a barber.
- Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position? Asking for an atheist chaplain is like an abstinent person demanding Viagra.
Well, you get the idea, anyway.
The point is Jason Torpy took serious issue with this position when he said:
All this ‘non-skiers’ crap is nonsense. Abolitionists came together and talked about how much they ‘didn’t believe’ in slavery.
The irony of Torpy comparing himself to a movement largely motivated by its Christian faith is probably lost on him. That aside, his logic is a farce. Abolitionists didn’t come together to talk about their lack of belief in slavery; they were motivated by their belief in the evil of slavery and their opposition to it. But Torpy’s next sentence was most revealing [emphasis added]:
It’s necessary to come together as a group and be an anti-something when ‘something’ needs a group of people to come toegether against it. [sic]
And there’s the revelation. Jason Torpy isn’t an atheist; or, at least, he’s not only an atheist. He’s an anti-theist. Many have said that some atheists spend an awful lot of time hating on something (“bullying” would be the term in vogue) they don’t believe in; Torpy solidifies the point by demonstrating he’s actually anti-religion, not merely areligious.
More importantly, he clearly states his belief that his fellow “atheists” need to “come together against” religion. As a former soldier who targets the military with his ideology, Jason Torpy isn’t advocating the virtue of reason; he’s proactively opposing religion.
- When he demands the removal of a war memorial cross at Camp Pendleton, it’s because he’s vehemently opposed to religion in general, not just the presence of a cross on government land.
- When he “needles” the Air Force until it removes the Latin word for “god” from a unit patch, it’s because he’s actively working against anything related to “god,” even the non-deific use of the word.
- When he complains about the presence of nightstand Gideon Bibles in Air Force Inns, it’s not because of some Constitutional issue — it’s because he’s “against” anything religious — and the Bible, well…
If ever there was doubt that Jason Torpy — the “president” of his MAAF — was “anti-religion,” as opposed to just an “atheist” wanting to be treated consistently with his “faith,” he’s just removed it.
By his own admission, Jason Torpy is not an advocate for atheism; he’s a political activist against religion.
His attacks, however, rate high on the irony scale. As an American citizen, he’s free to evangelize his beliefs and convert as many people as he wants. However, when he tries to use the state to accomplish targeted government actions based purely on religious belief, his actions are contrary to the US Constitution. His actions neither defend religious freedom nor promote free exercise.
Just like the examples above, when Jason Torpy demanded the cross be torn out of Arlington National Cemetery — something so extreme even the ACLU doesn’t agree — his demand had no neutral or secular purpose; it was only because of his opposition to its association with religion. Getting the government to take action based on religious belief is precisely what many of his fellow atheists claim they are trying to prevent the US government from doing.
To be fair, then, Torpy’s analogy of abolitionists may not have been too far from the mark. He, too, seeks abolition, with one minor difference: he seeks the abolition of a constitutionally-protected human liberty.
To his credit, at least Jason Torpy hasn’t hidden behind semantics in the name of his organization, which is named as a group of atheists. On the other hand, Michael Weinstein and his “Religious Freedom” foundation have not only failed to defend religious freedom, Weinstein has actually explicitly opposed religious freedom and raised money at its expense, despite his repeated claims to the contrary.