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July 8th, 2008
07:16 PM ET

The U.S. Christian military?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/07/art.soldiers.pray.jpg]
Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

Is the United States Military becoming a Christian organization? That’s what one U.S. soldier tells us.

I met Army Specialist Jeremy Hall in Kansas City a few weeks ago. He’s based at Fort Riley, in Junction City, Kansas about an hour away.

At 24, he’s a remarkable young man determined to complete one final mission. That is to win a lawsuit against the federal government.

Specialist Hall is suing the Department of Defense and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for failing to protect his religious freedom. He says the military discriminates against non-Christians and his rights under the First Amendment were denied.

Hall has served two tours in Iraq as a gunner. He’s back at Fort Riley now only because he says his life was threatened after it became public he is an atheist.

“I don’t believe in God, luck, fate, or anything supernatural,” Hall told me.

It wasn’t always that way. Hall grew up reading the Bible every night and saying grace at dinner. Then, after his first tour of duty, he met some friends who were atheist and decided to read the Bible again. He read the whole Bible, and had so many unanswered questions, he says, he decided to embrace atheism.

In the army, he says, that cost him dearly.

Hall says he was denied a promotion because of his beliefs, and felt his life was in jeopardy. He says the army assigned him a full-time bodyguard because of threats.

At Thanksgiving, Hall refused to pray with his table and says an officer told him to go sit somewhere else.

Also, after he was nearly killed when his humvee was attacked, he says a fellow soldier asked him, “do you believe in Jesus now?”

Hall says he was ostracized because he didn’t embrace fundamentalist Christianity.

We checked and religious discrimination is against military policy.

Bill Carr, the man in charge of military personnel policy at the Pentagon, told me, “if an atheist chose to follow their convictions, absolutely, that's acceptable. And that's a point of religious accommodation in department policy, one may hold whatever faith, or may hold no faith.”

Hall doesn’t want money from the military. He just wants soldiers to be guaranteed religious freedom. He plans to leave the army next year, as soon as he can, and wants to leave it a better place than when he first joined it, he says.

What do you think? Should military members be allowed to proselytize? Do you believe the Pentagon when it says this isn’t happening?

Editor's note: See Randi's full report on AC360 tonight at 10PM.


Filed under: Keeping Them Honest • Randi Kaye • Religion
soundoff (312 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    If this guy is getting death threats, I doubt it's just because he's an atheist and more likely that he's preaching his beliefs and being condescending towards those that do believe. I know the type, and they're annoying. It's just as bad to be an atheist and preach it to others as it is to be a fundamentalist and do the same thing. Maybe he needs to get off his high horse and be more tolerant of those that do believe. I find it hard to believe people want to kill him for his beliefs. More likely, it's because he's an ass.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  2. devildoc

    In my experience prior to retirement from the military, there was some proselytizing taking place. The greatest offenders were the fundamentalist or the so-called born agains. If a person wanted to hold a bible study session at my unit, it was done after working hours, away from the work space and was not part of regular conversation outside the study area. I also observed what I felt to be a major uptic in religious observance during and since VN. Leaders can and should control how and where the information is shared, those not wanting to participate could op out w/o fear of repercussions. If the situation with the young Pfc occured as described, the officer or NCO was wrong. However, in the age of victims, we have lost a lot in where non-denominational prayer could be offered- sporting events, at the start of the school day, etc. If the pentagon doesn't believe events like this occur, they are hiding their collective heads in the sand. Just like the 3 monkeys-see no evil, hear no evil, see no evil.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  3. German

    I don't think this issue is about freedom of religion, but more like an attack at Christianity. Everybody has it's own agenda and cases like this are enhance to weakens the christian faith.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  4. RAY

    "However, we are to be reminded that this country was founded on christian principles, so to restrict observers of their faith in Jesus would be very wrong."..excuse me, but the majority of our founding fathers were DIESTS and not Christians..Thomas Jefferson felt Christianity was a three-headed monster...most Americans are clueless...lets get real people ...this country was founded by people leaving religious persecution...its all starting over again...I wish Americans would open a book sometime in their life and not just the Bible...

    July 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  5. Miguel

    This is just another example of how the Bush administration is pushing Christianity down our throats. This reminds me of his so called faith based initiatives.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  6. Concerned Citizen

    Having experience with this, I can tell you that religious prejudice & discrimination, and suggested practice, and even imposition is alive and well in the US Military.

