Not that I was unaware of this as a result my own experience as a 2LT in the U.S. Army Reserves, but the American military seems to attract to its rank and file a particular breed of moron who brings to the party not just workaday ignorance, but an unusual quickness to anger and a mindset that races toward marginalizing or excluding peers who are outliers for any reason–hardly a prescription for lasting esprit de corps.
This article describes a lawsuit brought two days ago by Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:
An atheist Soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual.
[The lawsuit] criticizes the Army’s 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting “religiosity” as a necessary part of prevention and describing “connectivity to the divine” as “fundamental.”
The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored “Team Faith,” which performs motocross stunt shows to “lead extreme sports athletes to Christ.”
Leaving aside the merits of Chalker’s allegations, a glimpse at the comments–and I understand that those most apt to opine are the hotheaded ones, who hopefully do not represent as large a fraction of soldiers as it often appears–yields a striking and grotesque clash of illiteracy and irrational convictions. A sampling:
SUCK IT UP SPC DUSTIN CHALKER! YOU WOULDN’T BE ON THIS EARTH IF NOT FOR GOD!
Suck it up buddy…just because you believe in nothing doesn’t mean we have to hide our beliefs (that includes all beliefs). You can sit politely and be silent and think little atheist thoughts to yourself.
More BS from a supposed soldier. Suck it up or get the heck out.
As with most athiests he is more concerned with muting the expression of faith than he is with practicing his own lack of faith.
Spc. Chalker should go cry in a corner for crying out loud.
The United States and the Constituion was framed in the Christian, Eurocentric tradition. That is what made the United States a great nation. If Chalker does not believe in the United States and what has made our nation great; discharge him.
I am a Wiccan and the military doesn’t have a Chaplin for them … Do you hear them whining like a baby, just like Chalker? Hell no … So to Chalker and his ilk, do your hitch, get out and get lost.
An atheist is simply a digruntled beliver. What’s up Dustin? Did God not answer your prayers when you were in high school? Remember? The prayer where you asked to be the captain of the football team so you could use the fame and noteriety to get yourself laid by Sally Smallmind the head cheerleader? Poor,poor baby and you cant get any, eh? Well the money from a bull$hit lawsiut could buy you a *****, but only till the cash is gone- then it’s back to pounding the rubber doll your still hiding from mommy….. =W_H_O_R_E
and my favorite:
This whole story is a crock of Sh**.This “character” Chalker is just trying to stir up a hate Christians Campaign to Aggravate the level headed people of the United States and get the soap box radicals to spouting off. Enough said!!!
And it goes on and on. The common theme: Shut up. Get out. Better yet, do both.
Imagine if everyone serving in the military reacted to philosophical differences great and smallcby insisting that those they disagree with be booted from the ranks altogether. Don’t like Jesus? Take a hike. Think football is a waste of time? Fuck off and die. What, you don’t approve of Playboy? Then why are you even here? It seems highly improbable that a competent combat team could be assembled under such circumstances.
This lawsuit, if successful, is not going to impinge on the freedom of religious people to do anything they aren’t already doing. Unfortunately that isn’t the message these good Christian rednecks will take home. Instead, they’ll just hate people like Chalker all the more, with the god of their supposed understanding apparently unwilling to play a moderating role in their low-wattage heads.
Incidentally, I first caught wind of this via this thread in a Facebook discussion group I belong to but rarely look at. Predictably, the backlash Chalker is facing is scarcely limited to a few semicoherent mini-screeds below online news stories.