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12/31/2005                                                                                       View Comments

Religious Discrimination Continues in the Military

by Wayne Adkins

The United States military has gone to great lengths to accommodate soldiers from a variety of religious backgrounds. They provide dietary alternatives, a variety of chaplains and printed materials from every major religion. They have gone as far as accommodating Wiccan rituals and allowing open Satan worship on military bases and ships. But there is one group of soldiers that the military has turned its back on.

Atheists are still openly disparaged by chaplains in today’s military. Chaplains continue to perpetuate the myth that there are no atheists in foxholes despite the fact that atheists are serving honorably right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The military’s response has been to simply ignore it.

Some chaplains, like Captain Scott McCammon and Major Eric Albertson, have gone as far as saying that atheists are less qualified as soldiers than their religious counterparts. McCammon said in an interview "You can know how to dig a foxhole, but unless you are spiritually fit, you won't have the courage to stick your head out of the hole. I remind them of the old saying, 'There are no atheists in foxholes,' and encourage them not to wait until they get into one to start praying.” Albertson has said “commanders recognize that spiritually fit soldiers are better fighters, and can bring a spirit of determination to the mission that is courageous and heroic,"

They are not alone in their efforts to disparage atheists in the military. They are joined by other chaplains like LTC Herbert Heavner, National Guard, COL Joel Cocklin, Army, CPT James Covey, Army, LTJG Irving Elson, Navy, CMDR Kal McAlexander, Navy, LT Jeff Wheeland, Army, Lt Col Jacqueline Alexander, Army, CPT Bob Hart, Army, Cmdr Charles Kessler, Navy, MAJ Juan Borges, Army, LT Jose Molina, Army, MAJ Reese Friedman, Air Force, LTC Mitchell Ackerson, Army, COL Charles Clanton, Army, CPT Michael Lozano, Army, CPT Matthew Kreider, Army, CPT Jason Peters, Air Force, MAJ John Paul Echert, Air Force and CPT Sam Bowersock, Army. In fact, all these chaplains and more have been identified by the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers on their website at http://www.maaf.info/rptchap.html as chaplains who have perpetuated the untrue stereotype that atheists either don’t serve at all or abandon their beliefs as soon as the bullets start flying.

What happens to chaplains who disparage atheist soldiers during interviews with the media? Nothing happens despite the complaints of atheist soldiers. Imagine what would happen if a chaplain said “Jewish soldiers really do believe in the divinity of Jesus when the enemy attacks”. The military wouldn’t wait for Jewish soldiers to complain. They would reprimand that chaplain quickly and publicly. The implication is exactly the same; that they really believe the same truth that “the rest of us” believe and as soon as they get good and scared they will admit it.

The overt discrimination doesn’t end there. Atheists are not allowed to put atheist on their ID tags as a religious preference. Soldiers must put “no preference” or pay to have their own ID tags made if they want them to say atheist. There is a world of difference between having no religious preference and being an atheist. Often soldiers must choose between religious services and work details. Twice in my career I was told to either go to church or pick up trash. Soldiers are often captive audiences for chaplains as well. The first thing that happened when my plane landed after returning from Iraq was a chaplain boarded and held a ten minute devotional on the PA system before soldiers had an opportunity to get off the plane.

Chaplains are allowed to be dogmatic in their sermons. They can state their beliefs from the pulpit even if they contradict other soldier’s beliefs. They wouldn’t be able to do their job if they couldn’t do that. But when chaplains are speaking to the press and representing the military as an officer, they have absolutely no business singling out a particular group of soldiers and disparaging them because of their beliefs. That is pure and simple bigotry and apparently the senior leadership in the military condones it as they continue to do nothing about it. It’s an easy fix. Unlike other religious groups, atheists need no special accommodation. We don’t need time for services. We don’t need religious literature paid for by taxpayers. We don’t need dietary accommodations. We would just like the military to stop denying that we serve and stop disparaging us in the press.

I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with any other American and fight for their religious freedom. I’ll also stand toe to toe with any American and fight for my own. Enough is enough.

27 comments:

MadBuni said...

