John Whiteside grew up in Alabama in the 1960s, where he witnessed the Birmingham civil rights riots and the aftermath of the bombing of an African-American church. In 1971 he joined the Marine Corps, graduated first in his Marine class, and then graduated at the top of his class in jets as a Marine. As a student fighter pilot, he won the 45-degree dive bomb competition between all 3rd Marine pilots, which represented all US West Coast fighter pilots. He spent 25 years flying for major international airlines, starting at Eastern, and ending up as a captain for United. In 1991, John was recalled to active duty, flew 52 missions in Operation Desert Storm, and was awarded six air medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat.
John is an advisory board member of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and received their 2011 Thomas Jefferson Award. Since retirement John travels internationally, reads, and observes people all over the world.
He is the founder of the┬áUnited Church of Bacon, which began as a concept among a group of friends at Penn Jillette’s house in Las Vegas in 2010, and became active when John began recruitment at TAM in 2012. The skeptics’ church has a serious intent, to fight religious discrimination against non-believers, to promote church-state separation, and to demand equal rights for everyone, regardless of faith.