Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Fundamentalism in US military?

Fundamentalism in US military?

Author: AFP
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 19, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Fundamentalism_in_US_military/articleshow/2793470.cms

Since his last combat deployment in Iraq, Jeremy Hall has had a rough time, getting shoved and threatened by his fellow soldiers. The trouble started there when he would not pray in the mess hall.

"A senior ranking staff sergeant told me to leave and sit somewhere else because I refused to pray," Hall, a 23-year-old US army specialist, told.

Later, Hall was confronted by a major for holding an authorized meeting of "atheists and freethinkers" on his base. The officer threatened to discipline him and block his re-enlistment. "He said: 'You guys are being a problem and problems can be removed'," Hall said. "He was yelling at us and stuff and at the very end he says, 'I really love you guys, I want you to see the light'."

Now Hall is suing the major and secretary of defense Robert Gates, accusing them of breaching his constitutional rights. A campaign group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is waiting for the Pentagon to respond to a lawsuit filed in a Kansas federal court on Hall's behalf.

It alleges a "pernicious pattern and practice" of infringement of religious liberties in the military.

The group's founder, former air force lawyer Mikey Weinstein, said he has documented 6,800 testimonies by military personnel - nearly all of them Christians - of attempts to make them accept a fundamentalist evangelical interpretation of Christianity.

"I am at war with those people who would create a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the technologically most lethal organization ever created by our species, which is the US armed forces," he said. He plans to add extra charges this month. "It violates title seven of the US code for an employer to push their Biblical world view on an employee," he said.

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