Wayne, your post has made me furious.

Chaplains are only preachers in uniform, so they are just like all others, obnoxious and arrogant about having the inside scoop on the existence of god. They automatically assume that atheists are evil people with no morals or feelings as soon as they find out you are one, and they show their narrow minded ignorance by making statements like those you mentioned. Although it does not surprise me that this is going on, it still pisses me off to no end that it is tolerated and these chaplains are allowed to discriminate, disrespect and humiliate fellow soldiers and human beings so openly. (I am sure this is not the only discrimination that goes on) You are right, it should be stopped, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity the same as any other soldier, no matter who they are or what they believe.

I would be glad to do what I can by writing letters to my congressmen, or the military, just let me know if there is anything I can do in this way to help.

Anonymous said...

CJ-R

Anonymous said...

You should send your letter to the media. I just watched a show on 20/20 about the myths & lies people believe. Maybe all of us should send a letter to 20/20 asking them to do a story to clear up the lie. People need to know that there ARE atheists serving in our military. CJ-R

Rotating Anode said...

I remember in boot camp when we had to stand "on line" and pledge to “God, Country, and Corps” every night before a prayer. There was no option, you had to play the game like everyone else, bowing your head and pretending to pray. I didn't mind that they were forcing us to honor our Country and my Marine Corps, those were both pretty logical orders for a military man. The part that got under my skin was that I could not make the pledge to the things I see value in without putting an invisible being first. Sure, having a military who is devoted on many levels, to include fighting for a deity, has been a successful tradition. But in this day and age I do believe that a devotion to Country and Corps is good enough.

After boot camp, I felt no real pressures to believe in gods or the supernatural. I didn't really advertise my lack of faith, and the only time I had to deal with the religious BS was at ceremonies or squadron functions around the holidays. The true atmosphere of the military, on a real level not the one polished up for the brass, surely wasn't a very religious one. I partook of many a night filled with all sorts of hedonistic depravity, right alongside many Christians.

I myself can't speak to being in a fighting hole (Marines don’t hide in a hole like a fox, we fight from them), because the only times I did it were for training playing war. I was in the Air Wing and repaired air traffic control radars. I guess, at least in Capt McCammon’s eyes, you don’t qualify for warrior and hero status unless you jump out of your fighting hole and into a hail of bullets. Though I was a POG, I feel that had the situation arose, I would have been able to follow the orders I was given. I do feel I am qualified to clue you all, and the Capt, in to the Marine Corps mentality. Every marine is a basic rifleman, we are second to none, 10 feet tall, bulletproof and fear nothing, even gods. I have a few examples to prove my point.

This is one of my favorite little Marine Corps Bedtime stories:

230 years of romping, stomping, hell, death, and destruction. The finest fighting machine the world has ever seen. I was born in a bomb crater, my mother was an M-16, my father was the Devil. EACH MOMENT THAT I LIVE IS AN ADDITIONAL THREAT UPON YOUR LIFE.

I am a roughish looking, roving soldier of the sea. I am cocky, self-centered, overbearing, and I do not know the meaning of fear,
FOR I AM FEAR ITSELF! I am a green amphibious monster made of blood and guts who arose from the sea, Whose sole purpose in life is to perpetuate DEATH AND DESTRUCTION UPON THE FESTERING OF ANTI-AMERICANS THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE,
whenever and wherever it may arise.
And when my time comes, I'll die a glorious death on the battlefield, giving my life to mom, apple pie, and the American Flag.

We stole the Eagle from the Air Force, the Anchor from the Navy, the Rope from the Army, and on the Seventh Day while God rested, we overran his perimeter and stole the Globe...
AND WE'VE BEEN RUNNING THE SHOW EVER SINCE.

We live like soldiers, talk like sailors, and slap the hell out of both of them at the same time. Soldier by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice, and MARINE by act of God!


That gives me wood every time I read it, and I think it really captures the Marine mindset. I always found the mention of God in the end humorous. Who needs God when you are the supreme being who overran his perimeter?

