Identity, Justice, Politics, Religion

Freedom isn't Free

Just a reminder that religious fundamentalism isn’t only a problem for villagers in the mountains of Pakistan, or for women on city busses in Jerusalem.

 Posted by Ed Brayton at, an account from a U.S. Army Captain about religious persecution by high-ranking Evangelical Christians in the United States military:

…As a Platoon Leader serving in Iraq, my Squad Leaders and I were ordered to attend a mission briefing with the Battalion Command Team’s security squad. The briefing concluded with a Soldier being ordered to lead the group in prayer. I was disturbed because I knew that there were Soldiers on this team who did not share the specific, sectarian Christian religious beliefs being expressed. I was standing at the edge of the formation, and chose to quietly walk away. I was later counseled by my Commander and informed that the Battalion Command Team had heard of the incident and recommended I be relieved from my duties as Platoon Leader. My Commander explained that, by not bowing my head in blatantly Christian prayer with the others, I was sending a message that I “want my Soldiers to die.” These words penetrated my core. What leader can imagine a worse accusation? Who wouldn’t doubt herself or himself when confronted with this message? The threat of being relieved was completely overshadowed and, again, I was an outsider, incapable of leadership because I refused this unconstitutional perversion of Christianity synonymous with the Command. Could I not, would I not be an effective combat ready officer/leader/warrior without first very publicly and repeatedly demonstrating my singular loyalty to Jesus Christ? Could I not lead brave military women and men into combat for my country without being an avowed fundamentalist Christian? I stopped practicing my own religion; I disassociated myself from Soldiers who were similarly persecuted; I lost hope…

Read the full story here. Note both the ubiquity of sectarian religious pressure during the Captain’s military service, as well as the way he was betrayed by the supposedly confidential system for reporting issues like these. For those who have been paying attention to this particular trend in recent American history, this isn’t surprising.

logo_interior800x600Mikey Weinstein, who forwarded the story to Brayton, is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Their work can be supported by donation, by contacting your elected officials, and by spreading the word about this trend of military ‘steeplejacking’. It’s a problem not just for us religious minorities, but for non-fundamentalist Christians as well, and for everyone to whom the First Amendment is important. We can all imagine the danger of a military dominated by “C Street“-style Christianist crusaders.

2 thoughts on “Freedom isn't Free

  1. It’s a problem not just for us religious minorities, but for non-fundamentalist Christians as well, and for everyone to whom the First Amendment is important.

    That it is, but all that pales in comparison to the problem this poses for all the people on other end of these Crusaders’ swords. Also, note that Blackwatter is run by one of the same ilk.

Leave a Reply

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

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.