Author Topic: Atheists in US military  (Read 648 times)

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Offline Chronos

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Atheists in US military
« on: November 14, 2011, 05:04:05 PM »
Atheists in U.S. military seek official recognition

Quote
Reporting from Ft. Meade, Md.— Capt. Ryan Jean wanted to perform well on the Army's psychological evaluation. But he also wanted to answer the questions honestly. So when he was asked whether he believed his life had a lasting purpose, Jean, an atheist, saw no choice but to say no.

Those and other responses, Jean says, won him a trip to see the post chaplain, who berated him for his lack of faith.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 08:55:24 PM »
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"He basically told me that if I don't get right with God, then I'm worthless," said Jean, now an intelligence officer at Ft. Meade. "That if I don't believe in Jesus, why am I in uniform, because this is God's army, and that I should resign my commission in order to stop disgracing the military."

I almost want to call bullshit on this. Chaplains are instructed to be "all inclusive". If his Chaplain actually said this to him then that Chaplain needs to be reminded of his place. But I guarantee you that this Chaplains POV is not inline with military REGs.

Basically we have no idea what the Chaplain actually said.

Reporting from Ft. Meade, Md.— Capt. Ryan Jean wanted to perform well on the Army's psychological evaluation. But he also wanted to answer the questions honestly. So when he was asked whether he believed his life had a lasting purpose, Jean, an atheist, saw no choice but to say no.

Those and other responses, Jean says, won him a trip to see the post chaplain, who berated him for his lack of faith.

How many atheists on this forum hold the view that your life has no lasting purpose? I think he was told to visit the Chaplain because he answered the questions in such a way that made him sound suicidal.

In short...Fuck this nigga.



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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 09:18:39 PM »
Last time I recall, being a Christian wasn't a requirement for joining the military.

If I do end up joining (thinking about it), I'll be entertained if I experience any of this. As Jaybwell said, if anybody does something of the sort, always report it to those above you.

There is one shocking thing to read about that is disturbing, especially since I was thinking about the Air Force if I join:

Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

Offline jtp56

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 09:29:05 PM »
Last time I recall, being a Christian wasn't a requirement for joining the military.

If I do end up joining (thinking about it), I'll be entertained if I experience any of this. As Jaybwell said, if anybody does something of the sort, always report it to those above you.

There is one shocking thing to read about that is disturbing, especially since I was thinking about the Air Force if I join:

Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

I spent 4 years in the Air Force (enlisted, non-stellar compared to today's veterans).  I am pro military service.  I think it is a good thing for a young person no matter what your world view is.
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Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 10:15:12 PM »
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"He basically told me that if I don't get right with God, then I'm worthless," said Jean, now an intelligence officer at Ft. Meade. "That if I don't believe in Jesus, why am I in uniform, because this is God's army, and that I should resign my commission in order to stop disgracing the military."

I almost want to call bullshit on this. Chaplains are instructed to be "all inclusive". If his Chaplain actually said this to him then that Chaplain needs to be reminded of his place. But I guarantee you that this Chaplains POV is not inline with military REGs.

Basically we have no idea what the Chaplain actually said.

You are right. Unless there is a recording of the conversation or an admission by the chaplain, there is no way to confirm what the chaplain said. However, does anybody record these conversations? How is there any way to spot check what chaplains are saying to soldiers? I honestly don't know because I have never been in the military. However, assuming that things work mostly the same way as they do in civilian life, it would seem that the chaplain holds a fairly incontrovertible position and isn't checked by anyone in particular.

I knew a kid that became a soldier the army and after his commitment he returned to complete his education at a baptist seminary. He then re-enlisted in the army as a chaplain. He's extremely religious and I can see him saying something like the above. I have no specific knowledge that he ever did say something like that while he was in the army, but his approach to religion and philosophical issues was so entwined in god that I am sure that he doesn't see a division between the army and god.

Also, how many people do things that are out of line in their job? Enough to know that something like the above is quite probably true. That doesn't mean that all chaplains do it, but some of them probably do. Honestly, how can a religious leader attend to the spiritual health of another person if that person doesn't share the same faith?


How many atheists on this forum hold the view that your life has no lasting purpose? I think he was told to visit the Chaplain because he answered the questions in such a way that made him sound suicidal.

In short...Fuck this nigga.

If the question were asked as "What purpose does your life serve?", I would say "My life has whatever purpose I choose." If someone asks me "Does your life have a lasting purpose?", I would say, "No." A lasting purpose is one that still exists after I am dead. Once I'm dead, I'm dead. I have no power in death to affect those still alive, so there is no lasting purpose of my life. To pose the question as "lasting purpose" implies life after death, which in turn requires some form of religion in order to provide any answer other than "none".