It seems the logic of the Chaplains is that the faithful are better soldiers because they do not fear death, thinking that if and when they get blown to smithereens they are going to meet the sky daddy. Why would you need faith in a God when you are in a fighting hole and you are surrounded by a fire team of fellas who all had a bit of a god complex themselves? Why not eliminate the thought of death altogether, thinking only of completing the mission successfully? Let me tell you, being an atheist does not make the inflated vision of self any less contagious or grand. You may very well not believe in a deity, but that invincible attitude is engrained from early on.

Even the third verse of the Marine Corps Hymn eludes to Marines being supernatural themselves:

Here's health to you and to our Corps Which we are proud to serve;

In many a strife we've fought for life And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy Ever gaze on Heaven's scenes,

They will find the streets are guarded By United States Marines.


My agnostic self finds the imagery apealling, even though they are tossing a bit of religon in. Do I have to be faithful in a god to appreciate that once again I am better than everyone else??? No. I wish the Chaplains could see how a hero fighting for god and a hero who answers to no god are just as likely to shine.

The final quote I will post is of the Marine Corps Rifleman's Creed. Again, there is a mention of God, but he plays a very little part in the overall intent of the pledge.

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me.

I will.

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count.

We will hit.

My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy.


Again, the courage and "spirit of determination" are derived from the ego, not a deity. We are not delivered by god, “We are the saviors of my life”, America, Mom, apple pie, and your Freedom!

So, Mr. Chaplain, when your brass ass gets in a bind, you pray to your God… But you better hope he is using the chain of command to ultimately send in a butter bar and enlisted troops who fear nothing to save your worthless ass! And if you are lucky, the guys in the rear with the gear, my fellow POGs, are keeping everything up to snuff to guide you back home and land you safely.

Dave8 said...

Marine Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Creed;

"I am an NCO dedicated to training new Marines and influencing the old. I am forever conscious of each Marine under my charge, and by example will inspire him to the highest standards possible. I will strive to be patient, understanding, just, and firm. I will commend the deserving and encourage the wayward.

I will never forget that I am responsible to my Commanding Officer for the morale, discipline, and efficiency of my men. Their performance will reflect an image of me."

It appears that the chaplain corps needs to take some lessons on leadership. The Senior Leader of the chaplain corps is ultimately responsible for the gross negligence of those under their command... The chaplain corps' responsibility is to bring unity/harmony among soldiers, so that battlefield leaders can focus that "team" esprit energy toward obtaining tactical objectives, one team one fight...

The chaplain corps, has been a total disgrace, as they continue to create a "separatist" mentality, which cripples a commanders' ability to attack with unity of effort...

If the chaplain corps can not find a way to create that unity... then, perhaps, when the next round of outsourcing occurs, the chaplains should be "released" from active duty, and military members allowed to receive their belief needs, in the civilian sector...

I am not going to get deep into the national security objectives, used to support the national security strategy, but... if the military is to serve over-seas in areas that are extremely volatile due to religious tension, then... perhaps, its not the wisest move to stick a big 'cross' out in the open on the battle grounds or in a foreign country (anywhere)... Rome no longer exists, congress needs to pull their heads out, and prevent the stupidity from continuing... all it requires is a few parents to write a few letters to some members of congress, voicing their outrage...

There's nothing like serving humanity based on values, and stepping up and be willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice... These "little" issues don't show up in the "recruiters'" office, as recruiters are under extreme pressure (their career is on the line most times) to say whatever they believe a soldier wants to hear, in order to get them enlisted... However, once entering the service, and believing they are fighting for humanity, and values of a nation, they find others who are serving for different reasons, and chaplains pushing religious "agendas"... If chaplains are allowed to "push" their religious agendas, then how is it possible for the U.S. to say with "any" integrity to the international community, that "religion" isn't a major factor in its "national security strategy"...

If there were a true separation of church and state, then there needs to be a total separation..., catering to the numerous belief systems doesn't do anything but continue to perpetuate the "us-them" mentality internal to the ranks of the military and externally to the international community... Even during initial "training" for the military, there is inequality due to religion... Those who are in boot camp, or basic training understand this...