    Though, the DOD has taken great measures in trying to prevent this; it is simply a widespread cultural problem that has never been contained; has in many ways actually helped provide psychological support for the majority of personnel; yet because is left unchecked, flies in the face of our constitutionally protected rights of free speech and inherent freedom of religion.

    At it's core, this has stemmed from a problem of culture within our military, IMHO.

    And absolutely not, the military, the function of going to war to protect one's homeland/country; should not be a place where religious proselytizing is allowed.

    But again, we let recruiters use our schools as recruiting stations... so it only makes sense that some of these same people are abusing their positions to impose their belief systems on those around them on the battlefield.

    This is not right.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  7. Joe G

    It's amazing that we continue to push the beliefs of Christianity on others while considering many equally unprovable religions as cults or simply incorrect. We brainwash children into believing this from such a young age that they never really have an opportunity to make a decision for themselves. Yes I said it- BRAINWASH.

    If I told a child from age one that a giant alien craft came down and created 10 kinds of intelligent animals who all fought it out for 1000 years before human beings won and became the dominant species of this planet wouldn't people think my child was nuts? He would certainly believe it since those would be what he kjnew to be true. Is that any less likely than Jesus being the son of God and rising from the dead? Has anyone ever seen anything rise from the dead before? Just because lots of people believe in something does not mean it is real.

    Coming from a college campus in New Orleans it's remarkably to see the religious correlations between being educated and wealthy or non-educated and poor. I'm pretty sure you all can discern who believes in what.

    The army is comprised almost entirely of lower and middle class kids who need to find something to get them through the incredibly troubling times that they face every day. Throughout my experiences I've found that those who have struggled the most have generally been more likely to turn to a higher power for guidance. AA, the army and prison all stress religious belief as a way of life.

    It must be hard to be in the army. It must be harder to make an thught out conscious decision and get threatened for not believing what you are told is right. GO JEREMY HALL!

    July 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  8. Donna Mansfield

    Our military has been moving in this very dangerous direction ever since GW Bush became president. As a Christian myself, I do not believe in pushing my beliefs upon another person or another country. There are many many religious beliefs – and our forefathers had the foresight to know that. They were pretty smart!! The only time it is bad to hold our Christian belief is when we demand others to believe like we do. Religion of any kind is personal.

    For so many Americans to listen and actually believe the Rush Limbaughs and Karl Roves and to their "religious" antics is so very very sad. We have dwindled down to being just like the Crusades in the Middle Ages – and we all know how absolutely DUMB those were!!!!

    God, Allah, Jehovah – please help us to respect our brothers and sisters and all living creatures on this planet!!! Imagine . . . . .

    July 7, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  9. Micha

    This country was not founded on Christian principles.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  10. Deanna Burr Kelowna B.C Canada

    I am a Christian...by definition, a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught that love: is patient and kind, is not rude, does not seek it's own way, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil,rejoices in the truth, always protects, trusts, hopes,perseveres and never fails.
    If Jeremy Hall was denied a promotion because of his beliefs...that was wrong. If his life was threatened because of his beliefs...that was wrong. If the Military discriminates against non-Christians that is wrong. Hall is entitled to the same rights and freedoms as all Military personnel regardless of their personal beliefs.
    In my opinion, only fanatics or extremists would act in such a disreputable way under the guise of Christianity.
    EVERY Soldier,whether Athiest or Christian, needs to be commended for laying down his or her life for the lives of others. Yay Jeremy!

    July 7, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Kaleesto

    My husband and I see this every day in our local military. Not only is it a problem to be Atheist or a different religion from Christian... if you are an outed Liberal, tempers fly. Fundamentalist Christian Conservatives have flooded our military to the point where it is scary to think for yourself or have any beliefs that differ.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  12. Darren

    This is classic Christian/religious hypocricy. This mentality only strengthens the agnostic in us all, and pushes many to atheism, as it reveals the weak minds/wills of believers. They can't even be in the presence of someone who does not believe in their invisible friends, because it reminds them how wrong they are, so they must lash out, like the animals they are.
    They are no worse than the fundementalist Muslims that they hate.
    My heart goes out to this brave soldier, who is the only hero in the bunch. The others are just dogs living out their primate pack animal chemical commands. Evolve monkeys evolve!
    We should all be grateful to this true American. Jeremy Hall stand strong, you are fighting the highest war.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  13. Matt Brown

