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View Full Version : What does the atheist symbol look like on military gravestones?


Splash
05-27-2006, 07:21 PM
According to this AP news item (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/3902942.html) . . .The Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration allows only approved emblems of religious beliefs on government headstones.

Over the years, it has approved more than 30, including symbols for the Tenrikyo Church, United Moravian Church and Sikhs. There is also one for atheists. . . .
What would the atheist symbol look like?

[No jokes please. Serious question about a dead relative.]

What Exit?
05-27-2006, 07:27 PM
Try this search link: http://images.google.com/images?q=atheist+symbol&hl=en

There are competing symbols. The IPU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn) is popular with many but when I was in the Navy, I was just NR (no Religion and no symbol)

Jim

LawMonkey
05-27-2006, 07:29 PM
According to this AP news item (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/3902942.html) What would the atheist symbol look like?

[No jokes please. Serious question about a dead relative.]

I believe there's a page on wikipedia about this somewhere, but I can't find it. Arlington Cemetery, however, has this page of authorized emblems (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/funeral_information/authorized_emblems.html), including the atheist emblem.

Hope that's of help, and condolences on your loss.

engineer_comp_geek
05-27-2006, 07:32 PM
It's on this page: http://www.cem.va.gov/hmemb.htm

This page has an explanation: http://www.uga.edu/bahai/2002/020815-1.html

The atheistic "atomic whirl" symbol was designed in 1963 as a way of "recognizing the new atomic era but emphasizing the truth of older scientific findings," explains Joe Zamecki, an employee of American Atheist, a national atheist organization.

Hogwash
05-27-2006, 07:33 PM
This (http://www.atheists.org/visitors.center/logo.html) gives more information about the American Atheism symbol.

want2know
05-27-2006, 07:45 PM
I believe there's a page on wikipedia about this somewhere, but I can't find it. Arlington Cemetery, however, has this page of authorized emblems (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/funeral_information/authorized_emblems.html), including the atheist emblem.

Hope that's of help, and condolences on your loss.
Interesting that they have one for Eckankar, but not Wicca. :dubious:
(Nothing against Eckankar; I just wasn't aware it was considered a "religion")

I noticed that the Christian Science and Muslim symbols are not shown on the Arlington list "because of copyright". Does that mean if you want it on your plaque or stone, you have to pay a royalty?

Beware of Doug
05-27-2006, 07:57 PM
I would think the tasteful thing would just be to have the emblem of the deceased's branch of service.

JRDelirious
05-27-2006, 08:38 PM
I noticed that the Christian Science and Muslim symbols are not shown on the Arlington list "because of copyright". Does that mean if you want it on your plaque or stone, you have to pay a royalty?
Probably there's already a rights agreement between VA and the appropriate religious organization for use of the symbol on grave markers, but VA does not want to pay a royalty for every hit on their webpage.

JRDelirious
05-27-2006, 08:41 PM
Looking at the Arlington page, I see that it's one specific Islamic emblem that's under copyright -- the more universally recognized crescent-and-star being available too.

Neidhart
05-28-2006, 02:28 PM
There's Eckankar, but no EST or Scientology?

(Is the Scientology emblem a copyrighted secret also?)

DanBlather
05-28-2006, 04:47 PM
There's Eckankar, but no EST or Scientology?

(Is the Scientology emblem a copyrighted secret also?)It's shown here (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media.urbandictionary.com/image/large/jumpthecouch-42392.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.urbandictionary.com/images.php%3Fimageid%3D42392&h=300&w=400&sz=23&tbnid=vMe4m453JnmvUM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=120&hl=en&start=5&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djumping%2Bon%2Bcouch%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN).

cerberus
05-28-2006, 05:14 PM
The basis for the Atomic symbol in atheism represents the idea that scientific or rational belief rules out any sort of belief in God. The American Atheists saw a strong emergence in the 1940s and 1950s, and got much attention and validation when Madelyn Murray O'Hair's SCOTUS case caught national media scrutiny.

[Off-topic Aside]The VA's policies on approved symbols is somewhat arbitrary, in the case of Wicca, symbols are denied. I find it odd that one can have have a serious non-bleief in God symbolized, but not a sincere belief in Wicca.[/OTA]

As for using the branch of service as a symbol for no religious preference, branch of service is always indicated on the headstone/marker.

Excalibre
05-28-2006, 06:56 PM
I would think the tasteful thing would just be to have the emblem of the deceased's branch of service.
I certainly wouldn't choose to have a symbol of an organization of atheists on my gravestone, even though I'm not religious. However, I fail to see how it's any less "tasteful" than having a religious symbol.

astro
05-28-2006, 09:40 PM
Here lies the grave of Radioactive Man (http://supak.com/simpsons/Radioactive_Man_Number_One_v_1024.jpg)

scm1001
05-29-2006, 05:51 AM
as an atheist I would prefer no symbol on my grave, reflecting my belief that after death there is nothing.

FlyingRamenMonster
05-29-2006, 08:15 AM
I wouldn't mind an atheist symbol on my grave, if it didn't look so stupid. That symbol doesn't say "atheist" to me, it says "Here lies FlyingRamenMonster, entombed in lead, may her putrifying corpse continue to emit protons for 20 000 years or more."

Sal Ammoniac
05-29-2006, 08:35 AM
I'd love to see a statistical breakdown of the tombs at Arlington, according to which symbol they sport. I'm probably asking for the moon, though...

Neidhart
05-31-2006, 11:20 AM
Yeah, I'm really wondering if any of those symbols adorn exactly one grave.

Or if any have never yet been used.

Kimstu
05-31-2006, 11:38 AM
as an atheist I would prefer no symbol on my grave, reflecting my belief that after death there is nothing.

I agree. I think if you're going to put emblems of religious belief on gravestones, then the obvious choice to represent atheism would be the absence of any emblem.

That isn't what that dorky-looking Bohr-atom design (#16 in the linked list) implies, as far as I'm concerned. If it symbolizes anything, it symbolizes "scientific materialism", which is not necessarily the same thing as atheism. I note that there's also a so-called "humanist emblem of spirit" (#32), which some atheists might prefer to the atom thingy.

But is it even possible to get a VA gravestone without any "faith emblem"? The example of the bronze marker on this page of samples (http://www.cem.va.gov/hmtype.htm) seems to indicate that it is. (We got a VA headstone for my dad back in 1980 but Mom picked the Star of David emblem for it.)

Okay, I just downloaded the VA grave-marker application form from that site (http://www.cem.va.gov/hm.htm) and looked at it, and yes, there is a checkbox for "None" in the "Desired Emblem of Belief" category. So if you don't have a religious faith or just don't want to advertise it on your gravestone, you can indeed get a VA marker without any emblem.

Sorry to hear about your relative, Splash.