There is time-off given to those who want to go worship on sunday, "if you are a believer", for those who don't "believe" or have services available, you are left in the barracks, without time off, to clean up, and conduct other chores... In short, its a type of coercion to push people into the "house of the lord" or some "mystical" belief system, and is nothing short of silenced bigotry...

Even the NCO, who is paid much less than chaplain officer, knows, "I am forever conscious of each Marine under my charge, and by example will inspire him to the highest standards possible." Where the highest standards possible, don't reflect or encourage bigotry, hatred, and separationist behavior...

If the U.S. military wants to support their NCOs and prevent separatist behavior, and promote equality... perhaps, chucking "religious" doctrine, that supports that type of behavior, should be the "first" step, and then, not-supporting religions who create "exclusivity"...

Oh, and pardon me for a second, but... that means exegesis of the word, i.e., literally taken, as I am sure, there will be at least "one" moron, who says "golly gee, I dont' interpret, 'kill the witches', to mean, 'kill the witches'" If they go down that slippery slope, then perhaps the military should have a chaplain to represent the over 1,000 denominations of christianity, and all of the "interpretations" possible... the whole business of having religion in the military at all, is totally asinine...

Allowing religionists to get its dirty paws on national identity, has, and will continue to be damaging...

"The words "under God" were inserted into the pledge by Congress in 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic organization."
http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=3716

The word "god" is still there, because congress doesn't want to "own" up, to their incompetence... which is, taking care of the nation...

Audie said...

test

Anonymous said...

I was active duty navy for 5 years and I was fortunate enough to have things like bibles left on my pillow, my C.O. telling people from the ship that he was afraid of my religion. My religious tools were confiscated on the premise that candles, tarot cards and incense are dangerous weapons. There is really no tollerance for non-christians in the military. This is just a small portion of what I was forced to endure just on the basis of my religion. More info E-mail batsudo_shihan@yahoo.com. Dont believe everything that you read.

Pagan Navy said...

Batsudo_shihan@yahoo.com

Audie said...

Ok, It works now. Thats what the test was about.

I do not know where Mr Adkins has served, but I can tell you that what he wrote is not happening here in Iraq. If you do not know me by now, I am sitting here on beautiful Camp Liberty in lovely Bahdad, Iraq. Let me say that there is no "persecution" of Athiests going on around here. Most people will say that they believe, or that they were "baptised as a child" or whatever. But they drink, fight, and fuck with the rest of us. Truth be told, the Jerry Fallwell type fundy is rare in the Armed Services. This is also true in the chaplin corp. Most chaplins I've known are there to help soldiers with problems, not to preach. A few that I've known I don't think are even "saved". Our chaplin here is a great guy who has already helped a number of soldiers with family and personal problems. One soldier I know became suicidal, and the chaplin was there and helped.
In my 16 years of Active service, I've only heard of the Fundy preacher chaplin that tells everyone they are going to Hell and to Repent!!! But I've never met him. Maybe he's just an Urban Legand?
But whatever the case, life in Uncle Sam's Army is not the way Mr Adkins described it. If anything, it is the fundy type who catches the most shit. There was a young "born again" guy who came to my unit a few years ago. We fucked with him hard, showed him porn, pushedhim to drink, them FINALLY got him laid for the first time. He was truely "born Again" after that.

and as far as dog tags, most of buy our own anyway. That way we can get stupid shit like "norse", "Egyptian", or even "Flying Spegitti Monster". put on them.

If you are serving or have served, please respond and tell us about your experences, or to tell me how fucked up I am. LOL

Sarge said...

I'm retired now, had two tours in 'Nam, now pensioned because of what happened to me there. Was an atheist then, am an atheist now. As a military brat as well, I met chaplains who were good people, some who were "sirs" before anything else.

One thing I noticed, though, when the shit went down I heard about as many people calling on their mothers as on their diety of choice. The results of such petitions into the sky were the same.

LadySidhe said...

