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 Atheist soldier denied promotion for not praying
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  06:53:42  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is getting dangerously ridiculous. The theonazis are out of control in the military, and that scares me. They won't let atheists into their foxholes.
Attorneys for Spc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation refiled the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, and added a complaint alleging that the blocked promotion was in response to the legal action.

The suit was filed in September but dropped last month so the new allegations could be included. Among the defendants are Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Hall alleges he was denied his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while he was deployed in Iraq with his military police unit. He says in the new complaint that his promotion was blocked after the commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley sent an e-mail post-wide saying Hall had sued.

Fort Riley spokeswoman Alison Kohler said the post "can't comment on ongoing legal matters" and offered no further statement.

According to the lawsuit, Hall was counseled by his platoon sergeant after being informed that his promotion was blocked. He says the sergeant explained that Hall would be "unable to put aside his personal convictions and pray with his troops" and would have trouble bonding with them if promoted to a leadership position.



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

Edited by - HalfMooner on 03/07/2008 06:56:37

pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2998 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  07:24:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Is praying with the troops a very common thing for leaders in the military to do? (I ask from ignorance, having never served and not planning on ever serving)

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  08:46:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seems like it. I don't have anything but annecdotes but when they're going into combat, everyone seems to want to pray, even those who don't believe much. Hedging their bets, really that or any chance of help is worth it.

I think there is an argument to be made that if you're leading a bunch of young guys into combat and most are in need of the bonding/comfort/reassurance or whatever they get from prayer, the unit's leadership needs to be able to provide that. I guess. Probably a good leader can be secular or religous - it's the force of personality, trust, awe, whatever that binds soldiers to a good leader. I think an atheist can do that as well as anyone else. So the argument can be made but I think it's probably crap.

-Chaloobi

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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  10:28:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by pleco

Is praying with the troops a very common thing for leaders in the military to do? (I ask from ignorance, having never served and not planning on ever serving)
It depends on the situation. Most official military ceremonies (the commissioning of a warship or a new officer, awards ceremonies for an entire unit, etc) will have an opening and a closing prayer. It is not a requirement to pray. I will usually remain standing at attention while the rest of the people bow their heads and pray.

Many units will have a bible study group available, but this is not significantly different from having a book club or hiking club: it's just a few people who get together outside of work and do something they enjoy.

It sounds like this guy had started a group for atheists and been punished for it. If that's true, an external lawsuit is completely unnecessary. There is a chain of command in the military for a reason. If your supervisor is not behaving appropriately, there is always somebody who outranks him or her who will listen to your troubles. US Military officers especially are required to have a fundamental knowledge of our Constitution, the Geneva Convention, and our UCMJ.

This kid should have just gone to his First LT, Captain, or Colonel.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  11:29:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by pleco

Is praying with the troops a very common thing for leaders in the military to do? (I ask from ignorance, having never served and not planning on ever serving)
As part of my job, I saw the PBS reality show Carrier about life aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz. One of the things that struck me is that the ship's chaplain would lead the entire crew in nightly prayer over the ship's intercom (presumably on Captain's orders). Granted, crew members weren't forced to pay attention to the droning announcements, and the prayers themselves were nondenominational pablum, but I was more than a little surprised to see that sort of thing go on so blatantly. I remember one jet pilot made a comment to the effect that he wasn't very religious himself (perhaps even intimating that he was a closet atheist), but he was quick to say that he didn't mind the evening prayers and that he actually considered them good for the morale of the ship. A few lower ranking seamen grumbled about the prayers a bit on camera, but it was clear that they were resigned to accepting them as a fact of life at sea.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 03/07/2008 11:31:04
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  11:50:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by pleco

Is praying with the troops a very common thing for leaders in the military to do? (I ask from ignorance, having never served and not planning on ever serving)
As part of my job, I saw the PBS reality show Carrier about life aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz. One of the things that struck me is that the ship's chaplain would lead the entire crew in nightly prayer over the ship's intercom (presumably on Captain's orders). Granted, crew members weren't forced to pay attention to the droning announcements, and the prayers themselves were nondenominational pablum, but I was more than a little surprised to see that sort of thing go on so blatantly. I remember one jet pilot made a comment to the effect that he wasn't very religious himself (perhaps even intimating that he was a closet atheist), but he was quick to say that he didn't mind the evening prayers and that he actually considered them good for the morale of the ship. A few lower ranking seamen grumbled about the prayers a bit on camera, but it was clear that they were resigned to accepting them as a fact of life at sea.
I am a Submariner by training and experience, so when I moved aboard an aircraft carrier the evening prayer took a lot of getting used to. I still despise it, and there are several reasons for that.

