Tag Archives: argonne

Atheists Broaden Attacks on Military Memorials

An atheist thinks this is an illegal “Christian shrine.”

Multiple military war memorials are now under attack by atheists who consider the presence of a Christian cross offensive.

Former soldier and current atheist Jason Torpy, the one-man association of military atheists (MAAF), has previously lodged complaints with the US Marines over the Camp Pendleton cross (which has yet to be resolved).  He is opposed to the cross in Arlington National Cemetery for the same reason.

This follows the national trend of several activist organizations that have been threatening cities and towns with lawsuits if they fail to remove memorials which contain Continue reading

Ranger Memorial Cross May Be Next Atheist Target

Jason Torpy, the former Army soldier and atheist vicariously offended when he saw the Camp Pendleton cross on the internet, may have another target.

As noted previously, crosses are used frequently in US military memorials around the world.  Torpy has already demanded that the Argonne Cross be removed from Arlington National Cemetery, and that the US Marine Corps remove locally raised crosses on Camp Pendleton — something he only knew about because he read a local (positive) news article.

Now, another memorial may face the same atheist anger.  Four US Army Ranger trainees lost their lives in a training incident nearly 20 years ago, and their fellow soldiers remember them:

On Feb. 16, 1995, four young men training to become a part of the elite military force died of hypothermia after a river rose rapidly and flooded a swamp they were training in during a mission.

A modest wooden cross marks the spot…

Photo credit: DEVON RAVINE \ Daily News

Rangers make an annual trek to the location:    Continue reading

Buddhist Shrine to be Removed from National Park

Local Albuquerque papers noted that a Buddhist stupa was going to be removed from New Mexico’s Petroglyph National Monument because it was unconstitutional:

The National Park Service said Monday that park service will remove the ten-foot structure containing Buddhist relics from the park this week after getting an opinion from the Department of Interior’s solicitor general. The solicitor general ruled last month that keeping the Buddhist stupa violates the Constitution on established religion.

The story of the stupa is somewhat complex, as the NPS “bought” the stupa when it gained possession of the land from the original owners (after a legal battle) in the 1990s.  The Park Service didn’t raise the monument, nor does it Continue reading

Military Chaplains Serve, Suffer, Innovate

A few recent articles highlight the service of US military chaplains around the globe, doing far more than the stereotypical Sunday morning chapel service:

As the Army begins to open certain career fields to women, chaplains are affected:  The 101st Airborne just received its first female chaplain in Chaplain (Capt) Delana Small.  In so doing, she became a part of the “legendary Band of Brothers.”  Her assignment was a result of the Department of Defense “Women in the Service Review.”  The DoD article is full of praise for the new chaplain.


In Africa, US chaplains met with their military counterparts from nine East African nations for the “third annual…African Military Chaplain Conference” in Djibouti.

While Africa isn’t in the news too much, save a few isolated mentions, it is noteworthy that US military chaplains are engaging at the rate they have.


Another article covers the touching, yet surprising, story of the service of military chaplains at Arlington National Cemetery:

Led by senior chaplains Continue reading

Atheist Wants Cross Removed from Arlington, a Sacred Shrine

Atheist Jason Torpy tilted the irony meter recently when he touted his recent visit to Arlington National Cemetery

The event provided the opportunity to remember the service of all those hundreds of thousands at Arlington Cemetery, our nation’s most sacred shrine.

The atheist considers Arlington so “sacred,” in fact, he thinks the government should yank the crosses out of it – something even the ACLU doesn’t advocate.

Campaign Begins to Protect Memorial Crosses

The Liberty Institute launched a campaign called “Don’t Tear Me Down” aimed at protecting military memorials.  (While the push is new, the effort has been ongoing for some time.) The effort is initially focused on the Mount Soledad cross, but they accurately note the attacks on memorials could have a far wider impact:

“The ACLU is so driven to purge religious displays from the public Continue reading

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  Continue reading

Military Atheist Calls for Removal of Arlington Cross

After being repeatedly called out for decrying one cross and not others, atheist and former Army Captain Jason Torpy, of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, finally addressed the “controversial” issue of Arlington National Cemetery:

Other memorials are biased toward Christianity and ought properly to be removed to private property.  The Camp Pendleton cross is just one of many…

The Argonne Cross at Arlington, a 1921 monument erected “In memory of our men in France” also excludes all non-Christians.  This cross now memorializes a time when our military had nearly no recognition for anyone not Christian and was segregated by both race and gender…

In deciding to include the Argonne Cross with others “to be removed,” this initially seems like an opportunity to applaud Torpy’s intellectual Continue reading

Atheists Object to Camp Pendleton Cross

Update:  FoxNews reports on the “investigation” of the cross.  The ACLJ has written a letter to Camp Pendleton explaining the appropriateness — and Constitutionality — of allowing the cross to remain.  They, too, highlight the Argonne cross in Arlington mentioned below.  In reference to the Utah trooper crosses mentioned below, the Highway Patrol logo has been stripped from the crosses and a disclaimer has been added in a bid to avoid their court-ordered removal.


It didn’t take long:  When Jason Torpy of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers saw the LA Times report on the Camp Pendleton cross, he was quick to call it

a “wonderful gesture” in remembrance of the fallen Marines, but said its location on public land “makes us feel like the federal government privileges Christianity over non-Christians like us, makes us feel like second-class citizens…”

[T]heir desire to erect a large cross to honor their memory is perfectly acceptable, so long as it is on church land or their own property, not on federal land.

Further, Torpy claims the Marines’ cross is an intentional effort to by the government to afford preference to Christianity:

Military service is being exploited Continue reading