Though I, personally, believe in a spiritual
"someone," I understand and accept that not everyone else does--and it
seems to me that, dammit, that's a choice that no one should be able
to make but the individual, and they shouldn't catch hell for it,
especially at work. Soldiers of every stripe are out there risking
their lives for this country. Those asses who can't get over religious
beliefs (or a lack thereof) are missing the point. You don't have to
believe in a god or be straight to defend the country. Gays and
athiests have been in the military for thousands of years.

They need to get over it, already.

AtheistMommy said...

I like the idea of sending something to 20/20. They've been a bit too religious lately. I don't really understand why everyone is so uptight about other religions and Atheism. Particularly Atheism. I went to the Atheists in foxholes even in DC. Those men are the strongest Atheists I have ever met. It was wonderful to hear their stories. I'm so glad I attended. I just wish more people had made it there to honor them. They deserve that much. Maybe next year.


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Anonymous said...

While I understand that having chaplains in the Armed Forces is comforting to most soldiers, having them is not going to help much when you need to grab a gun and worry about the people with AK's or RPG's instead of whether or not God is going to give a shit.

I am for the idea that chaplains should not be a part of the armed services. If people want to bring bibles they can, then they can read them on their spare time.

-jake

Audie said...

Jake,
I understand your position and kind of agree with you, but what do you replace him/her with? A Battalion Pshchologist? Woundn't work. These guys are not the Fire and Brimestone preachers that you think they are. Our Chaplin has done nothing but good things since we've been here. He has helped countless soldiers with thier problems, to include a potential suicide.
Something else, about a month ago, our chaplin was in a convoy rolling through Bahgdad, when they were ambushed. The vehicle in front of his was shot up pretty bad, so he dismounts from the relative safety of his uparmored, runs under fire to the shot up truck, and begins to help the wounded. While this is going on, he gets shot in the hand. His middle finger is hanging by skin, and he still renders aid to others.
Anyway. tell me about the chaplins who you delt with when you served. ~Audie

carol said...

Hi, Jake and Audie,

In my years of active duty Marine Corps time in the 80s, I remember little to nothing about religion and did not even know a chaplain.

And Sarge, I agree, when I was in a foxhole during training, I was startled awake and yelled, "Mommy." LOL. I related this story in more detail on this site already.

Currently I volunteer at the Riverside Nat'l Cemetery and have the privlidge of being friends with a wonderful Navy Chaplian, retired, who also volunteers. He is a jewel and never bothers myself of anyone about their beliefs. He may be a rarity, but some are just good people trying to help.

Regards, carol

Dave8 said...

I have served, in combat, and in many hostile places, and been exposed to the chaplain corps, even to this very day... Sure, we should "look" at the person first, and then their beliefs... being able to separate the person from their beliefs, is the hallmark of one who is not bigotted...

Unfortunately, if a chaplain is conducting humanitarian assistance, then, why not use psychologists... As a matter of fact, a chaplain and psychologist have the exact same code of ethics and client/patient trust relationship... A priest who hears of something illegal, has to report the matter as well as the psychologist... What does the "chaplain", other than a warm loving body, bring to the "fight"...

In history, chaplains were necessary to give burial rites, etc., when soldiers were buried in foreign lands, or at sea... As far as giving psychological advice, and helping those who are suicidal, I don't personally know of an active duty chaplain that is "qualified" to assist someone in that capacity... they may "refer" a person to a psychologist, but, they are not themselves giving the counselling... The Army has Mental Health Specialists, 68X's, who are trained to conduct similar services as a psychologist, why not expand their role...

Chaplains are too few, to support "all" of the different religious denominations, and therefore, there is the inequality issue, which will never be overcome... there are far more religions than chaplains... then, if one chaplain were truly pluralistic, and observant of other religions, then, they would have to be qualified to perform specific rituals, etc., and that isn't possible... a Baptist affiliated chaplain can not give a Jewish sermon, etc... it would be disastrous...

If Chaplains, want to serve the military, then fine... let them serve in a meutral capacity as 68X's, and other like fields... coming onto active duty with a "religious" tag on the sleeve, etc., creates an inequality issue from the day they put boots on ground...

