“An Atheist In Our Country Is An Enemy”

Jeremy Hall, a soldier with no religious beliefs is suing the Department of Defense for discrimination based on his irreligion. He said “there is a pattern of discrimination against non-Christians in the military.”

Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, after refusing to pray at his table, Hall said he was told to go sit somewhere else. In another incident, when he was nearly killed during an attack on his Humvee, he said another soldier asked him, “Do you believe in Jesus now?”

. . .

He also said he missed out on promotions because he is an atheist.

“I was told because I can’t put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn’t make a good leader,” Hall said.

Maybe all those things are true, maybe not. I have no basis to form a conclusion. But just the thought of a military saturated with religious fervor is chilling. One of the officials quoted in the article refers to the Officers’ Christian Fellowship and says: ”Their purpose is to have Christian officers exercise Biblical leadership to raise up a godly army.” What is “a godly army”? An army that kills or conquers only people who deny its god? I can’t imagine anything more evil.

Anderson Cooper wrote about it on his blog, asking “Is the United States Military becoming a Christian organization?” A whole bunch of people have commented. Most of them support Jeremy Hall, but not this guy:

GOD BLESS AMERICA.
WE BELIEVE IN GOD. ” “IN GOD WE TRUST” IS IMPRINTED IN OUR CURRENCY. AN ATHEIST IN OUR COUNTRY IS AN ENEMY..IN MY OPINION AND IF HE IS OSTRACISED, SO BE IT.
WE CAN TOLERATE OTHER RELIGIONS,BUT NOT ONE WHO REJECTS GOD.

That comment stood out because, well, it’s in all capital letters. But more than that, it expresses a terrible sentiment. Even though I rarely see it expressed, whenever I do it makes me wary. When I encounter a stranger, is it one of these all-caps people? A friend in law school once pointed out that there are a lot of people who would kick people like out of the United States if they could. They’re not a majority, but they’re out there. It’s discomfiting.

Jeremy Hall’s lawsuit will probably settle or be dismissed on some procedural ground, no one will remember that it happened, and everything will stay the same.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 2

  1. From State Religion @ Ales Rarus on 10 Jul 2008 at 11:10 am

    […] blogger syndicated here, Peter Wall, is upset that an atheist soldier has been the recipient of harassment by Christians in the military. While I agree that such behavior poorly represents Christ to the world and is inexcusable, […]

  2. From State Religion @ Ales Rarus on 10 Jul 2008 at 11:10 am

    […] blogger syndicated here, Peter Wall, is upset that an atheist soldier has been the recipient of harassment by Christians in the military. While I agree that such behavior poorly represents Christ to the world and is inexcusable, […]

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