Meet a foxhole atheist: Ken Lynn

Name: Ken Lynn.

Where I live: Fleetwood, N.C.

Where and when I was born: Jacksonville, Fla., in 1959, reared in Greer, S.C.

Family: Monica, my wife (also an FFRF member), and Tank, our English bulldog.

Education: B.S. in recreation and park administration, Clemson University; M.S. in international relations, Troy State University; M.S. in national resource strategy, National Defense University.

Professional military education: Marine Corps Command and Staff College, U.S. Air Force Squadron Officer School, USAF Air Command and Staff College, USAF Air War College.

Occupation: Online adjunct instructor with the USAF Air University’s Air Command and Staff College graduate program. Areas of expertise are airpower studies, warfare studies and leadership and command.

Military service: 26 years in the USAF (1981–2007), retiring at the rank of colonel.
How I got where I am today: Great parents, hard work and a commitment to public service.

Where I’m headed: Many will say I’m headed for hell, but I know it doesn’t exist.
Person in history I admire: Benjamin Franklin for his wit, intellect and many contributions to humankind.

Quotations I like: “The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.” (Robert Green Ingersoll) “The United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

These are a few of my favorite things: America’s active-duty troops and veterans, long-distance bicycle riding, caffeine-free Diet Mountain Dew, classic rock music.

These are not: Writers who confuse plural/possessive punctuation, politicians who use elected office to advance their personal religious beliefs, squash and beets.

My doubts about religion started: Very early. When I was a kid, my dentist had a children’s bible in the waiting room. Once I read the story of Abraham binding his son Isaac for sacrifice, I developed serious doubts about religion. I knew my dad would never do that to me, and it was my first real critical thinking experience.

Before I die: I’d like for Bojangles’ restaurants, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., to respond to my many letters asking about the proselytizing that’s occurring in some franchised restaurants. Can’t I get my “Bo-to-Go” without religion being involved?

Ways I promote freethought: Rather than promote freethought directly, I focus on church/state separation. In the military, I led and followed people of all beliefs, and I respect a person’s right to believe whatever they choose. I promote church/state separation through opinion and other types of writing, modest philanthropy and with membership in organizations that advocate for separation.

I wish you had asked me: Are there really atheists in foxholes? Yes, they’re in foxholes, in aircraft cockpits, on ships, inside tanks and working in every military career field with the exception of the Chaplain Corps. However, we’re working on getting the first secular humanist chaplain in the Navy right now, although it’s requiring a lawsuit. Atheists have honorably served in the U.S. military since the Continental Army.

Freedom From Religion Foundation