Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just Who Is the Enemy Anyway?

Today I heard of an atheist soldier, Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, who has sued the Department of Defense and other military elements, saying that the Army discriminates against those who believe in God; in fact, those who are not Christian. Spc. