Sergeants Want to Attack Atheist Soldier

He’s already filed a lawsuit (PDF) that says he was denied a promotion because of his atheism.

Since then, Specialist Jeremy Hall hasn’t won many fans in the military.

He’s still facing threats.

Spc. Jeremy Hall filed a formal statement Wednesday with the Army. He says he overheard a conversation between two sergeants in his platoon and one wanted to “bust Hall in the mouth.”

Hall says he faces the animosity because he is an atheist and is suing the Department of Defense. He alleges it permits a culture that pushes fundamentalist Christianity.

He says he does not feel safe his unit.

It’s bad enough we have our soldiers overseas right now; that many are not treated with respect because they are not Christian is despicable. The Department of Defense has to take action against high-ranking army officials who allow this harassment to continue.

(via Deep Thoughts)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • cipher

    This a very serious and growing problem. Mike Weinstein, a lawyer whose family has been involved with the Air Force Academy in Colorado for three generations, has had to file discrimination lawsuits against the Air Force over the past few years because of the pressure to convert exerted upon his sons and other non-Christians in the Academy.

    James Carroll, who wrote Constantine’s Sword, a history of Christian antisemitism, has recently been the subject of a documentary of the same name, which spends a good deal of time on this issue. It’s going to be released this spring; I’ve seen it twice, and I recommend it enthusiastically.

  • Darryl

    When young men are expected to fight and die for some nebulous cause–knowing now that they’re not actually fighting for their country–some notion of a higher purpose having to do with God becomes a replacement. Hoping that God is watching over you on your fourth deployment makes this endurance test a bit more bearable. Too bad for us. We’re supporting the worst of all conflations: God and country. Sad, just sad.

  • Mriana

    I find this very sad and I can only hope those like the sargeants have a change of heart one day and very soon. :(

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 benjdm

    Please, please, please fill the spelling of Sergeant in the post title.

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 benjdm

    Not that I can spell fix correctly…

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Please, please, please fill the spelling of Sergeant in the post title.

    Whoops! Fixed.

    Thanks :)

  • Jon

    I don’t like the idea of jumping on the bandwagon with only one Specialist’s word. Negative attitudes, negative rhetoric and poor performance can all very directly affect your eligibility for promotion.
    We’re getting only a portion of this story here; I’d be interested in the Specialist’s performance review to compare it to his words. I work closely with soldiers and contractors every day and have never been discriminated against for my atheism. The soldiers with whom I work strive to avoid conversations about gods and philosophy and are more interested in serving than nit-picking. In fact when I was baited into a discussion on the topic of gods the religious person who baited me was met with scorn from the soldiers.

    I wish the article were more balanced.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Jon,

    It’s far from one Specialist’s word. There has been a clear and pervasive pattern of Christian evangelism and bigotry toward non-Christians over the past several years. I wrote about it two months ago and am about to post a follow-up as it continues to be a problem.

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 benjdm

    Jon: Check out Wayne Adkins’ experiences also.

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/17380
    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/25659

    I was in the Navy for ten years and never experienced any discrimination. But there definitely seems to be groups that practice it.

  • Jon

    Buffy,
    The most disturbing part of all that is the potential of that horribly poorly made game (the left behind game) being imposed on more people than those who already wasted their time and money on it.

    I’m being ironic of course, but yes I understand the concern over religion and its influence over publically funded and federally governed institutions like the military.

    What I do not approve is sweeping statements of the sort that I see so regularly of late: that the military is a Christian’s only club. It’s not the case and it hasn’t been the case for a very long time. It’s easy to be on the outside and look in and see the cases of bigotry and prejudice but on the whole I’ve found the people in positions of authority in the U.S. Army to be more balanced, accepting and honorable than any I’ve found working in the private sector.

    I understand the passion that being discriminated against can create, but I also strongly believe in maintaining mental balance and trying not to get too wrapped up in our own side of an issue. I do think it’s important that these stories be told because without oversight the honor that I appreciate seeing can be eaten away by these other subversive religious elements, but again I wish I saw more objectivism and less activism.

  • cipher

    Buffy,

    Thanks for writing about this. As I said, it’s a serious problem.

    I think this is the result of many complex factors, one of them being that the military is now drawing largely from the underclass, from which the evangelicals draw a lot of new recruits as well. They’re poorly educated, and it’s an easy theology for them to grasp, and many have hard lives, so it gives them hope.

    As I said in the thread about prison evangelism, I’m not sure that it’s a bad thing, but I draw the line at salvific exclusivism. They want or need to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and that afterward they’re going to a beautiful place where God will make it up to them for kicking the crap out of them all of their lives? Fine; I wouldn’t be the one to take it away from them. But they can’t seem to do it without damning everyone who disagrees with them to hell for all of eternity. It’s a projection of their own self-hatred onto the archetypal sky god-father-creator figure, and it’s been going on since Augustine, if not longer. I’m sick of it, I really am – and it’s time we stopped being civil and began decrying this belief publicly. They like to cry “victim”, yet they’ve been getting a free pass for years; everyone is scared to death of them now. It’s time we stopped tolerating it.

  • cipher

    Coincidentally, PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly ran a segment today about the Army’s training program for chaplains. It can be watched here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week1131/cover.html

    Interestingly, the Colonel in charge feels it necessary to tell incoming chaplains, “This is not a Christian summer camp.” And, of course, toward the end, there’s the obligatory evangelical just champing at the bit to tell the unsaved about “God’s word”.

  • http://mojoey.blogspot.com Mojoey

    Thanks for the link!

    And for the record, my direct experience (from a long time ago), was that Atheism was not tolerated. I was required to put a religion on my dog tag, they would not even allow “none” at the time.

    I put lawful good cleric – I wanted to die with my DM guide!

  • cipher

    I put lawful good cleric – I wanted to die with my DM guide!

    So if terrorists attacked – you could have just put a spell on them?

  • Claire

    cipher said:

    I think this is the result of many complex factors, one of them being that the military is now drawing largely from the underclass, from which the evangelicals draw a lot of new recruits as well.

    In this vein, I also remember reading that there are many places in this country where the military is considered as the primary career option for those getting out of high school who don’t have any specific goals. No surprise, since god and country seem to be inextricably intertwined in this country, those are also heavy bible thumping areas. There’s another source of the slant towards a christian army.

    Sorry if that last phrase gives anyone nightmares….

    I’m sick of it, I really am – and it’s time we stopped being civil and began decrying this belief publicly. They like to cry “victim”, yet they’ve been getting a free pass for years; everyone is scared to death of them now. It’s time we stopped tolerating it.

    Absolutely!!!!!!

  • http://mojoey.blogspot.com Mojoey

    cipher – my service predates our current fixation of terrorists. Think Iranian Hostage crisis. But I did have a good spell our two up my sleeve.

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  • Jake

    First off, I am Atheist/Agnostic myself. I agree the military is shaded toward Christianity, however usually when someone overhears a conversation about someone “wanting to bust them in the mouth” it is because of what comes out of their mouth! If the Atheist is a smart mouthed asshole, then being an Atheist is not the main issue. I am not saying that is the case here, I do not know the facts, but we are very quick to jump on ANY persecution bandwagon, whether or not that is the true cause of the conflict.