My friend is in the military and on deployment. They had a mandatory potluck to attend (this is the army - you are not volunteered, you are "voluntold" to do things) and after arriving, she started eating because she was hungry. This encouraged the other hungry soldiers to begin. Someone of higher rank then asked her incredulously, why she was eating. She said, "I'm hungry." He then said that they hadn't said grace and asked HER to lead the prayer. She said, "No." Now if you know the military, this is a very RISKY move - in the military, if you are of a higher rank, you are free to bully those of a lower rank at will. The master sarg. was incredulous once again and said, "WHAT?" She responded, truthfully, "I am not a believer and cannot in good conscious, say grace." Well you'd have thought she told them she ate flaming babies for breakfast. With bluster and furor he assigned someone else to say grace. People stayed away from her at the potluck and she has rethought the wisdom of her soon to expire military commitment, for many reasons, but this among them. She wrote me, "and in a country where we have a STATED separation of church and state, to think that in the MILITARY I was told to say grace! it's just impossible."

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Comment by Beth01 on April 20, 2009 at 5:53pm
Funny one Cartoonoholic - I'll pass THAT one along! ;)
Comment by Ted E Bear on April 20, 2009 at 5:38pm
I'm not sure i would want to go into combat with somebody who believed in god, they have less motivation to stay alive.
Comment by Beth01 on April 19, 2009 at 2:30pm
I hear you Dave - any workplace can be permeated by religious overtones to outright bullying. It's interesting that two institutions that should be most devoid of it seem to be full of it. I didn't mean that as a joke, but "full of it" IS an apt description.
Comment by Dave Huntsman on April 19, 2009 at 2:22pm
I've been in the Federal civil service for 34 years. I don't want to compare my experience with someone in the military; because the issue of 'rank' and 'orders' takes on an even more serious set of connotations for those in the military than us civilians.
But recently we had two official celebrations at the Federal research center I work at, one for Martin Luther King day and one for Black History Month. Both were religion-soaked; one excuse given being that 'the civil rights movement and MLK were influenced by their faith" etc. (No mention made of the faith-based voting down of Prop 8 in California by blacks and hispanic minorities. The definition of the 'civil rights movement' by people seem limited to 'people of color', and not 'those' people).
But my point here is that at this year's Black History Month thing we were ordered to stand for the "Black National Anthem", an original song that included praise of a deity in it. (We didn't know what we were being ordered to stand for initially). The note I wrote afterwards to management politely complaining about this still sits on my computer. I have, unfortunately, direct experience in retaliation at my Center for taking issue with such things.
Again, this does not fall into as serious a category as when it happens in the military; but it does happen in the civilian civil service as well.
Comment by Mike Gray on April 19, 2009 at 1:13pm
Your friend may want to contact the MRFF if this is a continuous problem.
http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/
There are people working hard on this problem.
Comment by Dre Smith on April 19, 2009 at 1:07pm
And people wonder why I have never joined eventhough I've always considered it...it's a shame my tax dollars go to support this violent christian organization known as the US military.
Comment by Ray Whiting on April 19, 2009 at 1:04pm
There wasn't much overt religious participation when I was in the Air Force, but in basic training, on Sundays we had a choice -- attend chapel or have a "G.I. Party", i.e., strip the floors, scrub them with brushes and re-wax them. Most guys (including me) opted for cleaning the barracks!
Comment by Beth01 on April 19, 2009 at 10:51am
Thanks for the great supportive response - I will share that with my friend! She certainly will appreciate your comments.
Comment by Daniel W on April 19, 2009 at 10:45am
Thre have been many stories about the infiltration of christian fundamentalism into the military, and harrassment of lower level, nonchristian, troops by christian upper level troops. There have been reported cases of active descrimination against nonchristians, and forced religious activities. It's despicable.

My own military experience, 30 years ago, was much less affected by christians. The chaplains would try to get people to go to chapel, but basically kept out of our faces. They did try to prevent STD-reduction efforts (distribution of free condoms in NCO clubs) but were ineffectual.

This newer christian aggression on our troops is a fallout of the Bush era. It will take a while to have an effect, but I hope that our new Commander-in-Chief will do away with this intolerance.

They act like gays in the military will damage morale, then let the christians run amok and harrass troops.

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