In addition, I don't believe "religious" affiliation should be part of the military record... what the "fuck" good does it do "anyone" to place their religious affiliation anywhere in a military record, even dog-tags... For what purpose, can a persons' religious affiliation "help" them, with their unit... it can't, the only possible reason one would be required to give up their religious background, is when they are being probed for their potential to act as an extremist...

Still, I'm not sure knowing someone's religious background, gives any "clues" to how a person is going to act in combat... I mean, guys go out and party, have fun together in the rear with the gear, and then when put into a... compromising position, where they have to choose their religion, or their buddies... well... stuff happens...

"In April, a sergeant in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, Hasan Akbar, was convicted of murder and attempted murder for a grenade and rifle attack that killed two officers and wounded 14 soldiers in Kuwait in 2003 during the opening days of the war in Iraq.

Akbar, 34, a Muslim, told investigators he carried out the attack because he was upset that American troops would kill fellow Muslims. He was sentenced to death."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7210-2005Apr21.html

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/11/02/military/16_26_2411_1_05.txt

Religions create an atmosphere where soldiers have to determine their "true" allegiance, either it be to their god, or their sworn duty... One would think, that a person who swears to perform their duty, and who states that they are religious, wouldn't be the one to break their oath/promise... but, then we have case after case of these type incidents...

Religion, is not used to determine the best qualified to enter the service... Religion in military records, are used to determine how many chaplains, and what types of chaplains will be needed from a manning standpoint, and further used as a basis to "review" someones' potential to "work" in certain aspects of the military...

Again, I have a real problem, with people pushing 'religion' before their sworn duty... Is it; god, corps, country... or... country, god, corps... or... family, god, corps... When one signs their enlistment contract, they don't Prioritize their allegiances, they just state, that they will perform the duties assigned to them by their commanding officers...

The U.S. military doesn't give out "what" prioritization a soldier must have, because it would hurt the recruiting service... If people were only allowed to enter the service, under: "country, god, corps", then we wouldn't have the religious elitists in the service... Even to this day, there are "core values" being taught to other members of the armed forces, i.e., the Air Force, where; Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do, are the key Values, in priority order... But, "Integrity" to What? Integrity to the Self First, then Integrity to the Country first, or perhaps Integrity to ones' God first...

When the military, and federal government finally figures out, what values they want in the service, and what the priorities are, will there be any conclusion to this discussion...

The bible in itself is hate speech, against witches, non-believers, etc., and provides direct scripture, to hold everyone else accountable to the sword, except fellow christians... Judaism has similar scripture... And a myriad of other religions... I wonder what will happen if we are forced to enter Israel and Palestine, how will the Jewish service members react under stress...

Again, its the chaplain corps, itself, doctrinally, that creates the "god" above all else mantra... and that is anathema to a commander who has a job to do with unity of command... Commanders can not be expected to keep unity of command, with all of the "different" gods running around, warring with each other, and vieing for allegiance to their cause first...

Perhaps, this is what Constantine I, was faced with, and is why he took the action he did... by creating a state/empire religion and forcing the citizens to uphold the same values...

Perhaps, there is a difference in these days... As, Rome, using religion, forced the citizens to a common cause, and unity of purpose, i.e., similar to a "draft", in the name of "god"...

Today, as a nation, we have a volunteer force, and are not in the mode to take over the world like Rome... Perhaps, we have a little more flexibility to "choose" those who have common values, with a clear conscience, as opposed to forcing people to enter the military, who have a conflict between their religious allegiance, and the allegiance required to maintain unity of purpose for a country...

Audie, I agree, that there are good people of all rank, and position... but good people, are placed in situations that are beyond their control most times... If I were to write, in a book... "Kill all Muslims who not believe in the Christian God"... I would be dismissed from the service, as serving out hate speech... but that same "hate speech", sits in the bible, and is printed using federal money, with camo covers, and passed to military personnel by chaplains... Such, is their job, if they didn't do such... what would be their job...

On a side note, from a behaviorial science stance... the ribbing, you gave the fundy who entered your unit, was a method to determine their allegiance... between, their soldier buddies, and their god... There are religions, who actually have "in writing", methods for deception, in order to maintain an appearance of allegiance.. Such, was the literature at the time of Roman persecution, which exists to this day... take care...

