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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  11:50:40  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know how many of you know this, but every official military ceremony opens with an Invocation and closes with a Benediction. During these religious portions of our official military ceremony, we are asked to bow our heads and pray. Many people will clasp hands, shut their eyes and bow their heads; I, for one, remain standing at attention. Though I have not been called out for this, it is a rather awkward situation being forced to participate in prayer services. I would imagine it is similarly awkward for atheist Congresspeople.

I had "signed" a petition with the White House hoping to call attention to (and perhaps end) this seemingly unconstitutional practice. This petition also mentions the Spiritual Fitness Test administered to many military personnel returning from overseas deployment in hostile areas.

I have recently received the White House's response. It completely ignored the first part of the petition, the mandatory inclusion of religious content in official military ceremonies, it hand-waved away concerns about the second part by apparently redefining "Spiritual" --
From the White House response

Moreover, the self-assessment emphasizes at the beginning of the survey that "[t]he spiritual dimension questions on the [survey] pertain to the domain of the Human Spirit: they are not 'religious' in nature."
and it barely addresses this part of the petition:
From the original petition

Those who fail the test are forced to take remedial training instructing them to go to church and pray. This proselytization by the US military is forced onto us against our will.



From the White House response

It is also important to understand the results of the self-assessment survey are only for the soldier, and are not shared with the command or with any other person. This survey is simply a resiliency tool to help soldiers self-identify areas where they may need additional emphasis in their lives. Soldiers are free to disregard the feedback from the automated program if they feel that it does not apply to them, and no training on spiritual fitness is mandatory.

Military members who believe that they face discrimination due to their religious beliefs, or lack of such beliefs, should refer specific allegations to the Office of the Inspector General for their Service, or to the chain of command.
I cannot provide an adequate opinion on this part, having never taken this survey.

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  12:14:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It seems to me that any policy that tries to yoke the military and the church together dishonors the former and casts suspicion on the latter.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1461 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  15:55:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
May we prevail against such unnecessary divisiveness.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2013 :  22:38:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by ThorGoLucky

May we prevail against such unnecessary divisiveness.
It's very necessary if your Christian and you need your ego stroked by being able to force others to sit through your public praying and you want to ignore Jesus' teachings about how not to pray in public.

Last December there was a West Point Cadet who made his objection public about being forced to participate. While there were other aspects to his resignation, he did include the prayer issue for one of his reasons for resignation. He became ineligible for a commission upon graduating the point.

Blake Page, West Point Cadet, Quits Military Academy Over Religion

Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called "heathens" by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he'd never be a leader until he filled the hole in his heart. In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced "criminals" in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution.



(edit to correct quote box)

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Edited by - sailingsoul on 09/27/2013 05:45:57
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2013 :  01:54:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Contact the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. This sort of thing is why they exist:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is the sole nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantee of both freedom of religion and freedom from religion, to which they and all Americans are entitled. Fighting for our servicemembers' rights, so they can fight for ours.
Email: info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2013 :  12:26:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As a little disclaimer or FYI, if it's not known already, I served in the US Army, in the past. Happily before this shit started taking off and as it is ongoing now.
Originally posted by HalfMooner

It seems to me that any policy that tries to yoke the military and the church together dishonors the former and casts suspicion on the latter.

This issue is more than that, way more. Absolutely I agree with what you wrote Mooner but there is more. I'm sure you know all this but it's worth saying. What "seems" to you is not what seems to American Fundamentalist. Put you brain into the dogma these Fundamentalist are enveloped with all their life. It's been going on since birth or fully within their first year. It wouldn't surprise me if the apologists we get here have the same history. That was done to me, before I could walk and talk I was being programmed to believe that I was not capable to know right from wrong but God does. I was programmed to believe I was deserving of Hell because of original sin. Jesus could save me from what I deserved (Hell), born in sin from the deed of others. Of course when I stopped ignoring the utter stupidity of what I was being told and confronted it in my own head, I became free of all the fear I was programmed to believe and held. Fundamentalist and Christians alike are raised to be scared and to cling to what they believes will save them from their unfounded and unrealistic fears. It's great not to fear the monster under my bed and over head. I have like you and many others here know the peace they seek. That is our good news.
What "seems to you" and me, is NOT what seems to a Fundamentalist Christian in power in America. For them it the complete opposite. "Fundamentalist" are a very effective voting force behind the GOP. What is best for every American (including Non-Christians) is not at all what is best in the minds Fundamentalist Christian in America. With Fundies in power I'm referring to those in elected positions and those directly serving those in power (aids and assistants) of those in Congress (Senate + House).

