IN APRIL we reported on the case of a young atheist soldier – Specialist Jeremy Hall – who filed a lawsuit against American Department of Defence. Hall alleged that, as a result of “coming out” as an atheist while on active duty in Iraq, he was harassed and reviled, and that his constitutional rights had been violated.
We have now learned that – just hours before the deadline for the US Government to respond to the lawsuit, filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) against the Department of Defence – the Justice Department responded with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Shortly before the motion was received, Hall featured in a compelling CNN TV report the which alleged that the US Military was subjecting soldiers to undue religious pressure, and that non-Christians were discriminated against by the Military.
After the broadcast, which can be seen in its entirety here, dozens of military personnel contacted the MRFF to confirm that they had been put under similar pressure.
MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate, former JAG, and a White House counsel in the Reagan administration, had this to say about the DoJ’s motion to dismiss:
The United States armed forces are quite simply awash in completely unconstitutional fundamentalist Christian tyranny and persecution. Having the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of Defensc, tell us in 350 pages of legal documents that this malicious, universal disgrace and national security threat does NOT exist merely because current DoD regulations forbid it from so existing is as ludicrous as saying that cancer does not exist because the American Cancer Society has prohibited its existence.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is in this fight for Constitutional religious freedom for the long haul, and we WILL win it if we have to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Gandhi said, ‘First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win.’
In the past several years, MRFF has been through the ‘ignore’ and ‘ridicule’ stages. We’re clearly in the ‘fight’ stage now and MRFF is constantly gratified by the growing thousands of noble and honorable service men and women of the USMC, USN, USAF and USA, Reserve, Guard, and vets who have swelled our Foundation’s ranks and stand with us as we carry this battle for religious freedom into the Federal Courts.
In a study conducted by MediaCurves, over 200 Christians and over 100 non-Christians were asked a series of questions both before and after viewing the CNN footage.
These were some of the questions and results from the MediaCurves study:
â€¢ Do you believe that the US Army discriminates against non-Christians?
Before viewing the segment, only 13 percent of the Christians answered yes. After viewing it, 46 percent answered yes. Among the non-Christians, those answering yes rose from 37 percent to 75 percent.
â€¢ Do you believe that there is pressure to embrace Evangelical Christianity in the US Military?
Before viewing the segment, only 24 percent of the Christians answered yes. After viewing it, 49 percent answered yes. Among the non-Christians, those answering yes rose from 44 percent to 79 percent.
â€¢ Do you agree with Army Specialist Jeremy Hall’s decision to bring a lawsuit against the US Department of Defence?
In answer to this question, asked after the study group viewed the footage, 53 percent of the Christians and 84 percent of the non-Christians said yes.
Update: Aug 3:Â Attorneys representing Hall have been granted more time to file arguments with the federal court. They have until September 15 to respond to the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. See report here.