Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Atheists in Foxholes

Another soldier has charged the U.S. military with discriminating against him for being an atheist. Spc. Dustin Chalker, a combat medic who served in Iraq and Korea, says in his lawsuit against the Defense Department that his superiors required him to attend prayer meetings and that the military has a blanket policy allowing Christians to proselytize. Several months ago, Pfc. Jeremy Hall, another Iraq veteran, brought similar charges, saying he was harassed by fellow soldiers for being an atheist and that his promotion was blocked. The Defense Department says there are systems in place to protect the religious rights of soldiers and that only fifty religious discrimination complaints have been filed among the over two million active troops in service. Maybe it’s not a widespread problem, but it shouldn’t be a problem at all. But while blocking promotions on religious grounds and forcing soldiers to attend prayer meetings are easily corrected administrative mistakes, it will probably prove much more difficult to stop soldier-on-soldier harassment. That’s no excuse for such harassment. I’m just saying the troubles I experienced in the Army over my Hello Kitty rucksack didn’t inspire me to sue the Defense Department. More details here.

Blog Archive