1) On a submarine, noise is always a huge concern, because any loud noise can get you found and killed. We wear tennis shoes, we don't slam doors, we use elastic resistant exercise bands instead of weights, etc. If something is important enough to broadcast it to the entire ship, everybody shuts the hell up and pays attention. I still (annoyingly) stop talking when a department store PA is used....

On surface ships, they don't care about "sound silencing" as much as Submariners do, but still any general announcement is supposed to be taken seriously.

2) I despise the Chaplain Corps; not because of the Chaplains themselves, who are largely good people, but because of the system. Congress should not (in my opinion) respect any organization of religion so much that they will pay commissioned officers to preach to us. On submarines we have lay leaders, members of the crew who train in their own time to administer their faith to the rest of the crew. I feel that the rest of our military should follow suit.

3) There is no such thing as a purely "non-denominational" service. You all know that not all religions have a "Heavenly Father," but our Chaplains sure don't seem to realize it.

Anyway, that's straying off-topic slightly. If I come up with something worth discussing more on our Chaplain Corps I will start a new thread on it....

Edited to add: It seems the Evening Prayer is Naval custom that I had just (thankfully) avoided the first 9 years of my career.
Edited by - Boron10 on 03/07/2008 11:51:51
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  12:23:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Boron10
3) There is no such thing as a purely "non-denominational" service. You all know that not all religions have a "Heavenly Father," but our Chaplains sure don't seem to realize it.
Yeah, I should have put nondenominational in quotes as well. So why does this shit still go on? Do they get away with the prayers because they've ruled them a "tradition?" I was hoping that not all ships in the navy did this, that the prayers were more an example of an overzealous Captain, but I see that is not the case.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  14:00:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Boron10
3) There is no such thing as a purely "non-denominational" service. You all know that not all religions have a "Heavenly Father," but our Chaplains sure don't seem to realize it.
Yeah, I should have put nondenominational in quotes as well. So why does this shit still go on? Do they get away with the prayers because they've ruled them a "tradition?" I was hoping that not all ships in the navy did this, that the prayers were more an example of an overzealous Captain, but I see that is not the case.
I am not sure how many ships do it. I assume every ship of sufficient size to rate a Chaplain (Carriers, Amphibs, and Cruisers) does. I don't remember hearing it onboard the Destroyers I have ridden, so I'm pretty sure it's not on Destroyers or Frigates (I'm pretty sure I'd remember that sort of thing). I know for a fact that no self-respecting Submariner would put up with that crap on a sub.
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tw101356
Skeptic Friend

USA
333 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2008 :  19:58:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send tw101356 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We had nothing like this when I was in the Army (77-81). On Sundays, they would always do their best to give religious soldiers the opportunity to attend some kind of service, including trucking them to whereever a chaplain was holding forth when we were out on a field exercise. This was always along the lines of a Saturday evening announcement of where to wait for the truck the next morning. Attendance was negligible, at least from my platoon. None of the ceremonies that I attended were accompanied by prayer of any sort. Hoorah speeches certainly, but nary a prayer.

- TW
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2008 :  01:07:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My Navy ship, which only had about 250 officers and crew, from the start of 1965 to the start of 1967, never had religious material piped over the PA system, and prayers at muster were non-existent, as far as I recall.

On part of one voyage in 1966, we had a chaplain who rode with us. We were told we could attend his services if we cared to, or seek his counseling. There was no pressure. It all seemed proper and respectful to diversity, back then. Of course, we didn't have Commander-in-Chief Crusader Rabbit, then, either.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 03/08/2008 01:07:27
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2998 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2008 :  06:12:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, from the small sample size, it seems the military has become much more "religious" over time.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2008 :  07:48:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All of the ships I was aboard were pretty laid back about it. At sea and in foreign ports, there would be an announcement: "Religious services are now being held on the Mess Deck. The Smoking Lamp is out during religious services."

There was never any pressure to attend and no one paid much attention to the brief smoking ban.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2008 :  11:42:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Id like to see data on the near 0% level of non-christian chaplans in the military.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2008 :  12:07:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

Id like to see data on the near 0% level of non-christian chaplans in the military.
I knew of a couple of Rabbis, but that's about it. In my day, I doubt that there were many other sorts, Muslims & so forth. There might be even fewer today.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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