Pentagon Sued Over Mandatory Christianity
If U.S. Constitutional law means anything at all, the forced imposition of Christianity in the American military is a clear violation of teh barriers between church and state. All sorts of people including atheists, (according to recent polls the most despited group in teh United States) serve in the armed forces to guarantee the right to freedom from religion. This is not a new or isolated case, non-Christian and even nonevangelical personnel have been lodging complaints for more than six years insisting that non-believers are being badgered into conversions often by superiors. The Pentagon insists that they are working to protect the rights of American service persons but this suit in going through in any case.
Pentagon Sued Over Mandatory Christianity A military watchdog organization filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and a US Army major, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The suit charges the Pentagon with widespread constitutional violations by allegedly trying to force the soldier to embrace evangelical Christianity and then retaliating against him when he refused.
The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, by the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), on behalf of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist currently on active duty in Speicher, Iraq, alleges that Hall's First Amendment rights were violated beginning last Thanksgiving when, because of his atheist beliefs, he declined to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony commemorating the holiday.
"Immediately after plaintiff made it known he would decline to join hands and pray, he was confronted, in the presence of other military personnel, by the senior ranking ... staff sergeant who asked plaintiff why he did not want to pray, whereupon plaintiff explained because he is an atheist," says the lawsuit, a copy of which was provided to Truthout. "The staff sergeant asked plaintiff what an atheist is and plaintiff responded it meant that he (plaintiff) did not believe in God. This response caused the staff sergeant to tell plaintiff that he would have to sit elsewhere for the Thanksgiving dinner. Nonetheless, plaintiff sat at the table in silence and finished his meal."