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#766615 --- 03/07/08 04:45 PM Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion
Reinhart Faust Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 6953
Loc: This Island Earth
TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- A soldier claimed Wednesday that his promotion was blocked because he had claimed in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist.

Attorneys for Spc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation refiled the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, and added a complaint alleging that the blocked promotion was in response to the legal action.

The suit was filed in September but dropped last month so the new allegations could be included. Among the defendants are Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Hall alleges he was denied his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while he was deployed in Iraq with his military police unit. He says in the new complaint that his promotion was blocked after the commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley sent an e-mail post-wide saying Hall had sued.

Fort Riley spokeswoman Alison Kohler said the post "can't comment on ongoing legal matters" and offered no further statement.

According to the lawsuit, Hall was counseled by his platoon sergeant after being informed that his promotion was blocked. He says the sergeant explained that Hall would be "unable to put aside his personal convictions and pray with his troops" and would have trouble bonding with them if promoted to a leadership position.

Hall responded that religion is not a requirement of leadership, even though the sergeant wondered how he had rights if atheism wasn't a religion. Hall said atheism is protected under the Army's chaplain's manual.

"It shouldn't matter if one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist," said Pedro Irigonegaray, an attorney whose firm filed the lawsuit. "In the military, all are equal and to be considered equal."

Maj. Freddy J. Welborn was named in the lawsuit as the officer who prevented Hall from holding a meeting of atheists and non-Christians. It alleges that Welborn threatened to file military charges against Hall and to block his re-enlistment. Welborn has denied the allegations.

The lawsuit alleges that Gates permits a military culture in which officers are encouraged to pressure soldiers to adopt and espouse fundamentalist Christian beliefs, and in which activities by Christian organizations are sanctioned.

Hall's attorneys say Fort Riley has permitted a culture promoting Christianity and anti-Islamic sentiment, including posters quoting conservative columnist Ann Coulter and sale of a book, "A Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam," at the post exchange.

The Pentagon has said that the military values and respects religious freedoms, but that accommodating religious practices should not interfere with unit cohesion, readiness, standards or discipline.

Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the religious freedom foundation, said the lawsuit would show the "almost incomprehensible national security risks to America" posed by the military's pattern of violating the religious freedom of those in uniform.

"It is beyond despicable, indeed wholly unlawful, that the United States Army is actively attempting to destroy the professional career of one of its decorated young fighting soldiers, with two completed combat tours in Iraq, simply because he had the rare courage to stand up for his constitutional rights," Weinstein said in a statement.

Weinstein previously sued the Air Force for acts he said illegally imposed Christianity on its students at the academy. A federal judge threw out that lawsuit in 2006.
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#766651 --- 03/07/08 06:08 PM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Reinhart Faust]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY
I am hoping this is not what it seems. BUT, if it is, I do hope someone higher up in the Army fixes it soon. We are a nation of tolerance, or at least should be. The man served his country, no matter what his belief or non-belief is, if he deserves the promotion, he should get it.

This reminds me of the case where Wiccans were denied monuments depicting their signs on grave markers in Arlington and other National cemeteries. I signed a petition to change that as well.

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#766933 --- 03/08/08 11:03 AM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Strawberry Jam]
Retired Soldier Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 12/23/05
Posts: 12945
Loc: Rochester, NY
AWOL soldier claims mistreatment by commanders, wants inquiry
March 7, 2008
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) _ A 10th Mountain Division soldier who went AWOL claiming his commanding officers threatened to send him back to Iraq despite his listing as medically unfit for combat planned to surrender Friday to Fort Drum authorities and ask for an investigation into his treatment.

Spec. Bryan Currie, 21, of Charleston, S.C., will ask U.S. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to convene a Court of Inquiry _ a rarely used administrative fact-finding process _ to investigate top generals at Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; and Fort Hood, Texas, said Tod Ensign of the New York City-based veterans' advocacy group CitizenSoldier.

The request calls for convening a panel to investigate the case of Currie and four other soldiers at Fort Carson and Fort Hood who also were set to be deployed despite medical holds.




A Court of Inquiry includes at least three high-ranking military officers and can subpoena civilians, Ensign said. Geren can refuse the request.

The court should "investigate the extent to which the (generals) have been derelict in failing to provide for the health and welfare of wounded soldiers," according to the request.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the secretary's office had not yet received the request, but would examine it once it arrived.

"The U.S. Army recognizes the complexities of the personal-readiness system and understands that individuals sometimes may dispute their status," Boyce said.

"Caring leaders and competent commanders make difficult decisions every day to balance soldiers' personal physical limitations with the mission requirements of national defense for America and its citizens," he said. "We would not knowingly deploy a soldier into combat who should not be deployed."

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#767023 --- 03/08/08 02:14 PM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Retired Soldier]
Josephus Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 11561
Loc: NYS
Originally Posted By: Retired Soldier
AWOL soldier claims mistreatment by commanders, wants inquiry
March 7, 2008
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) _ A 10th Mountain Division soldier who went AWOL claiming his commanding officers threatened to send him back to Iraq despite his listing as medically unfit for combat planned to surrender Friday to Fort Drum authorities and ask for an investigation into his treatment.

Spec. Bryan Currie, 21, of Charleston, S.C., will ask U.S. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to convene a Court of Inquiry _ a rarely used administrative fact-finding process _ to investigate top generals at Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; and Fort Hood, Texas, said Tod Ensign of the New York City-based veterans' advocacy group CitizenSoldier.

The request calls for convening a panel to investigate the case of Currie and four other soldiers at Fort Carson and Fort Hood who also were set to be deployed despite medical holds.




A Court of Inquiry includes at least three high-ranking military officers and can subpoena civilians, Ensign said. Geren can refuse the request.

The court should "investigate the extent to which the (generals) have been derelict in failing to provide for the health and welfare of wounded soldiers," according to the request.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the secretary's office had not yet received the request, but would examine it once it arrived.

"The U.S. Army recognizes the complexities of the personal-readiness system and understands that individuals sometimes may dispute their status," Boyce said.

"Caring leaders and competent commanders make difficult decisions every day to balance soldiers' personal physical limitations with the mission requirements of national defense for America and its citizens," he said. "We would not knowingly deploy a soldier into combat who should not be deployed."


I'm not altogether sure what this has to do with one's religious freedoms being violated, although I suppose it is an alligation of coercion and negligence by a superior.

Have you agreed to meet with SkySoldier's brother, the Major posted at Fort Drum? Inquiring minds want to know...
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I don't want my country back... I want my country forward!

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#767028 --- 03/08/08 02:25 PM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Josephus]
donedirtcheap Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/15/06
Posts: 5604
Loc: boondocks
reminds me of my favorite flick...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s9F7p3w9jQ
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#767065 --- 03/08/08 03:15 PM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: donedirtcheap]
Josephus Offline
Silver Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 11561
Loc: NYS
"Flush out your head gear, new guy..."

Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin)

_________________________
I don't want my country back... I want my country forward!

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#795770 --- 04/26/08 06:16 AM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Josephus]
Strawberry Jam Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 07/11/04
Posts: 34421
Loc: Herkimer County NY

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#796798 --- 04/27/08 06:14 PM Re: Atheist Soldier Denied Promotion [Re: Strawberry Jam]
SkySoldier Offline
Diamond Member

Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 25300
Loc: Finger Lakes National Forest, ...
I know many GOD fearing soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Mavy personelm amd Coast Guard who have been denied promotion too.


And mo, he cannot meet with my Brother. First, he would have to be a real soldier.

He is not. ;\)


He would not be allowed on base, Josephus.
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America has problems.

We can fix that.

America is not THE problem.

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