Jeremy Hall Withdraws His Lawsuit

Specialist Jeremy Hall, who had previously filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, has now voluntarily withdrawn it.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Despite the one withdrawn lawsuit, don’t think that military proselytization is not an urgent and pressing issue.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.

(via Military Religious Freedom Foundation)

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    That is too bad that he withdrew the suit. Still, I really admire his courage in being one of the first to come forward and draw attention to the rampant Christian extremism which has infiltrated the military.

  • justin jm

    So you have to be in the army to file a lawsuit against its hierarchy?

  • http://www.scoutingforall.org Brian Westley

    You have to have “standing,” which he might not have if he leaves the army before the case is decided.

  • Gabriel

    This is so weird. When I was in the Navy I was in Kuwait in 2005/2006. I never ran into this stuff. I was never forced to attend church and was an off the ceiling atheist. No one cared. Even the christians didn’t care. They would ask me why I was an atheist but it was so much more respectful than my civilian experiences. I read about these kids experiences and it just freaks me out. Religion just wasn’t important during my service. The only thing that was important was if you did your job.

  • john

    The discrimination against atheists and the Christian extemism is (or was) rampant in the US Air Force, where a megachurch from Colorado Springs was allowed to prosthetelize on campus. Thanks to Mikey Weinstein and his book and lawsuits this problem may be coming under control. The book is “With God On Our Side-One Man’s War Against An Evangelical Coup In America’s Military.” Scary, but well worth the read.

  • Mike

    I just wonder what religion is listed on his dog tags. The last line of dog tags usually list the soldier’s religion. Are his blank? Do they say atheist? Non-believer? Freethinker?

  • John

    The bottom of his dog tags will say “no rel pref”. That is the only option for non-believers.

  • Mike

    Dog tags will read no rel pref. This is for last rites. Chances are you will still receive some kind of last rights.

  • http://www.freethoughtoasis.org Jynx

    FYI: A soldier now has the option of having “atheist” put on his/her dog-tags.

  • El Tajin

    (Jynx) When did this happen? It wasn’t so at Ft. Sill in 2010. “No Pref” was as close as they allowed.


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