Navy Moves Unconstitutional Religious Display to Base Chapel at Guantanamo Bay

Navy Moves Unconstitutional Religious Display to Base Chapel at Guantanamo Bay December 18, 2013

 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Within 34 hours of 18 complaints, 11 of which were Protestant Christians, the Base Commander at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has finally moved two nativity displays that were located in the chow hall to the Constitutionally appropriate place – the Base Chapel!

This is another victory for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, The Constitution of the United States, and the Separation of Church and State as proposed by the Founding Fathers. The Base Commander had this to say,

“The spirit of the Navy’s policy on this is, if it’s religious, it goes to the chapel. It’s more appropriate there.”

Official Complaints

Many of my detractors will whine and bitch that these 18 individuals came to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation without first trying to utilize their chain of command. Yes, that’s true. And there’s a reason for it. They fear retribution for speaking out against something that is clearly a Constitutional violation. So they come to us. We always have and always shall maintain the anonymity of any clients that come to us for help unless they specifically request that we use their names. Having been the recipient of illegal action as an atheist in uniform I understand this very real and appropriate level of fear.

I am now fully prepared for the onslaught of hate mail.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steven King

    Having been in the military for many years, the fear of retribution is real and does happen all the time. I do not blame the 18 one bit. It could have been bad for their careers to complain directly.

  • 6yearArmyguy

    As I understand it, the Chapel is still supposed to be a location of interfaith relations, so a single religion set up like this still might violate regulations.

    • Paul Loebe

      Correct. So long as they allow other religious preferences to display their own scenes alongside it, it would not be a violation. However, in certain atmospheres I highly doubt another religious preference would request to place something. That could also be bad for their careers…

      Slippery slope.

  • ZenDruid

    Air Force retiree here. It seems that by this and other examples, the MRFF may have sufficient legitimacy as a POC to obtain the services of non-religious counselors for individual members. Has this been attempted?

    • Paul Loebe

      Trust me….as an atheist as well as employee of MRFF it’s something I’m pursuing.

  • UWIR

    Of course, schoolchildren don’t have the option of anonymity. If you don’t stand for the pledge, everyone knows you’re not standing for the pledge. But apparently we expect schoolchildren to be braver than members of our armed services.

  • Gehennah

    In the Marines, I ran into all kinds of issues with me being an atheist.

    When I had new dogtags made (my originals said Christian) when I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, I got chewed out because they said atheist on them. I was told that I had to have them remade and that I could put other if I preferred. Similar thing happened to another Marine who had Pagan put on hers.

    So I requested mass, and I was told by everyone in my company’s chain of command, that I couldn’t have atheist on it. I was even told by my platoon sergeant that “there are no atheists in foxholes” was actually a military law or something like that.

    Fortunately, my battalion CO ended up hearing about it (never found out how) and she made sure everyone in the command knew that someone having atheist on their dog tags was perfectly fine, same with Pagan.

    Of course, I ended up with duty on Christmas for the next two years, and ended up on duty on a few more 72’s and 96’s than everyone else. While I’m not sure if the MRFF was around when I was in or not (99 – 04), I am glad that they are around now to help out our service men and women.

  • kemalettin

    O man! Do not be apprehensive, imagining that you are going to extinction, non-existence, nothingness, darkness, oblivion, decay, and dissolution, and that you will drown in multiplicity. You are going not to extinction, but to permanence. You are being impelled not to non- existence, but to perpetual existence. You are going to enter not darkness, but the world of light. And you are returning to your true owner, to the seat of the Pre-Eternal Monarch. You will not drown in multiplicity, you will take your rest in the realm of unity. You are bound not for separation, but for union.”