Christian evangelism/intimidation in the US military


Bush’s ‘you’re either with us or against us’ slogan has been turned on its head to mean ‘even if you’re American if you aren’t Christian go to Hell whether you believe in it or not’.  That’s the problem with simplistic slogans that appeal to everyone’s ego. Lowest common denominator politics; it’s in vogue these day.  There’s always someone who can’t seem to get beyond that.  In the Pentagon there have become so many recent examples of people being harassed or intimidated because they weren’t Christian, or have had Christianity shoved down their throats by peers and superiors alike that the message of Christ, the Savior, if you believe in him, has been lost, and the Constitution of this Republic has been violated.  Here are just a few recent examples.

The Army post in Kansas said it is investigating a message left on Spc. Jeremy Hall’s cell phone. Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, based in Albuquerque, N.M., have a lawsuit pending in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., with the Defense Department and Secretary Robert Gates among the defendants. Foundation President Mikey Weinstein provided a transcript of the message left for Hall early Saturday. The message is laced with obscenities and a racial slur commonly directed at African-Americans, though Hall is white. In it, the caller promises to slit Hall’s throat and drink his blood. The caller also promises to sexually assault Hall’s wife and mother.

Hall serves in a military police company at Fort Riley, and Weinstein said it’s “highly probable” the caller was a fellow soldier. Weinstein said he notified Hall’s company commander and battalion commander’s office and wants the caller found – and court-martialed.

“We have the phone number this death threat came from and the actual voice recording,” Weinstein said. “Even Inspector Clouseau would be able to nab this felon. How hard can this really be?”

Specialist Dustin Chalker a Purple Heart recipient filed suit against the Department of Defense and Robert Gates for relief from being forced to attend religious ceremonies which feature prayers he, as an atheist, does not feel the need to perform, yet feels his position in the military is in jeopardy.  His suit was filed on September 25, 2008 and in it he alleges, he was required by his chain of command to attend a function described as a barbeque where a Christian sectarian prayer was delivered, required by his chain of command to attend a change of command ceremony at Fort Riley, Kansas. The change of command ceremony began and ended with a sectarian Christian prayer delivered by the battalion chaplain and other incidents mentioned in his suit.  Chalker is an atheist and as such does not voluntarily participate in religious services, ceremonies or rituals that are conducted either on and around Fort Riley other military installations to which he is assigned.  The proslytization of the military goes beyond ceremonies where a prayer is spoken, although the military has addressed these concerns they don’t seem to be applied  by commanders and especially the commander in chief.  He’s too busy fighting a global war on terror.  He leaves the job of beating up little guys in the US military to those in the Pentagon.

Spc. Jeremy Hall, who is also an atheist, sued the defense secretary and his supervising officer last year for allegedly trying to force him to embrace fundamentalist Christianity and then retaliating against him when he refused. That lawsuit was amended in March. MRFF is also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The case is still pending in federal court.

Hall’s decision to become a plaintiff with MRFF in a lawsuit against the Pentagon has had repercussions. Last September, while Hall was still stationed in Iraq, he said other U.S. soldiers physically threatened him after word spread that he and MRFF sued the Pentagon and the secretary of defense. On popular military related blogs, such as military.com, individuals who claimed they were active-duty soldiers posted comments threatening Hall with “fragging,” a term used by the military in which an unpopular soldier could be killed by intentional friendly fire during combat. The comment received widespread attention on blogs and in November Hall was transferred from Combat Operations Base Speicher to Fort Riley, Kansas.

The intimidation doesn’t stop with atheists.  For those who cry out it’s multiculturalism that’s destroying the Judaeo-Christian ethic of America, you are WRONG.  It’s bigotry.

A U.S. Army soldier was brutally beaten by other soldiers in his platoon earlier this month following two incidents in which a drill sergeants allegedly used anti-Semitic slurs to address the soldier.

Pvt. Michael Handman, 20, who has just completed his fifth week of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, was recently released from a hospital where he was treated for a concussion, facial wounds, and severe oral injuries following the attack, according to the boy’s father, Jonathan Handman.

