Conflict & Justice

US military hosts atheist event, Rock Beyond Belief, at Fort Bragg


Troops from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, arrive a year-long deployment in Afghanistan, at Pope Air Force base March 16, 2010 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


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The US military has hosted its first-ever event for atheists.

The Rock Beyond Belief concert at Fort Bragg was held Saturday for soldiers and others on the base who don't believe in God, the Associated Press reported. It was aimed at showing soldiers without religious beliefs that they have a place in the military.

The event "is the most visible sign so far of a growing desire by military personnel with atheist or other secular beliefs to get the same recognition as their religious counterparts," the AP said.

There were carnival snacks, games for children and a festival atmosphere.

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According to the AP, atheist and secularist soldiers at Fort Bragg have been trying for more than a year to be recognized as a "distinctive faith group," which would allow them to hold meetings at facilities on the base.

The Reason Rally in Washington, DC last weekend drew thousands of atheists, agnostics and secularists. The rally, dubbed "Woodstock for Atheists," was a "coming-out" party for those who don't follow any religion, according to Agence France-Presse.

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