Well, it appears here at truthout and here over at DailyKos that the MRFF has military members who are ready to challenge the Pentagon in court over the atrocious behavior of certain military chaplains and senior officers. Jason Leopold over at truthout has been documenting the infiltration of the military by right-wing fundamentalist for the last 5 months. See my previous post about the young enlisted folk who were subjected to a verbal barrage by their senior officer.
Here are a couple excerpts from the articles:
“A military watchdog organization filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and a US Army major, on behalf of an Army soldier stationed in Iraq. The suit charges the Pentagon with widespread constitutional violations by allegedly trying to force the soldier to embrace evangelical Christianity and then retaliating against him when he refused….
The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, by the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), on behalf of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist currently on active duty in Speicher, Iraq, alleges that Hall’s First Amendment rights were violated beginning last Thanksgiving when, because of his atheist beliefs, he declined to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony commemorating the holiday…
…the complaint [also] alleges that on August 7, when Hall received permission by an Army chaplain to organize a meeting of other soldiers who shared his atheist beliefs, his supervisor, Army Major Paul Welborne, broke up the gathering and threatened to retaliate against the soldier by charging him with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice
…. The complaint also alleges that Welborne vowed to block Hall’s reenlistment in the Army if the atheist group continued to meet – a violation of Hall’s First Amendment rights under the Constitution. Welborne is named as a defendant in the lawsuit….
The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Fort Riley, Kansas, has been forced to “submit to a religious test as a qualification to his post as a soldier in the United States Army,” a violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.
“This landmark federal litigation is just the first of a galaxy of new lawsuits that will be expeditiously filed against the Pentagon in a concentrated effort to preserve the precious religious liberties guaranteed by our beautiful United States Constitution,” Weinstein said Monday.
The ideology that is being promoted, from the very top of the Pentagon, militates towards an attack on Iran and a necessary religious war – in secular terms, those among Samuel Huntington, et. al, who say we’re headed towards an inevitable a clash of civilizations.
Apocalyptic Christian ideology, in the United States military, may help power that clash. That’s what I’m fighting against, with Michael Weinstein and Chris Rodda, and with MRFF.
As a former Air Force officer, I’ve been aware of this problem for many years. But only in the last couple of years, have I been aware of how bad the problem is. I have a nephew in the Air Force who tells some stories that can give you nightmares. I also have a cousin in Army Intelligence who has also had run-ins with some of these religious freaks.
I’ve had my own share of stories while I was in the Air Force for 8 years. But I really did not seem to have had any animosity directed my way. Perhaps because I’m not religious, and at that time had absolutely no interest in religion for or against. I was completely oblivious to what they were doing. I’m pretty laid back and I tend to ignore and laugh off conversion attempts.
Though in this post, I detail about what happened to me at the Officer Training School. There I had to attend a church service in order to get 5 merits useful to offset demerits. But I went and was pretty up front about why I was in church and bible study, much to the dismay of the chaplain.
Now that I think about it, an attitude of complete and utter disbelief that someone could possible believe in the Rapture garbage and take it serious, can be intimidating to these people. As in “You’ve got to be kidding, right? This is some sort of joke, isn’t it?” I recall a couple of attempts by others to try and get me into their church. But as anyone who knows me, my skepticism is too great a hurdle for any sort of argument.
Way to go MRFF, I hope these fundy bastards lose and end up looking like the pinched faced, prudish, pricks they really are.