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Thread: US military accused of harboring fundamentalism

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry US military accused of harboring fundamentalism

    Since his last combat deployment in Iraq, Jeremy Hall has had a rough time, getting shoved and threatened by his fellow soldiers. The trouble started there when he would not pray in the mess hall.
    "A senior ranking staff sergeant told me to leave and sit somewhere else because I refused to pray," Hall, a 23-year-old US army specialist, told AFP.

    Later, Hall was confronted by a major for holding an authorized meeting of "atheists and freethinkers" on his base. The officer threatened to discipline him and block his re-enlistment.

    "He said: 'You guys are being a problem and problems can be removed,'" Hall said. "He was yelling at us and stuff and at the very end he says, 'I really love you guys, I want you to see the light.'"

    Now Hall is suing the major and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, accusing them of breaching his constitutional rights. A campaign group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is waiting for the Pentagon to respond to a lawsuit filed in a Kansas federal court on Hall's behalf.

    It alleges a "pernicious pattern and practice" of infringement of religious liberties in the military.

    The group's founder, former Air Force lawyer Mikey Weinstein, said he has documented 6,800 testimonies by military personnel -- nearly all of them Christians -- of sometimes punitive or humiliating attempts to make them accept a fundamentalist evangelical interpretation of Christianity.

    "I am at war with those people who would create a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the technologically most lethal organization ever created by our species, which is the United States armed forces," he said.

    He plans to add extra charges and possibly other lawsuits this month.

    "It violates title seven of the US code for an employer to push their Biblical world view on an employee," he said. "But it's a trillion times worse when that is not just your shift manager at Starbucks but that is your military superior."

    He singles out one of the major Christian groups in the military, the Officers Christian Fellowship (OCF).

    The group represents 15,000 US military personnel around the world, according to its director, retired Air Force general Bruce Fister.

    "It is not the position of OCF to try and coerce people to believe what we believe," Fister told AFP.

    OCF's aim, as stated on its website, is to achieve "a spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit."

    It professes belief in "the eternal blessedness of the saved; and the everlasting, conscious punishment of the lost."

    Fister emphasized the group's work to support families of soldiers deployed in the "global war on terror."

    "People make mistakes. There's probably been some instances where people have wrongly spoken," he added. "We'd like them not to, but that's life."

    "Our checks within our equal opportunity channels identified fewer than 100 formal complaints over a two-year period," said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez.

    Army spokesman Paul Boyce told AFP: "The Army places a high value on the rights of its soldiers to observe tenets of their respective religious faiths."

    The MRFF's constitutional complaint "is a matter of the courts system to address and resolve," he added.

    "The joint standards of conduct for the Armed Forces and military equal opportunity policies address the freedom of religion, avoiding discrimination because of religion."

    But Weinstein argued that most personnel are "too terrified" to speak out.

    "When you actually fight against them, they make your life hell," said Hall, adding he has been passed over for promotion since launching his lawsuit. "I can't get a leg up no matter what I do."

    A former military chaplain of a prestigious US military college reported being prevented from leading worship after disagreeing with the fundamentalist stance of other officials.

    "I am not ready to say that if someone does not profess Christ as their savior that they are going to hell ... That got a lot of people angered," the minister told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation against a spouse who is a senior officer.

    "The leader of the youth group that ministered to the teens (at the academy) said that Catholics were not Christians and that Muslims hated Christians, and that created a lot of tension," the ex-chaplain added.

    "As a soldier, many times you want to believe you're fighting on the right side. It's easy to kill someone if you believe that they're going to hell and that they are religiously opposed to you."

    US military accused of harboring fundamentalism
    Yeah, that's just what we need.. a professional, zealot military with its finger on the rapture button.

    Fuck, people are stupid.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    You know there is actually a group of insane "christians" that believe they should help bring about end times by creating further discord in the middle east? This is so absurd.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    can't we PLEASE round them all up and dispose of them?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Weird; my fiance was in the USMC and he says he never saw anything like this when he was in the military. I know an atheist who served in the Army for years; I'll ask him if he was ever persecuted.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    there've been rumblings about this crap in all walks of military life.. there were a number of issues with the air force regarding it.

    i forget where i saw it though. same thing, non christians being harassed and it being condoned...

    it's going to bug me now
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    there've been rumblings about this crap in all walks of military life.. there were a number of issues with the air force regarding it.

    i forget where i saw it though. same thing, non christians being harassed and it being condoned...

    it's going to bug me now
    Maybe it's just the Air Force then. Ppl I know who served in the Navy, the Army, and the Marines all make fun of people in the Air Force.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    till they need some air support lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    till they need some air support lol
    The Air Force aren't the only branch of the military to fly planes. C'mon, haven't you ever seen Top Gun? Those dudes were in the NAVY.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    aren't seamen even more mockable than the air force?

    what's the pecking order for making fun?

    Special Forces/rangers/SAS

    Marines

    Army

    Airforce

    Navy

    kitchen help?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    aren't seamen even more mockable than the air force?
    Apparently not, though my Marine fiance teases his Navy brother-in-law constantly. I guess there usually aren't any Army or Air Force people around for him to tease. I think some of the teasing is due to the fact that the USMC has the longest and toughest basic training regime, and the USAF has the easiest and shortest. They're also supposed to have the lowest physical standards, though the Army seems to be chasing them downhill.

    As for me, I respect all of them since they do what I couldn't/wouldn't do at that age but I do admit that I giggle when my Marine teases his Navy BIL. It's funny.

    P.S. You left the Coast Guard off of your list.

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