My friend and fellow Foxhole Atheist, SGT Dustin Chalker wrote a new petition to end the military’s mandatory Spiritual Fitness testing and training. He’s asking all of you to sign it and spread the word.
Dustin is one of the few like me who have taken our message directly to the media, demanding equality and justice.
He bats away reporters questions about his multiple Purple Hearts and encounters with IED’s. Dustin looks at this as a mere distraction to his desperate attempt to tell the American People that something was seriously messed up. This man has done so much for his country, and then he gets home and has to take mandatory religious classes because he was deemed spiritually unfit (and therefore suicidal).
The test by itself is unconstitutional, going against the very document we took an oath to support and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But then forced to sit through hours of training? Some were even told that ‘this was a message to them to get right with god’. Even Christians are outraged at being told that they are somehow “the wrong kind of Christian”.
If you have a minute to spare, it very well may get the attention of our boss – the Commander in Chief. Both of us have exhausted our existing internal military remedies in fighting this crap. They aren’t budging and seem to be ‘lawyering up’. In fact, they are spreading this stuff to all the other branches of the military too.
Here is Dustin’s explanation and plea for support. Spread the word!
The White House is Listening. Speak up now!
On September 1, 2011 the White House announced a new web-based petition program called We the People. From WhiteHouse.gov (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/31/we-people-how-white-house-petitions-work): “Individuals will be able to create or sign a petition that calls for action by the federal government on a range of issues. If a petition gathers enough support (i.e., signatures) it will be reviewed by a standing group of White House staff, routed to any other appropriate offices and generate an official, on-the-record response.”
This outstanding new program facilitates the often-forgotten First Amendment right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“How many signatures? Initially petitions that gather more than 5,000 signatures in 30 days will be reviewed and answered.”
Earlier today (October 3) the 5000 signature threshold was increased to 25000, but don’t worry! I started a petition to “End the Military’s Discrimination against Non-Religious Service Members” (http://wh.gov/4zb) on October 1! At present, it appears that older petitions are being grandfathered with the original 5000 signature requirement. Even if this changes, let’s rock the White House and blast through whatever ceiling they set!
This may be the single most influential thing you can do to help non-religious service members, and it’s easy! The account sign-up process is very fast (though a little buggy for some users) and has the added benefit that you can sign other petitions once you’re registered. There are petitions to restore the original Pledge of Allegiance “One Nation, Indivisible” and national motto “E Pluribus Unum.” When you’re done with all of that, share! Post the short link (http://wh.gov/4zb) to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
Aside from the broader request to end discrimination, this petition addresses two specific issues: the forced ceremonial religious rituals in mandatory military formations and the unconstitutional religious test for “Spiritual Fitness” (and the related proselytism they call “training”). These fundamentalists currently enjoy a privileged dominion over us, ordering our respectful and silent participation in their worship services and actively instructing us to go to church and pray under the color of military authority. Your signature could change all of that, so please, take a stand for our right to serve this nation without facing coercive religious domination.
Thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to join this ongoing effort to support and defend the Constitution. I have tried repeatedly, and all internal remedies have failed, to include the Inspector General, Equal Opportunity program, and individual requests for accommodation through the chain of command. The Constitution’s last line of defense is We the People.