Russian Racehorse said...

I'm in the Air Force, and I had hernia surgery back in November. As I was waiting in the pre-op room, an Army chaplain (Colonel) was making his rounds of all the beds, praying with various patients. He came up to me and started chit-chatting. I was polite, but not overly friendly. Then he went into his sales pitch. He asked, "What is your religious preference?" I answered, "None." This took him aback for a moment, and then he recovered with, "Do you mean you're a general believer without a denomination?" I said, "No, my religious preference is none." His eyes got big as though I was going to infect him with my disease. He then muttered something like, "I wish you all the best" before scuttling off to find someone who was buying his product. It was really weird to see his reaction.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are some Chaplains with only good intentions in mind and then there are those that think that they are spiritually superior, the bigots, I 'm afraid the religious bigots outnumber the ones with good intentions that mean no malace.

Mike said...

Just a humble Navy corpsman here, proud to have served a very short and relatively uneventful tour of duty in the Reserves. We had some born agains in my unit and a couple of mormons. Religion however was just not a topic that came up. I do recall in boot camp, however, that all the recruits (well, most of them anyway) seemed to be trying a little too hard to demonstrate to everyone else just religious they were.

Even though I am a believer, I can't stand people who just assume I need to be saved and try to force their beliefs on me. I am glad to say that never happened to me while in the Navy.

Honestly though, I never saw any action during my service so I guess there wasn't much of a test of faith. In fact, I have actually been in more combat action under fire as a paramedic in South Phoenix than I ever had in the military.

I would like to say that I think the chaplains do serve a legitimate purpose in the military; I never knew that accomodations were actually made for satanists but I can understand the military illogic behind that. I can also see why the military has no accomodations for atheists simply because the military probably doesn't realize that there might be something they can provide. But that's no excuse.

I do not agree with the the beliefs of the atheists but if an atheist is willing to pick up a rifle and defend my right to disagree with him/her then the atheist deserves as much respect as anyone else who wears the uniform.

Dave8 said...

Hey Mike, I can see why there is a need for a god in the Navy... When in a Marine Corps capacity, I had to sit in the butts pulling targets over a six year period, and spot the shots for corpsmen and Marines, as they qualified on their weapon... I always knew, when a corpsman was firing, as opposed to a Marine... instead of spotting shot holes on the actual target, and running the target up, I typically just tried to keep the dirt out of my eyes, as I looked up at the target and only saw dirt flying... I always wondered how many worms the corpsmen killed, but, it was good entertainment ;-) But, all in all, the corpsmen did a great job, I knew... it really used to chaff my ass, to force march the typical 15-20 miles every week, with my 80lb ALICE pack, while they followed in a Hummer, waiting for someone to pass out... but, we each choose our professions...

Well, again, I don't see chaplains getting in the way often, its the bible, and the hate speech, and the opportunity for abuse in combat... there are so many reasons I can think of "not" to allow religion to enter a military capacity...

Anyway, I have a troop who is getting his degree in theology, and we get along fine..., however, he doesn't bring up theology, and I ensure religion, stays out of the work area... For instance, a chaplain came by an introduced himself, to the troops, and I let him know, non-verbally that if he crossed the "line", he was going down, as "hard" and "painful", as I could make it... He hasn't been back, so, we get along just fine...

On a lighter note...

"Accused of espionage, Army Capt. James Yee saw his notoriety bloom overnight. He was vilified on the airwaves and on the Internet as an operative in a supposed spy ring that aimed to pass secrets to al-Qaeda from suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Yee ministered to them. After his arrest, Yee was blindfolded, placed in manacles and taken to a Navy brig, where he spent 76 days in solitary confinement."

"Eight months later, all the criminal charges against the 36-year-old West Point graduate have melted away. A subsequent reprimand has been removed from his record. And while many legal analysts are questioning whether a security-conscious military over-reached in its investigation, Yee is back home at Fort Lewis, Wash., pondering what remains of his military career.