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 10:18:46 PM »
Actually, I disagree with that.  If someone tries to make the lives of others better, then that persists after one's death.  That is a lasting purpose, especially if it is paid forward.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 10:44:41 PM »
If someone tries to make the lives of others better, then that persists after one's death.

Does it? How so?

Sally did things for Jim while she was alive. Then, Sally died. The question of whether Sally made Jim's life better while she was alive is a question for Jim to answer, not Sally. Since Jim outlasted Sally, only Jim can decide if Sally had any lasting purpose in Jim's life. The living decide the value of Sally's efforts while she was alive. Sally can claim to have a lasting purpose (after death), but she will not be the judge of her posterity.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Illuminatus99

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 04:20:10 AM »
If someone tries to make the lives of others better, then that persists after one's death.

Does it? How so?

Sally did things for Jim while she was alive. Then, Sally died. The question of whether Sally made Jim's life better while she was alive is a question for Jim to answer, not Sally. Since Jim outlasted Sally, only Jim can decide if Sally had any lasting purpose in Jim's life. The living decide the value of Sally's efforts while she was alive. Sally can claim to have a lasting purpose (after death), but she will not be the judge of her posterity.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 08:45:57 AM »
I spent 4 years in the Air Force (enlisted, non-stellar compared to today's veterans).  I am pro military service.  I think it is a good thing for a young person no matter what your world view is.

1. you are off topic
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I almost want to call bullshit on this.

I don't.  I have one close family member who was recently an officer in the army and one who currently is in the air force.  Both have experienced horrendous examples of religious indoctrination.  The army had required prayer breakfasts at a colonel's house on saturdays.  It gave punishments to trainees who did not attend religious services on sundays.  All of this is illegal.  But anyone who complained about it was reprimanded and it definitely affected their careers.   The AF is worse.

from the link:
Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

This is fairly well documented in the media.  So, I find Captain Jean's report to be completely credible.

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Offline velkyn

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 10:12:08 AM »
Quote
"He basically told me that if I don't get right with God, then I'm worthless," said Jean, now an intelligence officer at Ft. Meade. "That if I don't believe in Jesus, why am I in uniform, because this is God's army, and that I should resign my commission in order to stop disgracing the military."

I almost want to call bullshit on this. Chaplains are instructed to be "all inclusive". If his Chaplain actually said this to him then that Chaplain needs to be reminded of his place. But I guarantee you that this Chaplains POV is not inline with military REGs.

Basically we have no idea what the Chaplain actually said.
Yes, chaplains are *told* to be all-inclusive, but there is piles of evidence that they aren't.  That's why the Military Religious Freedom Foundation exists.  Both theists and atheists have encountered such things. 

Quote
How many atheists on this forum hold the view that your life has no lasting purpose? I think he was told to visit the Chaplain because he answered the questions in such a way that made him sound suicidal.

In short...Fuck this nigga.

gee, good to see that you are so concerned and make assumptions left and right.  &)
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2011, 01:37:02 PM »
Last time I recall, being a Christian wasn't a requirement for joining the military.

If I do end up joining (thinking about it), I'll be entertained if I experience any of this. As Jaybwell said, if anybody does something of the sort, always report it to those above you.

There is one shocking thing to read about that is disturbing, especially since I was thinking about the Air Force if I join:

Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

I spent 4 years in the Air Force (enlisted, non-stellar compared to today's veterans).  I am pro military service.  I think it is a good thing for a young person no matter what your world view is.

And, of course, you saw no problem with the extreme bias going on there. Wow...I am shocked, shocked that there's gambling in this establishment.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Death over Life

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 11:30:21 PM »
Last time I recall, being a Christian wasn't a requirement for joining the military.

If I do end up joining (thinking about it), I'll be entertained if I experience any of this. As Jaybwell said, if anybody does something of the sort, always report it to those above you.

There is one shocking thing to read about that is disturbing, especially since I was thinking about the Air Force if I join:

Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

I spent 4 years in the Air Force (enlisted, non-stellar compared to today's veterans).  I am pro military service.  I think it is a good thing for a young person no matter what your world view is.

And, of course, you saw no problem with the extreme bias going on there. Wow...I am shocked, shocked that there's gambling in this establishment.

This wasn't towards me was it? Confused due to the way the quote was brought up.