    My brother and I both currently serve in the Army. My brother has been an Atheist for many years now and has never expereinced any negative action from peers or soldiers senior to him. I am a christian soldier who is not in anyway concerned about what faith or lack of, that a soldier may have. Most soldiers would probobly agree that in peace time and in combat the only measure of a soldier is his or her ability to perform the job. The military is so socialy diverse by it's nature that I am surprised that the issue was not addressed by his leadership. As members of the military we annually go through sexual, racial and religous exceptance training. I assume this soldier has poor leadership in his unit and some less than excepting peers. Any leader if brought to their attention would quickly address this soldiers concerns, not only because it is their duty to do so but becasue it is morally correct.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Mark Smith

    I am not surprised by this man's ordeal. But one must remember, most young men in the army are not college educated. That means they have not had the opportunity to critically think about their reliance on or support of their supernatural beliefs.

    Being in harms way in the military by it's very nature is terrifying. Having a belief in the supernatural can have a calming effect like salve on a wound in such circumstances. So you can see why many in the military may fear Hall - because he represents a crack in their belief system which is helping them cope.

    In the long run, while Hall is very courageous for going forward with this lawsuit, it will take many more soldiers to complain and eventually force the military to guarantee religious freedom, just like it took a long time to allow women to join.

    Keep up the good fight Army Specialist Jeremy Hall!

    July 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  15. GregorC

    I have met many people from the Armed Services. I don't want to be disrespectful but many believe that "their God is the Awesome God" for them and only meant to bless those in the US Armed Services who are Christians and believe in God the way they do. I have met many from the armed Services who are almost crazed with dillusions that God wants them to fight for his needs while in the army. Like our president, GWB, who believes that God told him to go into Iraq, there are many who would follow our present president into battle thinking they were going to usher in the second coming of a Messiah like being. They actually believe they are fighting for Armagedon to begin. I dare say that as a Christian I do not believe in their ideals in "power and might are right" and do not necessarily hold the conviction that only Christians get to heaven. There are many paths to enlightenment. Christianity is not the only path. We also have from what I have seen, too many people who need more education before they go to and while in the military. It is very sad to think that this young man (Hall) giving his life for country cannot be regarded in the same manner because he is Atheist in his beliefs. We are all a part of the same family here on this earth....we are all related back to our ancestors who came out of the African continent. Surely we need to learn to respect people on a better plane than we are doing these days. Since Ronald Regan, George Bush (Sr) and this guy who is in the White House, there is a feeling by some Chistian Fundamentalists that everything has to be done according and in line with what they believe. I am sorry our present administration has been hijacked by the Christian Right! They are Christian Wrong! Christ's message was plain, pure and simple: "Love one another as I have loved you" That was his mandatuum, his commandment. Good luck to Mr. Hall no matter what he believes. I will be pleased when Mr. Bush and the Christian Right are gone from the Political Horizon once and for all.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  16. Frederico

    that's an isolated fact. I know guys who have been deployed to Iraq and they have never had this kind of problem. of course it has to be investigated and, if someone is found guilty, has got to be punished. but let's not over react to the point of judging the whole army because of that.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  17. Kim in NY

    Isn't it ironic, he has to fight from within to get what the military is supposed to be delivering to others? How dare an officer tell him to leave a table at Thanksgiving! We should all be thankful, year round, we have the right (and the obligation) to speak what we believe and don't believe. – A message to Mr. Hall: you may not want it, but I will pray for safety and your rights. Isn't it ironic?

    July 7, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Tyler

    Hi Randi and AC,

    Thanks for being brave enough to do this story. I just saw the advertisement on CNN and I am looking forward to watching the show tonight. I served in the Army as a closet-atheist and closet-vegetarian from 1993-1998.

    It was my experience that the Army is undeniably a carnivorous, Christian organization. I was extremely careful about discussing my religious and dietary choices, because they were clearly unacceptable.

    I have no doubt that this soldier experienced the death threats and lack of promotions mentioned in the trailer. I always thought, how ironic it was that we took an oath to protect religious freedom, yet my choice as an atheist, was ridiculed and rejected from the day I entered basic training until the day I left the military.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  19. Kristina

    The entire US government discriminates against non-Christians, why should the military be any different?

