atheist military burials
August 18, 2006 11:19 AM   Subscribe

What symbol do military burial sites use for atheists?

I've seen military burial sites as vast fields of white crosses with a few Stars of David, but not much else. How are other afterlife philosophies represented, particularly atheism?

I found an official page of symbols, but it doesn't show how these symbols look in the ground in reality.
posted by deep_sea_diving_suit to Religion & Philosophy (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My grandparents are both buried at Arlington National Cemetery. They use the atomic symbol for Athiest. The grave stones are rectangular with the symbol inscribed on it.

The list for Arlington is here.
posted by peppermint22 at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2006


See here also
posted by Carbolic at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2006


See this photo for an example headstone.
posted by peppermint22 at 11:39 AM on August 18, 2006


More about the symbol. The A stands for American.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2006


Wow, great question, great answers, I'm going to be reading wikipedia all day now reading about those religions.
posted by empath at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2006


Until fairly recently, if you didn't specify a religion you were buried under a cross. That included atheists.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:19 PM on August 18, 2006


this is kind of tangential, but for anybody interested in this topic who's not aware, there's a big hubbub going on right now because there is no wiccan/neopagan symbol and the government refuses to authorize one. apparently there are lots of pagans in the military, surely more than there are of some of the very unusual or specific groups on that list.
posted by lgyre at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2006


I must say I'm disappointed there's no Scientology space ship, though.
posted by Gucky at 12:29 PM on August 18, 2006


Not shown because of copyrights?
posted by popcassady at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2006



posted by popcassady at 12:54 PM on August 18, 2006


Thanks for the answers.

As opposed to headstones, are there any other "physical" representations of atheist symbols (or other "unpopular" philosophies), similar to these crosses?
posted by deep_sea_diving_suit at 1:04 PM on August 18, 2006


Do I have to choose a religion? What about us agnostics? Can I just have a question mark?
posted by randomination at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2006 [2 favorites]


I would think that atheists would not want any symbol. The symbol implies an organization that you are a member of and most atheists are not members of atheist organizations.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2006


Great question, and great answers!
MSN - That reminds me of a quote (even seen on MeFi); "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby".
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 2:07 PM on August 18, 2006


That particular symbol is associated with the American Atheists (if not directly "owned" by them), and many atheists consider them a bunch of kooks who give the rest of us a bad name. I wouldn't want that symbol on my grave. Is there an option for no symbol?

The implication is that atheism is a religion, or has something to do with the way we think about death and/or the after life, which is not the case for everyone.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 2:29 PM on August 18, 2006


Not shown because of copyrights?

Hm, I thought this was a joke, until I scrolled to the bottom and saw
"97
CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST (Cross & Crown) Not shown because of copyrights.


(but we all know Christian Scientists are different than Scientologists, right?)
posted by muddgirl at 2:46 PM on August 18, 2006


I'm not too enamored of that atomic symbol. I'd almost prefer the Darwin fish.
posted by matildaben at 3:00 PM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


I love the atomic symbol. As a Christian geek, I wonder if I could get a little cross circling around the 'A' instead of a dot.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:21 PM on August 18, 2006


That open orbital forms an "A" to represent Atheism. The small letter in the center represents of the first letter of the country in which an affiliated group is located. In our case, the "A" signifies American, and the symbol thus represents American Atheists.


You know what?
To me, it's the 'a' that means atheist. If I can't find a Uk equivalent, it'll do for me.

I like it.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:46 PM on August 18, 2006


There's also the Invisible Pink Unicorn,* apparently a web precursor of our pal FSM. (Image of IPU in all her wan glory, although I also like her emblem).
*"Blessed be her holy hooves."
posted by rob511 at 5:48 PM on August 18, 2006


They should totally have the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What the hell would be the symbol for that?
posted by sperose at 6:11 PM on August 18, 2006


Jedi?
posted by baylink at 8:44 PM on August 18, 2006


I would think that atheists would not want any symbol. The symbol implies an organization that you are a member of and most atheists are not members of atheist organizations.

Exact-a-fuckin-mundo, MSN.

I looked at the page you referenced, d_s_d_s, and it's pretty annoying that the Feds have chosen a symbol for all athiests. It's like them deciding that anorexic's fave food is vanilla pudding, much like ORM's stamp non-collectors.

"Hi, I'm here to pick out my Dad's headstone."

"Great, what religion was he?"

"Well, he didn't have one."

"No problem, we'll give him this American Athiests one."

"Um, he wasn't a member of American Athiests, in fact, I don't think he'd ever heard of it?!?!"

"I'll put him down as Unitarian. NEXT!"
posted by popechunk at 8:57 PM on August 18, 2006


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