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To my fellow vets: I know many of you may have served before you deconverted, and even if you were an atheist when you served, the military isn't very accepting of nonbelievers. My question is: What did you put as religious preference on your dog tags?

Mine said Methodist, because I had never really given any thought to religion, never gone to church, and just picked what was printed on my father's ID tags.

JimG 8 Mar 21

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I was in the Air Force and didn't have a dog tag, The subject of religion didn't come up one time in the four years I was in.


Mine said protestant. So I continue this day, protesting.


I said no preference, they stamped baptist on them. I didn't care because I did say no preference (1982).

That's not surprising.


Mine said "no pref" I believe that was really the only option. (Went in in 1999) I would rather it said none or not even been on there. The guy looked at me weird when I told him what to put down but didn't say anything.

Remi Level 7 Mar 22, 2018


You might find this bit about the VFW of some interest:


That is disappointing.


I was an atheist before I joined the military, but sadly I was afraid of that causing an issue with my service. I put catholic on my dogtags just to avoid the issue.

So, even though you felt confident in your lack of faith, would you say you weren’t yet confident in your conviction?

If anything, I think it was more fear. Fear of being ostracized. Fear of not being promoted. Fear of family reaction. Etc.


My dog tags say NORELPREF. Still, have at least one of them anyway.


I can't remember what was on my dog tags. One thing I can remember was the "character guidance sessions" we had in my unit at the US Army Hospital Berlin every Teusday afternoon that every enlisted man had to attend. Some chaplain would ask some sterotypical religious/ patriotic question and expect stock responses.Several of us (all bright, iconoclastic and verbal) would give anwers that were not expected and support each other in building a chain of logic. We would tie the chplain and several of the NCOs in knots until they would start yelling and screaming. When they did, we would just grin and get quiet, knowing that we had won.


Thankfully the Air Force has been accepting of my being Athiest. My records and dog tags lable me as atheist. I was able to attend a secular/humanist “church” in basic. And most of my co workers don't mistreat me for my beliefs. I say most because I can't tell if the others dislike me or if they are just hateful people.

In my army basic we were given the option of church or chores. ?


I doubt I can even find my old dog tags. I have no idea what they said. I joined in 1976, like a whole 'nother lifetime ago (or two)


I’m an atheist/Humanist. I put Humanist, because the American Humanist Association was fighting a legal battle to allow Humanist chaplains in the military. I’d be fine with having Atheist otherwise.

Marz Level 7 Mar 21, 2018
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