    July 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Drew

    I was an atheist in the army for 5 years and while I was never the target of death-threats, it certainly was a somewhat hostile work environment.
    There weren't threats, but warnings, many warnings that I was going to hell, lots of fire and brimstone talk. Leaders sometimes attempted to incorporate religion into missions. I recall in Kuwait, the night before our convoy was to enter Iraq, the Division Commander gave a little speech in which he commented that we were going north 'to do God's work'. I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about Allah. I also remember before a mission in country the company chaplain saying that it was our duty to spread Christianity in the country (Iraq, of course).
    It is also a little tricky being forced to stand in formations while a chaplain leads a prayer. Everyone stands with their heads bowed and hands together. I usually obliged out of respect, but occassionally, when I felt the chaplain was going beyond a general prayer and began prostalitizing, I would stand at attention. That will get you alot of ugly looks for a long time.
    Then of course there is basic training where every sunday you can choose to either go to church or stay behind and clean the barracks. You can go to any religious service you want mind you, but abstaining means you get to do a little extra work.
    So yeah, atheists get a little bit of a bum deal in the army. But so do others: liberals, homosexuals, and intellectuals,mainly. On the good side, the army is probably the place most free of racism I have ever seen, and not in a politically correct, let's dance around with euphamisms kind of way, but in a real, substantive fashion.
    So, in the end, its a mixed bag.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  21. Nadine Buchko (Pittsburgh, PA)

    In this "thological" society, there is discrimination against people who do not believe in God. And I believe the military is no exception.

    A reading of the Bible and the Old and New Testament does show there are many, many discrepancies. He was correct to question that and form his own beliefs.

    I believe there are probably many more in the military that share his views, but they cannot speak up for it would be detrimental to there well-being and military career.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  22. Don

    When the president states he make his choices by his religious belief hum This is becoming the next crusade and we alll no how that ended .

    July 7, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  23. Poster

    I would agree that something like this may be happening, although I think the idea of Hall needing/having a bodyguard assigned to him is a bit bogus.

    I don't think what Hall is proposing is possible. What sort of freedom are the soldiers being allowed to express if they can not choose who sits at their table and can't express they're beliefs to other soldiers through questions and discussion about these beliefs?

    The only case I see Hall having is if he was legitimately denied a promotion on the basis of religious descrimination and not some other mitigating factor.

    July 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  24. David

    I believe that a citizen or soldier of the United States should be able to believe or in this case NOT believe what ever they want. I am a Christian and that is my choice, we have that choice because of that freedom that our armed forces gives us.... not sure when the army thought they could decide what a person should believe whether it be a soldier or a citizen. When it comes down to it, you have to be nonjudgmental when looking at the law or issues like religion no matter what you believe to be right. This kid is only 24 years old and was a Christian at one time; this does not necessarily mean that he is now an Atheist for life. It sounds like to me that he is pretty confused right now and that could be from what he has seen on his two tours that he has given for this country. Bottom line here is that what he is sacrificing for and risking his life for is not being protected and I do not blame him one bit for suing the Government. Besides, who says that the army has any credibility anyway, remember the Pat Tillman scandal.....

    July 7, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  25. Paul Francis

    Sounds to me like the soldier was initially "proselytized" by other atheists in the army which caused him to move away from his Christian beliefs. If that's acceptable, then its got to work both ways. Christians are called to share their faith freely and openly with non-believers, and to deny them that right is denying them their freedom of religion which is a constitutional right.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  26. Larry

    Does the First Amendment provide for freedom to have no religion? How can your 'beliefs' be discriminated against if you don't have any?

    This seems like another frivolous lawsuit.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  27. CC

    People recognized as having no religious affiliations or convictions are discriminated against in my experience. Many more just pay lip service to popular religious beliefs to avoid discrimination. The Atheists and Agnostics in my boot camp platoon cleaned barracks on Sundays while everyone else attended church services.

    When I was attached to my infantry unit, there were few problems within the platoon, but I had a few instances where I faced discrimination with HQ personnel. For instance, I had to make my own ID tags because the pogue refused to make a tag with the word "Atheist" on it. The overt religious displays seem to be mostly political or a photo op ("Bow your head and pray. That's an order!").

