My father died last March, and I'd gone to the VFW with him many times over the years. As his daughter, and as a Humanist Celebrant (of Jewish descent), I performed his celebration of life at the VFW. I partnered with a Catholic priest who did the religious portion to honor my dad's wishes.
In May, I was asked to place the Navy wreath in honor of my father and all Navy vets during the city Memorial Day ceremony, which was also facilitated by this local VFW. I sat through Christian prayers at this event as well. This city-sponsored event had a religious bias, but I do want to support veterans and my father's memory, so I started asking about being able to join the Auxiliary, which was one of my father’s wishes. I don't qualify for the VFW because I never deployed, and it was clear that I wouldn't qualify for Auxiliary membership because I don't believe in a god.
This is very hurtful to be discriminated against due to my beliefs, but, I was also told that the Auxiliary national convention was reviewing this membership requirement over the summer. I waited patiently, hoping the Auxiliary would remove this discriminatory membership requirement. The voting membership at the national Auxiliary conference did not do so. I really want to give back to the veteran community. As a veteran myself and the daughter of a veteran, I'm excluded purely due to my beliefs about religion.
back page of current VFW Auxiliary magazine
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."-Gandhi
"Rather than putting 'Christ" back in "Christmas," I'd settle for putting "Christ" back in "Christians.'"I'm seeing a lot of different sentiments about this matter, but at the end of the day, it was what my father wanted of me. He knew that I'm involved in volunteer work and social issues and wanted me to put that to use in veteran circles-specifically in the VFW. I never deployed, however, and don't qualify for the VFW. I qualify for the Auxiliary but they won't accept me since I'm a Humanist. I just want to honor my father's wishes. Why is that such a terrible thing?