While I can appreciate the advertized mission of the "Military Religious Freedom Foundation", I can't say they are not effective. I don't have any knowledge of their success/es. Either for any individually discriminated soldier or with changes institutionally in the military. I do hear about violations of constitutionally guaranteed rights going on in the military all the time, so they obviously have their hands full. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying they are ineffectual. Just, I would love to hear of their success/es with either single complaints or with military policies ongoing in this direction. Perhaps I could email them and ask about successes or victories. ((done!)) I'll pass on their reply should I get one.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2013 :  12:55:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Before I forget again, thanks for your post Dave. The MRFF would thank you to if they could, I'm sure.

Wow! I got a quick reply from the "MRFF" as they referred to themselves. When I sent my inquiry, I also asked if they accepted PayPal donations and I'm happy to say they do. Should anyone have a need to feed this cause. It's Sunday and so I'm figuring why not. I don't have a GOD constantly begging me for money anymore and I'm thinking they can use it. There are links to what they are about and what their up to


Dear Mr. (deleted)


Thank you so much for your email. Our Founder and President, Mikey Weinstein has read your email and asked me to respond on his and MRFFs behalf.


I have attached a copy of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) Executive Summary to our operational funding prospectus. This 3-page document provides a succinct overview of MRFF and our most recent achievements. If you would like additional detailed information on any of the listed achievements, please let me know and Ill be happy to provide this additional detail. You can also view MRFFs achievements online at http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/achievements/ along with archived information regarding MRFFs activities at http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/archives/.


A donation can be made to MRFF through PayPal by clinking on this link (or posting to your browser): http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/support-mrff/make-a-donation/. You can then click on the PayPal Donate Now button as indicated below.


You can also support MRFF with a recurring monthly donation by joining MRFFs Constitution Society at this link: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/support-mrff/constitution-society/.


Thanks again for your email inquiry and words of support and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.



Sincerely
http://signatures.mylivesignature.com/54490/224/EA9D45C7042C52133316BE4914E8F000.png

Andy Kasehagen, MRFF Grants & Database Administrator

phone: 505-796-6322

skype: andykasehagen

email: andy@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 09/29/2013 :  13:51:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here is how the MRFF addressed the West Point issue, it's from their web site.
December 2012 West Point Cadet, MRFF Client sacrifices career in noble stance defending U.S. Constitution from religious zealots. Blake Page, a West Point cadet slated to graduate this year, resigned in protest of the pattern of invasive and harassing religious proselytizing taking place at the esteemed military academy.

Sacrificing his degree and commission, Page risked receiving a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, but was honorably discharged with waived fees as a result of the firestorm of media attention attracted to West Points crisis of proselytization. Page, a former Army enlisted man, was a leader in cadet efforts to end illegal Christian proselytizing at the academy and favoritism shown by faculty and administrators toward Christians. Page is Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point as well as the president of the West Point Secular Student Alliance.

Page, testifying in a blog posted on Huffington Post, wrote:

While there are certainly numerous problems with the developmental program at West Point and all service academies, the tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution

The existence of decades of legal precedent and policies prohibiting this pervasive religious bigotry has not stopped it from happening in the past, and will most certainly not stop it from happening in the future so long as the many who oppose it remain too timid to stand up and be counted. I am making this stand in the hope that others will follow by whatever means they must. Perhaps now some of the 136 cadets, faculty and staff at West Point that are represented by the MRFF may find the courage to make themselves heard.

I'm really impressed by the list of actions and achievements.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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