THE OKLAHOMAN – Aggressive proselytizing violation of First Amendment

“Military religious freedoms under attack, groups say” (News, July 10) mentions the Military Religious Freedom Foundation but fails to mention why this group exists in the first place. MRFF exists because reports from various military installations across the country show that some commanders have been using their religious beliefs as an excuse to harass lower-ranking members.

In May 2010, soldiers attending training at Fort Eustice in Virginia reported being confined to their quarters for opting out of attending a concert by the Christian band BarlowGirl organized by the base command structure. Mandatory “Spiritual Fitness Assessments” are commonly used to evaluate leadership and command skills, with required remediation for service members who are deemed “not spiritual enough.” Some soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder were referred to chaplains for counseling (rather than to mental health professionals), where they’re commonly told their mental health problems are a result of their lack of faith.

These are not just a handful of disgruntled disbelievers trying to stir up trouble. The MRFF estimates 90 percent [96%] of the reports they get are from Christians seeking relief from evangelical or fundamentalist Christians. Aggressive proselytization adversely affects unit cohesion, mission readiness and discipline. These regulations are in place to protect service members, not persecute them.

I applaud the Department of Defense’s reminder to its chain of command that aggressive proselytizing is a violation of the First Amendment rights of our service members and is unacceptable. in today’s military.

Brenda Weber, Lawton

Weber is co-founder of the Lawton Area Secular Society, described as a social network for atheists, agnostics, skeptics and nonbelievers.

Click to read article at NewsOK

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1 Comment

  1. Ken

    Mikey and his Murfs are nothing more than a group of athiests who have trumped up all these accusations within our military. Mickey Weinstein has been on this crusade for quite sometime now and it’s about time Christians stand up to this punk and his minnions.

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