God Bless those Atheists

Posted: September 26, 2007 in Celebrating Diversity, Christianity, Military, Nut Jobs, Politics, Rants, The Mass Media, War

Military probes atheist GI’s harassment claims  

Perhaps you’ve heard of this guy, a one Spc. Jeremy Hall who has up and decided to sue his commanding officer and, yes, the Secretary of Defense.  That’s right.  E-4 Specialist Hall is suing the Secretary of Defense.  Although, to be honest, I’m not sure how an Atheist files a lawsuit for religious discrimination.

Nuance.

I’m very suspicious of this lawsuit. I’ve been serving in this man’s Marine Corps for over 14 years, and I’ve never seen any pressure to conform to any specific faith.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I’ve experienced quite a few deragotory comments toward Christians, not specifically directed at me, but made in passing, almost like is was some sort of conventional wisdom.  Christian chaplains, both Protestant and Catholic are available in the military.  They even go to the field. However, when they hold their services, they are usually attended by about 30% of the Marines.
 
So I find it very difficult to believe that this individual is facing persecution because of his lack of religious faith.
 
In my Reserve unit, we had a guy that up and decided he was a conscientous objector because of his Wiccan beliefs.  That’s right, Wiccan.  And we thought the guy was a turd.  Not because he was Wiccan.  Sure, we kind of smiled and rolled our eyes when he talked about being a Warlock, or saying that he needed some time off during a field op to go perform some Wiccan ceremony (which, by the way, we let him do).  We thought he was a turd because he decided half-way through his enlistment that he was a C/O.  We figured it was a dodge to get out of completing his tour.  So, we didn’t let him carry a weapon, what with him being a C/O, and all.  And yeah, he got a lot of shitty little details and jobs to keep him busy…not as punishment for being Wiccan, but more out of the fact that although he wasn’t getting out of his contract, he wouldn’t fight or train, so what else do you do with him?
 
I don’t know Spc. Jeremy Hall from Adam, but I suspect the harassment he is getting is not because he’s an atheist..trust me, there are lots of them out there…but because he’s a turd.  He’s making a huge stink out of something I suspect would otherwise be a non-issue if he hadn’t decided to file a lawsuit.  Trust me, taking that action has made him far more unpopular than merely taking an atheist stance ever would.  The military puts a strong emphasis on taking care of its own business.  Spec4 Hall had a lot of avenues open to him to get him concerns addressed…within his chain of command.  Taking it to the Big Tent instead, and pulling some dumbass stunt like suing the SecDef definitely puts young Mr. Hall in the “shitbird” category.
 
I’d really like to find out more about this guy’s case.  Why would you hold a meeting for atheists?  Let’s all sit around a talk about all the things we don’t believe about God?  When did he want to hold these meetings?  During duty hours?  It doesn’t say, but that could be a contributing factor.

What so many of today’s pampered youth fail to realize, as they wallow in their misguided sense of entitlement, is that you voluntarily give up a lot of your freedom of movement, so to speak, when you join the military.

Newsflash there, Specialist:  your chain of command owns your sorry ass.
 
That said, today’s PC military is also very sensitive about any type of accusations of discrimination.  The mere accusation of sexual harassment is enough to put your career to a grinding halt sometimes.  There are myriad resources this SPC could have used to address his issues. However, my suspicion is that he’s less interested in defending his beliefs/lack of beliefs, than he is in making a name for himself.
 
Unless I hear different, I put this character firmly in the same category as Michael Newdown, that atheist blowhard in California who got all pissy about “under God” in the Pledge.
 
Look at the “Urgent Issues” section of the group handling his lawsuit: Military Religious Freedmom.org.   Several links to the always balanced, totally non-partisan “Truthout.org.”  Links to titles like “An Evangelical Coup in America’s Military; An In-Depth Interview with Mikey Weinstein” or “Crusade and a Holy War in the US Military.”  Tell me there isn’t another agenda at work here than defending poor widdle Jeremy?

I suspect that the books deals are already lined up, not to mention the radio spots on Air America and the docudrama by Michael Moore.

UPDATE:

Let me gell it down here.  I’m sure it’s entirely possible that this individual might be or might have suffered discrimination at the hands of a particular misguided CO.  But to suggest that there is some sort of institutional bias against atheists, or some sort of radical Christian cabal infusing the US military is simply laughable.  And for someone in his position to sue the Secretary of Defense over it is just, well, stupid.

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Comments
  1. Patricia says:

    You humor me. You said, “I’m not sure how an Atheist files a lawsuit for religious discrimination.” Atheists are persecuted for their non-belief in God and commonly singled out as people who must be converted by Christians. Religious discrimination does not only occur when someone is refused the right to practice their religion and/or beliefs. Freedom of religion also includes the protection to individuals by the US Constitution from radical religious groups who have NO place in a government agency, as in this case. Atheists holding meetings is not some sort of “religious gathering.” These meetings are basically support groups that allow for free thinking and new ideas. I commend Spc. Jeremy Hall for his bravery in bringing this topic out in the open for the public to see. He may have just gotten a taste of a war that needs to be fought in the United States of America, home of the free.

  2. Steve B says:

    To coin a phrase, I question the timing. If Spc. Hall is truly experiencing discrimination and harassment based on his personal beliefs, then he’s clearly in the right. It is the manner in which he has chosen to go about it that has me suspicious. And the company he’s keeping with this particular advocacy organization. Talk about a radical group!

    Like I said, I need to find out more specifics, but based on my experience, both the tone and the inflammatory nature of the way he’s going about it lend me to believe that there is another agenda at play here than protecting Spc Hall’s personal safety or individual rights.

  3. If you don’t think there is institutionalized discrimination against atheists in the military, read up on the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

  4. Steve B says:

    Ah yes, would that be the suit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS)? Next exactly non-partisan, either.

    In both cases, we are dealing with the actions of individual commanding officers, not the military as whole, and certain not as a result of any sactioned policiy within the DOD.

  5. Mike says:

    Take a look at Major Welborn’s Myspace. He describes himself as “Warrior for the Lord Jesus Christ. Currently serving in Baghdad Iraq”
    As a former member of the armed forces myself, I can easilly see how a major could set a tone which basically gives soldiers a red light to harrasse. I’ve seen Co’s and Nco’s basically sanction the hazing of soldiers with a few well placed comments. I’m simply amazed Steve B (who claims to have served for 14 years) doesn’t understand these dynamics.

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