    July 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  28. Chris

    I am appalled by what I am reading about the treatment of Specialist Hall based on his personal beliefs.
    It's frightening to think that U.S. military missions may be led for the purpose of 'spreading the word' and 'helping the heathens see the light'. Even if it's not a complete reality (yet), if the perception is there for other countries, then it's real to them.
    Our country was founded on many things, including freedom of religion. That included the freedom to participate in your own choice of religion or to respectfully decline to participate at all. A soldier is fighting for his life, his loved ones, his neighbors and his country which includes our civil liberties. Please do not let our US military become some sort of "God's Army." That is scarier than any outside terrorist threat.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  29. Cindy

    Randi,
    Very interesting story. When I first started reading I was for sure that Mr. Hall was just in it trying to get some money. But seeing now that he doesn't want any just to make sure people can practice any religion that they want in the military it adds more credibility to his story for me.

    I think that if you are willing to risk your life to serve our country then there should be no bias what so ever in anything that anyone chooses to do be it religion, sexual preference or anything else.

    The Pentagon and the military may say that everyone has their freedom to choose but in reality we know that there are a lot of discriminations going on. I hope that Jeremy can change some of that with his lawsuit.

    Looking forward to seeing your report.

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  30. Karen

    You can not have freedom OF religion until you can have freedom FROM religion.

    –KnotGullible

    July 7, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  31. Lee Collins

    I don't think that anything in the above story is religious discrimination . However if he were close to me while in the war in Iraq I would want him to get away from me as far as possible. I would not eat at the same table or be in the same Humvee.
    Who does he think has keep him alive in the war. I can't blame any of the other soldiers at all for their actions because mine would have been the same.

    Lee

    July 7, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  32. GC

    Of course I believe this soldier, and not the Pentagon. The military says that you are free to practice your beliefs or lack there of, but we all know that right wing religious conservatives everywhere try to force their beliefs down everyone else's throats, being that they are the majority, especially with this Bible thumping Administration.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  33. Toni

    What the heck do you expect with the "Godly" president we have. Bunch of morons.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  34. Frank Paris

    Yes I believe military personal are discriminating against Mr Hall. Is it against the rules you bet, but try and stop it. This is no diferent than what's happening to Gay's and Lesbiens

    July 7, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  35. Vern

    Obviously, if you tell the world you are an athiest often enough, you are going to find someone who will be deeply offended. Sue the DOD and Donald Rumsfeld? Absurd. But, some legal pinhead will take this case and waste thousands of dollars in court and for what. Hall needs to stop showboating and get on with life.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  36. Leslie

    I didn't hear one actual life threat in the article. If there was a real threat, whether religious in nature or not, Specialist Hall would be right in acting upon it for his own protection. But, people will undoubtedly speak critically of any number of aspects of one's life–we don't need to sue anyone over it. I've been criticized and ostracized by my family for being an active, church-going Christian. It has caused me much pain, but I don't sue them, nor do I need to have contentious discussions over it with them. No one can get inside another's head and make him or her pray or not pray, so there is no risk there. Get used to being an adult and get used to being diappointed when everyone doesn't embrace your values, because, simply, everyone will not. And by the way, my take is that God had a reason for keeping Specialist Hall here after the humvee attack whether he chooses to believe it or not at this time.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  37. M.Jones

    Separation of Church and State. One of the fundamental ideals on which this nation was conceived. The military, it officers, officials, or pawns should have the right to practice any faith they so choose. Considering they are fighting for their lives, truth be told, there should be much more pressing issues in simply surviving that the troops should be concerned about. What god, if any, the soldier next to you prays to, should not be an issue, so long as the bullets he/she is firing, travel the same direction as yours. It is the responsibility of the NCO's to squash such petty sentiments before they become a national issue, let alone a solider having his life threatened by those he calls friends or colleagues. Tell me, how "Christ-like" is this response by his commanders and fellow soldiers. When asking "What Would Jesus Do?" , somehow "Love thy neighbor" comes to mind quicker than "Bludgeon him with malice and ignorance" does.