I haven't really heard of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, so this is really good information, especially for me. I'm still in my thinking and researching phase atm. Ironically, as anti-non Christian as the Military can get, it may end up being my only way out of the Bible Belt, depending on what goes on when I go over seas for example.

Offline pingnak

Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2011, 01:08:46 AM »
For Death over Life...

The USAF is the most laid back, really.  But like all branches of the military: IT IS A CULT.

If you want room+board (after BMTS, it's private or semi-private rooms, and the food IS good), and a regular, relatively secure job (with training), and be able to drive off the base pretty much any time, USAF, all the way.  Most of the nasty things I am about to also reveal are present in all branches of the service.

In the USAF, you won't be trapped on a ship, or (usually) confined to a base with 50 of your 'closest friends' all the time. 

90+% of the time, you can ESCAPE.  Most USAF bases have PARKING.  You know, so you can own a POV (privately owned vehicle).  Once you're out of BMTS and tech school, and on a permanent duty base, get a car, or have someone bring your car to you, if you already had one.  You'll be on a long leash.  Officers in the Marine corps get treated A LOT worse than enlisted guys in the USAF.

I was enlisted aircrew.  But this was the late 1980s.  So I won the cold war 'n stuff fer you snot-nosed brats!  I can say that 'cuz Dubya's daddy said he won the cold war.  My experience is certainly outdated.

The travel was so-so.  Basically, I got to see hotel rooms and flight lines all around the world... and not very much else.  Though I got to go to Saudi Arabia (summer) and Iceland (winter) lots of times, I didn't get to do much of a 'tourist' nature.  Of course, I lied about 'religion' on the paperwork in Saudi Arabia, or they'd have sent me back, and I'd have missed out on my pork + coca cola fasting, and I'd have been in the shit when I did get back for NOT lying.

There was some intermittent religious pressure, but it was easily shaken off without having to get 'impolite'.

The only real downside to being aircrew was the additional visibility and stress.  They REALLY want shiny, pretty people.  I'd have probably stayed in the USAF if I had gotten a 'real job', but I got burned out on THAT aspect.  Your milage may vary, naturally.

A little bit of military jargon: 'Policing' is picking up trash.  Literally walk across acres of mowed grass (and you WILL mow) and/or concrete, looking for bits of paper or other debris to pick up and put in a bag.  All branches of service have this tradition.  A 'FOD Walk' is doing that on an air strip.  Being enlisted, you'll do both, just as I did, and lots of silly details (chores) and maybe 'additional duties', too.  It's just part of the job.

Everything in the military is about who put their time in.  Seniority is everything.  It's practically all some people have, and they latch onto it.  Officers get saluted.  Talking back is a federal crime.  A little bit of hazing is universal.  Individual assholes and collective punishment.  You will experience it.

If it's around 1700 (5:00pm), and everybody starts running for doors, and you hear some faint music, stop and salute the flag.  That's 'retreat'.  Some people get VERY annoyed about it if you don't notice.  You could probably have your phone vibrate at 1645 to let you know to get indoors if this will be a bother.

95% of the jobs in the USAF have nothing to do with riding in an airplane, except maybe when travelling, which is relatively rare by the time your training is all done.

Just choose your job preferences carefully.  The USAF may ignore your preferences... but they'll stick you in that pigeon hole, if it's available.  The thing that can be FAR worse than not getting what you ask for... is getting PRECISELY what you 'ask' for, not knowing what it is.  Do your homework about the jobs and the kind of training you get for them.  You don't want to be looking at that form and looking up the little one paragraph descriptions for those jobs.

Hint: 'Crew Chief' is a sucker job.  You are NOT 'in charge' of anything.  You will be soaked in nasty chemicals day in, day out, on the hideously loud and somewhat dangerous, and almost always either freezing or roasting flight line at all hours, working on airplanes, but you get ABSOLUTELY NO FAA CERTIFICATION for that.  The unions are strong.  Even if you worked on Boeing planes for which there are identical civilian models, you would have to take your training over again FROM SCRATCH to work on a civilian airport.  But at least the GI bill will kick in for a PORTION of that redundant schooling.

With flightline jobs, you'll be treated like shit, because you are 'shit', especially if you're a noob.  No rank, no seniority.  Shit rolls downhill, and you're at the bottom, catching it all.  Try to stay away from the aircraft maintenance jobs that put you out ON the flight line.  IN ALL WEATHER.  The jobs are almost all pure, sweaty gruntwork.  You unbolt big, heavy, dirty, broken things, jack them down, and send it to OTHER people to be fixed, then get the replacement and do it in reverse, and (maybe) test it.  Like being a car mechanic, except with hearing damage and LOTS of abusive bosses, and OMFG if you can't account for that last washer, you are SO fucked!

