book of hate mail

Dear Bonnie and Mikey,

I’ve just read the Valerie Tarico article in about your collection of hate mail.
I’m not surprised. I was born into a fundamentalist christian family.
My years in service, during the cold-war years of the 80’s, was, thankfully, mostly spent in (then) West Germany. During that time I was very open to friendships with local Germans and through them was introduced to so many other perspectives on economics, politics, humanity and religion. I benefited greatly from those experiences and they helped me to form, what I believe to be, a less naive and more humane world view which included an ability to confront my life-long doubts about the religion of my youth and to embrace my new-found atheism.
At that time, I felt an unbelievable sense of relief, having been freed from the “devils” of my cognitive-dissonance brought about by my former faith. Feeling so renewed I wanted to cement my clean break and declare my new absence of faith in magic – so I requested to make a change to my religious status to Atheism. This was a choice that was neither available nor allowed. The best I could get was a status of “No Pref.” In disappointment I took it upon myself to engrave my dog tags with the words “Do Not Pray For Me.” I was told by my Platoon Leader that I would probably face disciplinary action if I opted to engrave “Atheist”, so this, at the time, was another less-than-acceptable compromise.
Having shared this with you, I want to conclude with a few kind words and say that your efforts are very much appreciated and, I believe, brings to light the necessity for our military forces to move into alignment with our Constitution, unburdened by the dangerous meta-mission of faith-based mythologies.
Without doubt, I’m sure the existence of MRFF provides many of our brothers and sisters much needed support and validation.
For this, I thank you.
With Kindest Regards,
(name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),
I’m turned atheist after my brief military experience, too!  In my case, it was because of religious persecution which included being ousted for being the wrong religion, but that was before MRFF existed — but just under a year, darn it all!  Anyway, Mikey shared your email with me, and since he and Bonnie are so busy protecting our military members, I hope you won’t mind my writing to thank you.  Your email reached them both, plus MRFF staff and volunteer workers, too.  It’s so appreciated, especially after the thousands of hateful ones that have come in, from which Bonnie had to choose for her book!
Our thanks, also, to Valerie, one of the earliest and strongest of MRFF supporters, for her wonderful and well-reasoned article!

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