    In regards to believing the Pentagon, I have seven words for you
    "There are Nuclear Weapons are in Iraq"

    July 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  38. Chris Longmoon

    While I've met a couple Christians who do not proselytize, they have been the rare exception. It is a part of the mentality of American Christianity to bring as many into the fold as possible, usually based on the fear of the unknown. And I have no problem accepting that the Pentagon and the military, in general, espouse and practice proselytizing. It's very unfortunate, and is a contradiction to the very ideals which this country often claims to defend with its military.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  39. Sunbreaks

    Fundamentalist christians will say they're the ones who are ostracized, citing cases where religious proselytizing isn't allowed by the state. But I think they are allowed far more than they should be, including prayers at meal time in the military and on the senate floor. The thin excuse is that it's a non-denominational/every-religion prayer, but I think this soldier's experience proves that these prayers are just another foothold for fundamentalist christianity in the argument about the separation of church and state.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  40. Ms. Smith

    I too am Christian but i have to tell you this. I have had my worst experiences with Christian people and orginazations. I find the Chirstian world to be rude and hateful. Everything opposite of what the bible teaches. The Christians seem to want to act as if they are God. If the bible is true, God will be the one to change this man's heart. You guys (the Christian"s) are trying to take Gods place. You Christians, Hate the Sin love the sinner. Wake up!! You're looking stupid. It shows all us other people you do not read your BIBLE. And one further note: This man is in the war to help protect your family and homeland too. You should be ashamed!

    July 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  41. Harold

    religious harassment, which is what is being described, is no different than sexual harassment, in terms of how offensive it is to the recipient, and should not be tolerated in the military or in civilian life; it reflects the same kind of intolerance that we abhor in fundamentalist muslims who want to destroy us because we don't share THEIR belief in koran

    July 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  42. David

    This is a little far from how things were for me. I was a LCpl in the Marines, and was also an athiest. I was never discriminated against, ever. I went to church twice in boot camp because i was bored. my dog tags said athiest on them. I was in several debates with people in the fleet about why i felt the way i did. This kid is obviously very weak mentally if he is so easily convinced his beliefes are wrong. Maybe the regular army is a fundamentalists christian organization, but in the Marine Infantry no such problems exist.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  43. Barbara in Culver City, CA

    This story is disturbing, but not surprising, given the many reports that have been published about religious bigotry and proselytizing at the Air Force Academy.

    The members of the military in Iraq are sacrificing so much for their country. It saddens me to think that any of them would be harrassed by fellow soldiers. Undoubtedly stress levels are high in Iraq, but that is no excuse for intolerance. I think our military needs better training.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  44. Tim

    This doesn't surprise me one bit, atheists are the least trusted and least respected people in this backward superstitious country. It's no coincidence that every presidential candidate has to make sure the electorate believes that he or she really does believe in a God who sacrificed Himself to Himself to change laws He Himself made. This ridiculousness should have been relegated to the status of laughable nonsensical mythology hundreds of years ago.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  45. tbp

    This is discrimination at its worst. He has the right to choose what religion, if any, he believes in and the military cannot mistreat him because of this decision. The military as a whole obviously does not embrace religious discrimination, but various individuals in the military who are christians may discriminate against those who have different faiths or no faith at all because they hold their beliefs so dear that they find it impossilbe to be tolerant of those who disagree. They think that if you don't believe the same thing they do then there is something wrong with you. Its ridiculous. Just some dumb individuals who don't understand the militaries policy of religious tolerance.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  46. mike

    Mr. Hall should be commended for his actions, fighting the Iraqi insurgents while bunking down with fellow soldiers who despised him. This is no different from when blacks were asked to fight in world war 2 but were kept in separate hosing.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  47. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    I do believe tha tis is within evry one's rights tobeleieve what they want to believe.An individual has no right to iforce them to pray read the bible or practice thier religon ,in thier time to themeselves. Leave it up to the person don't center them ou like the soliders did.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  48. John Patterson

    I believe military personnel have a right to exspress their faith if they so desire. I also believe that they should have the right to have no belief if that is their choice. However, we are to be reminded that this country was founded on christian principles, so to restrict observers of their faith in Jesus would be very wrong.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  49. Ray

    This is true story, if your american and not christian you are deemed as a terrorist. Thats just not right.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  50. Dan

    I'm one of the few that is fine with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" and I don't really see why there should be any difference here. Everyone should be completely free to believe in what they want, but keep it to yourself – and that should be applied across the board. Prayers endorsed/let by officers should not be allowed.

    July 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
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