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.

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