If you deploy, you NEVER get a break.

This I got from getting to know people who work on the airplanes. 

Stay the fuck away from those flightline jobs.  Hard, honest work, and LOTS of it, and relatively little applicability to getting a job in the 'real world' when you get out.

Offline ungod

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2011, 01:16:30 AM »

In short...Fuck this nigga.

Oooooohh - racism, or what???
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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2011, 02:30:15 AM »
Don't believe, don't think
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I love to read books, just not your Bible. i support gay rights and women's rights. Why? Because i'm tired of the hate, stupidity, and your desire to control us all and make up lies.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2011, 10:56:33 AM »
more on how the military (via the VA)  gives soldiers grief, even Christian ones if they aren't the "right" kind of Christian: http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2011/11/06/suicidal-lesbian-marine-corps-vet-seeks-help-gets-jesus-instead/ 

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2011, 10:48:15 PM »
Last time I recall, being a Christian wasn't a requirement for joining the military.

If I do end up joining (thinking about it), I'll be entertained if I experience any of this. As Jaybwell said, if anybody does something of the sort, always report it to those above you.

There is one shocking thing to read about that is disturbing, especially since I was thinking about the Air Force if I join:

Quote
Allegations of religious bias — most notably at the Air Force Academy, where concerns have flared about attempts by fundamentalist Christian staff members and cadets to win converts — have led to tougher restrictions against proselytizing. Some have expressed fear that having the wrong faith, or none at all, could hinder their careers.

I spent 4 years in the Air Force (enlisted, non-stellar compared to today's veterans).  I am pro military service.  I think it is a good thing for a young person no matter what your world view is.

And, of course, you saw no problem with the extreme bias going on there. Wow...I am shocked, shocked that there's gambling in this establishment.

This wasn't towards me was it? Confused due to the way the quote was brought up.



It was directed to jtp56, who in response to allegations about religious bias in the Air Force, states he was in the Air Force and how great it is. His posts indicate he is a religious fundamentalist. His response shows he likes an organization that has bias in favor of his kind, even if said bias is illegal. This is a ignorant, self serving, and bigoted viewpoint. That such a viewpoint is coming from him is hardly shocking, hence the quote.

 
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2011, 11:17:03 PM »
Pingnak, you described the Air Force well, though my service was almost twenty years earlier. I was a genuine Air Force radio fixer, though they were nice enough to give it a snazzy title (aerospace electronics technician, or something like that). I tried to let them know I was an atheist but when filling out the form for my dog tags, my basic training TI  said "Nobody in my squadron is an atheist!", and he wouldn't let anybody put that in the "religious preference" box. And I had to see a Chaplin before I was discharged, but by then I was a bit wiser and I just never bothered to visit him. They still let me out.

I didn't actually capitalize Chaplin, my frickin spell checker does it automatically. I'm gonna have to kill the thing.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2011, 12:49:50 AM »
That's because it's spelled "chaplain" :)

Not Chaplin as in Charlie.

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2011, 01:20:12 AM »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2011, 05:52:55 AM »
I would like to add that anyone interested in military service research the particulars of whatever career fields they are interested in, such as which bases you could end up at and where/how long your training will be. I also did 4 years in the USAF, but I was so green I assumed every job was available at every base. I (ignorantly) chose a career field that had a tech school of nearly a year and 90% of the jobs were in Nebraska or South Dakota. 3 frigid winters is a big price to pay for ignorance. I honestly would not discourage anyone from military service as overall it was a great experience for me, but I would caution you to educate yourself as much as possible going in to understand the extent of the commitment you will make. Also, recruiters will basically tell you anything you want to hear and are not to be trusted. The main reason I thought all jobs were at all bases was because my recruiter essentially told me so. Be wary.
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2011, 09:54:18 AM »
When my dad joined up in the 60s, he was asked what religion he was, and he said he was an agnostic. As he tells it, the guy looked up at him and said "Never heard of that one, but no matter, just as long as you believe in God!"
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Atheists in US military
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2011, 01:20:10 PM »
very sad situation a soldier has found himself in: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2011/12/i-thought-the-military-would-protect-individual%E2%80%8Bs-from-in-rank-bigotry-and-injustice/

it ain't always atheists who get the short end of the stick.  Evangelical Christians are often equal opportunity bigots.
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