Military officials involved in the case won't say what they thought they had on Yee, or why they pursued him with such zeal. Prosecutions are proceeding against three other men — two Arabic translators and an Army Reserve colonel — who worked at Guantanamo, where the military is holding nearly 600 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The decision to jail Yee was made by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, then commander of Guantanamo's detention camp. He oversaw the espionage investigations of all four men."

"When the Army dropped six criminal counts against Yee in March, military officials said they did so to avoid making sensitive information public — not because he was innocent. An Army general stressed that again in April, when he took the unusual step of removing the case from Yee's permanent military record."
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-05-16-yee-cover_x.htm

Let me explain, my position, as one who doesn't have to patron a god or a devil... If I ever enter into a combat zone, and I have information about a chaplain and treason, "because they feel they are doing a humanitarian service for their religion" by aiding the enemy, I will do everything in my official capacity, to ensure, they are put to death, as fast, and efficient as possible...

I really, adhere to the letter of the law... Chaplains, come into the service believing they are untouchable because of the Laws Of Armed Conflict, but... that is protection from the "enemy", in a combat zone, if they are seen as treasonous or creating a mutiny, and putting american lives on the line, they become an enemy combatant... and... they become candidates for a bullet in the forehead... I wonder if they get that brief, while in seminary...

Again, a religious person who actually believes their doctrine, will in fact attempt to support those of their "faith", even if that means, supporting the enemy... I don't think the federal government, and military, should be in the position, to determine which chaplains, are more convinced of their "faith" than others... Those who are really convinced of their "faith" and doctrine, get overlooked for service, but... those less convinced, well, they get a second look for employment... If they aren't willing to die for their beliefs, then they aren't worth the money the american taxpayer is giving them, if they are willing to die for their religion, then they are a detriment to military operations... in short, chaplains, shouldn't be in the military service, in my opinion...

Personally, I believe that the evidence against Capt. Yee was strong enough to keep him in custody, and he is only alive, because they used his information to get other operatives... Two Star Generals, don't make rash decisions, they have slews of support at their disposal... If Capt Yee would have made his actions in a combat environment, and attempted to aid and abet the enemy, he would have come home a hero... in a body bag...

Mike said...

Wait. . . . we were supposed to be shooting at targets?

Dave8 said...

Hypothetically speaking, yes, targets were the primary objective... However, if you were doping/sighting in and picking off worms in the burm, 500 yds out, with open sights, then... I am awed... I should see you, and all other Navy corpsmen competing at the next olympics :-)

Mike said...

There's an old saying among corpsman: we carry two bullets in our .45s one for our patient and one for ourselves. despite the obvious morbid insinuations in this saying it would seem pretty clear that both targets ought to be significantly less than 500 hundred yards so if we can't make those two shots than we're pretty well F#@ked anyway. lol

SpaceMonk said...

Rotating Anode,

I just have to say that the only place I've seen more sickening bullshit than the quotes you gave is in the bible.

The fact that such pitiful vomit gives guys like you 'wood' is what's wrong with this world.

“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” - Henry Kissinger

Patriotism is stupid.

Anonymous said...

You folks are beyond belief.
I will ask God to bless you.

There take that!

Did it hurt?

boomSLANG said...

Drive-by fundy said: "You folks are beyond belief."

Well, you're almost right....we're beyond FALSE belief.

"Ho, ho, ho...Merry X-mas!" LMAO!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dads first cousin was an Army Captain Chaplain, Gilbert Spencer, in WW II. He was killed in Luzon Islands. He was the only son and is buried beside his folks in southern Ohio. My son Spencer was born the same day as Gilbert. I found this info out after he was born. Could Gods hand be on this, maybe, but I simply do not know for sure. Does it matter, not really. I pray my son will not have the same life ending as Gilbert, but I personally know I want him to have peace with God. As for your choices, I could care less if you don't believe in God. I have had friends that don't believe in God and that is their choice. One of my good buddies in college said he was athiest. His call. He always respected my need to believe. I am sorry to say I don't believe in a health and wealth God. The Bible says God even knows when a sparrow drops. Peace buddy.