Monday, April 28, 2008

Atheism and the military

Well... here's an example of badly missing the concept (from a New York Times article, "Soldier Sues Army, Saying His Atheism Led to Threats.")


"When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.

But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.

Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement."


I don't know what's worse, equating Christianity with America or bringing about formal punishments for people for not believing.

Having said that, I would bet there are a lot more places in the world where you would actually be punished for professing Christianity than there are where Christians do the punishing (though, the later type of story is more newsworthy.) An example of the former.

Thanks David for the NYT link!


MorseCode said...

The trend seems to be that wherever there is a religious majority it is more likely to punish (or try to punish) those who aren't members of the majority religion.

Luckily the US has laws that protect the minority. If only certain Christians would remember that.

Brad Wright said...

Yes, that sounds write. Having said that, I would add the wrinkle that local majorities can happen--groups that are in the minority nationally but in the majority in a specific community or setting.

MorseCode said...

Which may be what's happening with the military. I recall a study that stated that fundamentalist evangelical Christians were disproportionately represented in the armed services.

Could be misremembering, of course.