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Are you or your DH an atheist in the military?
February 3, 2013 at 4:25 AM


Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force… You can now put ATHEIST on your records all by yourself, in just a few clicks online.

Army: Walk in to your unit’s S-1 office. Ask them to update your ERB or ORB. Tell them you want to fix your religious preference. Tell them you want “ATHEIST”. If they say anything about it not being an option, calmly explain that they are mistaken, and to check the list (it’s alphabetical for them.)

If  you still need more ‘proof’, here is the regulation: AR 680-29 (page 41). I made a cheat sheet for you.

Bonus cheat sheet DoDI 1300.18(enclosure 7 – not attached in every online version.) Applies to all branches.

Navy:  You can update your Page 2 online: CAC login, non-email. –>Update Personal Information –> Religion, Race and Ethnic Code ZA for Atheist (thanks silentsacrifice!)

Marine Corps: You can update your records online directly from the MOL: (

Air Force: Go to the Virtual MPF online through the Air Force Portal (  Once logged in to VMPF, select VRed, update religious preference. Keep in mind, you can walk into the S-1 and they will do this if all else fails. (thanks Timothy!)

Coast Guard: ??? (Any coasties out there?)

It’s not your fault that you didn’t know ATHEIST was an option before. You know now. We all need to do our part to shatter the stained glass ceiling. This takes 2 minutes no matter what branch you are in.


  • FrogSalad
    February 3, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    I was NO REL PREF but that was 20+ years ago.

  • wickedfiress
    February 3, 2013 at 7:48 AM
    My husband has No rel. Pref.

    The way we both feel, is that funerals are for the living. If our family wants to have a big shindig, cool. I'm sure his dad will want the pastor from his (dad's) church, my husband said "you can flush my ashes for all I care."
  • mikiemom
    February 3, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    That's really good news. There used to be a rule in the Air Force that if you put No Religious Preference on your records the chaplains were allowed to try and convert you to your religion, but if you put a specific religion only the chaplain from that religion could initiate conversation with you. The troop is allowed to initiate conversation with any chaplain they desire.


    This is actually how we became Pagan. My exh did some research and found that the USAF didn't have a single Pagan Chaplain so he had Celtic Pagan put on his dog tags. He actually wasn't Pagan, but after we divorced, he gave DS a set of his dog tags when he deployed, from that DS decided he should be Pagan. In order to support him in that I contacted a Local High Priestess and she suggested I take her classes to find out what it's all about - well the rest is history lol. I soon discovered what I had been searching for.

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