*snip*

Michael Handman enlisted in the Army earlier this year. He wears a yarmulke with his uniform, which apparently led his drill sergeants to refer to him as a “fucking Jew” and a “kike” and a demand that he remove the yarmulke during dinner, according to his father. The soldier recently wrote a letter to his mother Randi recounting the anti-Semitism he has endured by his drill sergeants and members of his platoon since arriving for basic training at Fort Benning.

“I have just never been so discriminated against/humiliated about my religion,” Michael Handman wrote his mother. “I just feel like I’m always looking over my shoulder. Like my battle buddy heard some of the guys in my platoon talking about how they wanted to beat the shit out of me tonight when I’m sleeping. It just sucks. And the only justification they have is [because] I’m Jewish. Maybe your dad was right…The Army is not the place for a Jew.”

I call this blowback.  The Bush Administration led a charge against Islamofascist, a term which has found meaning in today’s America, but many have been misled by this call to arms and have taken it upon themselves to interpret it in the way they see fit.  Without any direction from the commander in chief, we have become a Nation that feeds on itself.  Because our enemy was defined in religious terms people’s personal preferences began to confuse those terms and religions to reflect their own bias and hatred.  In some cases that has been perfectly acceptable to the people in power; who want nothing more than to divert citizen’s attention from the  deceit and lies of WMD, the WOT, and the unconstitutional grabs for power they have foisted upon the American public. The buck never stops with this Administration, it just gets passed and people who are somehow different are discouraged from participating.  Chalk that up to  another of Bush’s legacies.

Republicans have become the party of liars


Bush’s legacy is he has reduced his party to one of whiners and he has no one to blame but himself, as do both houses of Congress who have no one to blame but themselves.  It’s a pathetic group of politicians.  The latest offense that has really upset me is the one dealing with the financial bailout and the reasons why it is necessary.  The Republicans began by erroneously blaming minorities and Clinton for the Nation’s financial situation because of the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA which allowed more and more members of minority communities to purchase homes and we called them on it, saying they were the party of sleaze and race baiting.  Unfortunately theirs is a mantra which works on some of their constituents, so they sent out their party hacks to repeat it and much like everything else they utter to cover for the party of race baiters, it’s a lie!  The cause of the housing meltdown lies solely at the feet of the Bush Administration!  You can read all about that here.

Now that they’ve deflected the blame for the cause of the problem, Republicans then set about to say why they can’t solve the problem, blaming a speech Nancy Pelosi gave on the House floor the day of the vote on the Administration’s bail out plan.  Typical.  Does this blame business ever get tiresome with these folks? Of course the corporate equally sleazy media picked up on and broadcast the excuse without commenting on how lame and ridiculous the excuse really was.  Only after Congressman Barney Frank made the comment of the year….”Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country? I don’t believe they had the votes. They are covering up the fact that they don’t have the votes.” did the Republicans come around to saying Pelosi’s verbal bombast wasn’t the reason the bill didn’t pass.

Quite simply the bill is a bad piece of legislation for reasons we’ve already mentioned on this blog, but those reasons are not why House Republicans voted against the measure.  As we’ve discussed the legislation gives broader powers to the executive and specifically the Treasury department than ever before, as well as removes oversight from the other two branches of government.  The Republicans have always given away this power when Bush asked for it, but this time, facing the possibility of defeat in the presidential elections as well as their own seats they decided to listen to the people or did they?  Does anyone else find it ironic that opponents of the bill are now saying such legislation should be more carefully thought out before coming to the floor for a vote?  I seem to remember a lot of peole saying the same thing during the war on terror series of voluminous reams of legislation that were always rushed through at the risk of its opponents being called traitors or siding with the enemies against us. That the Republicans would throw out red herrings which were picked up by the corporate media and hide the real fact of their opposition, that they don’t want to cede this kind of power to a Democratic administration on the eve of what they consider a likely defeat in the presidential elections is just one more example of the pandering and lies they engage in their efforts to frighten, threaten and intimidate the voting public.  I wish I could say at this time that the Democrats are a viable alternative.