Believe in Jesus, Or Die

This is really scary:

Army Spc. Jeremy Hall was raised Baptist.

Like many Christians, he said grace before dinner and read the Bible before bed. Four years ago when he was deployed to Iraq, he packed his Bible so he would feel closer to God.

He served two tours of duty in Iraq and has a near perfect record. But somewhere between the tours, something changed. Hall, now 23, said he no longer believes in God, fate, luck or anything supernatural.

Hall said he met some atheists who suggested he read the Bible again. After doing so, he said he had so many unanswered questions that he decided to become an atheist.

His sudden lack of faith, he said, cost him his military career and put his life at risk. Hall said his life was threatened by other troops and the military assigned a full-time bodyguard to protect him out of fear for his safety.

In March, Hall filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others. In the suit, Hall claims his rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment were violated and suggests that the United States military has become a Christian organization.

“I think it’s utterly and totally wrong. Unconstitutional,” Hall said.

Hall said there is a pattern of discrimination against non-Christians in the military.

Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, after refusing to pray at his table, Hall said he was told to go sit somewhere else. In another incident, when he was nearly killed during an attack on his Humvee, he said another soldier asked him, “Do you believe in Jesus now?”

Hall isn’t seeking compensation in his lawsuit — just the guarantee of religious freedom in the military. Eventually, Hall was sent home early from Iraq and later returned to Fort Riley in Junction City, Kansas, to complete his tour of duty.

He also said he missed out on promotions because he is an atheist.

“I was told because I can’t put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn’t make a good leader,” Hall said.

Michael Weinstein, a retired senior Air Force officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is suing along with Hall. Weinstein said he’s been contacted by more than 8,000 members of the military, almost all of them complaining of pressure to embrace evangelical Christianity.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between George W. Bush’s wars of liberation and the Bill of Rights at home. The longer our military fights wars in other countries to keep Americans free, the more freedoms Americans seem to lose. Why is that?

5 Responses to “Believe in Jesus, Or Die”

  1. Mark says:

    This paragraph doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the claim that the entire military has become an officially Christian organization, at least as it’s written: “Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, after refusing to pray at his table, Hall said he was told to go sit somewhere else. In another incident, when he was nearly killed during an attack on his Humvee, he said another soldier asked him, “Do you believe in Jesus now?”” Instead, this only suggests that there are Christians in the military’s rank and file who are willing to be rather mean about their evangelicism. But, at least as written, it doesn’t do much to demonstrate a trend or policy, since it just appears to be based on interactions between relative equals.

    That said, if true, this paragraph is really, really disturbing:”He also said he missed out on promotions because he is an atheist.” Obviously he will need to prove his allegation, but if he does (and I suspect his allegation has some merit), then this is definitely a major problem that the military is going to have to fix whoever the next President is.

  2. gcotharn says:

    I’m with Mark: the only allegation of significance is that he was denied promotion.

    I consider this a positive story, in the sense that the legal system can provide relief for a man who – if he is telling the truth – was done wrong; and in the sense that the legal system can be used to fight back when an organizational culture gets too far out of whack in one direction or another – as organizational culture ALWAYS is at risk of doing, given the way we humans are designed.

    My view: that an organizational culture will tend to tilt too far is natural and is a given; that Americans have rights and a legal system with which to fight back is a rare blessing in human history, and is a rare blessing in the world as currently comprised. I am grateful for and awed by that blessing. This entire incident points to a feature of our nation, as opposed to a bug. God Bless America! 🙂

  3. Rob says:

    Gcotharn is relieved? As a Christian, I’m horrified. This is not what belief in Jesus Christ is supposed to be about. 1st Peter 3: 15-16 says

    But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

    The reported behavior is without gentleness or respect and causes people to speak ill of Jesus — not for something He commanded, but for something they did that was against what He commanded. Same for the science teacher in Ohio that branded his students and force-fed them Creationism.

    I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that most Christians have no idea what Christianity is about, and only know the Biblical verses that are spoon-fed them by the Religious Right to keep them hypnotized to their agenda.

  4. gcotharn says:

    Rob,
    You misrepresented my comment. I find it curious that you are horrified that Christians fall short of the perfection of God – as you did, for instance, when you misrepresented my comment. Do you not expect Christians to fall short of perfection, and to sin – again and again – until the end of time? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion of my own…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook