If you want any proof that non-Christians are discriminated against in the military, Chris Rodda has an incredible story to share.
First, some background:
For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts…
These are (not surprisingly) concerts featuring Christian bands.
But at least they’re not mandatory, right?
Well… there’s the problem.
According to one of the 80 soldiers who didn’t want to attend the concert:
We started marching to the theater. At that point two Muslim soldiers fell out of formation on their own. Student leadership tried to convince them to fall back in and that a choice will be presented to us once we reach the theater.
Those of us that chose not to attend (about 80, or a little less that half) were marched back to the company area. At that point the NCO issued us a punishment. We were to be on lock-down in the company (not released from duty), could not go anywhere on post (no PX, no library, etc). We were to go to strictly to the barracks and contact maintenance. If we were caught sitting in our rooms, in our beds, or having/handling electronics (cell phones, laptops, games) and doing anything other than maintenance, we would further have our weekend passes revoked and continue barracks maintenance for the entirety of the weekend. At that point the implied message was clear in my mind “we gave you a choice to either satisfy us or disappoint us. Since you chose to disappoint us you will now have your freedoms suspended and contact chores while the rest of your buddies are enjoying a concert.”
So, if you don’t want to be punished, you go to the show. It’s not technically forced, but the alternative is unequivocally horrible, and the punishment is directed to anyone who doesn’t want to hear the Christian proselytizing.
That’s not the only issue here. Rodda also points out the cost of these events — your tax money pays for these concerts and they don’t come cheap:
These concerts aren’t just small events with local Christian bands. We’re talking about the top, nationally-known, award-winning Christian artists, with headline acts costing anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, and even many of the opening acts being in the $10,000 range.
The cost of these concerts led [the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's] research department to start looking at some of the DoD contracts for other “spiritual fitness” events and programs, and what we found was astounding. One contract, for example, awarded to an outside consulting firm to provide “spiritual fitness” services, was for $3.5 million.
If they’re trimming the Defense budget, here’s an easy place to start. There’s no reason our money should be used to promote Christianity and punish those who don’t want to hear it.