Huh. On the way home from work I learned that a) there are only certain symbols that are approved to be etched on the tombstones of soldiers killed in the line of duty (which applies, I would assume, only if the solider wants to be be buried with a government headstone), b) that Mjolnir is one of these approved “emblems of belief” and c) that there are symbols for atheists and humanists on the list.
Here’s the link from PRI’s The World if you want to listen to the story:
While I was doing some digging for this post, I learned that Americans United for Separation of Church and State played a part in gaining equal religious representation on government headstones, and participated in the fight to allow a Wiccan pentacle to be placed on the gravestone of Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
Pheonix News Times Blogs reported about Arizona Representative Juan Mendez‘s secular humanist delivery during today’s opening session:
Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads,” Mendez said. “I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.
A visible atheist in Arizona politics??? A visible atheist in American politics??? Praise FSM!
He also quoted Carl Sagan’s “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”
Thank you to Rep. Mendez from this secular humanist atheist. Thank you for the god-free invocation, for being a role-model for other politicians who might wish to be more open about their lack of religion but who feel unable to do so in our current religulous political climate, and for upholding the constitution of the United States.
If you feel like thanking Representative Juan Mendez for his support and representation, his email is [email protected]