Every student in America knows that the Puritans came to the New World in search of religious freedom. Which is why the first amendment to the constitution mandates the separation of Church and State: “Congress shall make no law resepcting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” At least they did when I was in school. Who knows what they’re teaching these days?
Yet, as any non-Christian living in America also knows, this country may talk the talk, but when it comes to walking – there’s a very noticeable limp. Whether the issue is schools forcing students to pray in state-funded public schools, Red Mass, or Christmas being a federal holiday – Christianity is, de facto, a state sponsored religion.
Nevertheless, the right to practice religion is more of a right in the U.S. than pretty much anywhere else in the world. However, the situation in the armed forces is a bit different.
These are the people responsible with protected the borders of the U.S. However, when it comes to upholding laws, specifically the establishment clause, they seem to have more in common with a southern country club than with an honorable organization defending freedom.
Cadets and Officers have been found proselytizing at the Air Force Academy, which included anti-Semitic remarks, sponsorship of a viewing of The Passion of the Christ and a locker room banner that read: “Team Jesus”. Supposedly this ended after an investigation in 2005, but do you really believe that?
Earlier this year, Specialist Jeremy Hall, after willingly risking his life by serving in Iraq, sued the Army because he was threatened by his superiors, because he is an atheist. He was accused, rather ironically, of “not holding up the Constitution”. Additionally, having a sergeant threaten to “bust him in the mouth” doesn’t exactly promote a positive environment, either. In response, the army said that “In accordance with Army policy, Fort Riley is committed to ensuring the rights of all its soldiers are protected, including those of Specialist Hall.” Right.
It’s bad enough when your superiors yell at you, but when your fellow soldiers attack you, the line has been crossed a long time ago. Private Michael Handelman was punched in the head and knocked unconscious, in addition to the fact that a sergeant called him “Juden”, and another ordered him to remove his kippa in a dining hall.
According to the AP article, Fort Benning spokeswoman Monica Manganaro said investigators do not believe the attack was linked to religious prejudice. Are they serious? They lie so as to air their filthy laundry and then complain there is not enough support for these troops?
And all of this when the Army is having a hard time meeting its recruiting goals. I’ll bet this will make things much easier – all they have to do is recruit from the KKK.