The Sergeant Major who conducted the Equal Opportunity training for Ohio’s unit level EO reps told them that “since atheism is not a religion, atheists are not protected by the regulation and it is acceptable for officers and chaplains to disparage their own soldiers”.
from the MAAF: http://militaryatheists.org/watchlist.html
"Command promotion and endorsement of religion includes the following and discriminates against atheists and often implies command endorsement of Christianity.
- Daily prayer at the US Naval Academy
- Shipboard prayer nightly on most US Navy vessels
- Ceremonial prayer at many mandatory military formations and activities
- Religious unit mottos and logos.
- Bibles, though not funded by government money, are regularly printed with unit logos, including Special Forces, thus giving evidence to Muslims insurgents recruiting to fight against a Christian holy war.
- Christian concerts and events are given strong chaplain and command promotion unavailable to other sectarian or even secular events.
- Spiritual Fitness centers are major, multi-million dollar facilities that are labelled as "multi-faith" but have strong bias to Christianity."
This is the state of things in today's US Military. An environment which has recently turned hostile and resulted in at least one known case of premeditated murder. Spc. Jose Ramirez, of the US Army, was murdered by so-called friends after revealing his non belief in god. He had been missing for 7 years and was only recently discovered in a shallow grave.
For too long the US Military has been intolerant of soldiers who lack belief in the supernatural. They are treated as cowards without conviction. They are told they lack real heroism and cannot be trusted. They live the lives of second-class citizens and are sometimes even forced into therapy or forced into chapels with chaplains against their will.
The US Army needs to actively enforce it's Equal Opportunity (EO) guidelines. They need to include regulations for ALL religious preferences. Atheism is not a religion, but it IS a religious preference listed on dog tags and internal documents.
By non-action and enforcing an environment of discrimination, the US Army is allowing hate crimes to persist against non-believers. The only action that can prevent further deaths will be to acknowledge Atheists as an equally protected religious preference.
As atheists, we need to stand up for our right to be treated equally.
As Americans, we need to fight for our rights to defend this country's values and our moral standards alongside theists.
As humans, we need to defend our right to not be slandered against without cause.
In honor of Jose Ramirez, and those before him, put your foot down and end this intolerance. A government funded, TAX PAYER FUNDED program as large at the US Military should not hold such values of hatred and ignorance in this day and age.