In a land of faith and flag, Justin Griffith is challenging the US military to abandon its religious ties.

When he was a child growing up in Plano, Texas – a place he describes as the “oversized, goofy buckle on the Bible belt” – he would bring his bible to science class and debate his teachers on the finer points of evolution.

“In my head, I won every time,” says Mr Griffith, now 29.

But somewhere along the way, his penchant for picking ideological fights with the non-religious got him in trouble. He found it harder and harder to argue with the points they were making. At 13, he suffered a crisis of faith.

“It was so painful. I lost my religion before I lost my first girlfriend. Nothing that big had ever happened to me, and I didn’t have any coping skills,” he says.

Mr Griffith found peace with his atheism, but he is not done sparring with the opposite team.

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