Specialist Jeremy Hall, who had previously filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, has now voluntarily withdrawn it.
Earlier, he had stated that he was denied a promotion and prevented from holding a meeting for fellow atheists. He had also received a death threat from another soldier.
Those charges still stand.
However, since Hall is planning on leaving the Army in the spring, he dropped the lawsuit (PDF).
Dropping the lawsuit avoids a fight over whether Hall has standing to sue if he is no longer in the Army, which he plans to leave in 2009, [Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey] Weinstein said.
“He broke the barrier for us to have more people come forward,” Weinstein said of Hall. “He served as a shining light that attracted all the other potential witnesses.”
Another lawsuit from the MRFF is still in play, this one from combat medic Spc. Dustin Chalker.
Chalker, who has served six years in the Army, was deployed to Iraq and was awarded the Combat Medic Badge and the Purple Heart during fierce combat.
After returning to the U.S. and stationed at Fort Riley, Chalker was forced to attend three events in late 2007 and in 2008 at which the battalion chaplain, according to the lawsuit, delivered sectarian Christian prayers. Being nonreligious, Chalker objected to the presence of blatantly Christian prayers and asked to be excused from the events. The requests to be excused were denied. After the denials, Chalker was forced to attend other events with sectarian Christian prayers.
Despite the one withdrawn lawsuit, don’t think that military proselytization is not an urgent and pressing issue. It’s there and it’s getting worse. We need more of our military personnel to speak out against it.
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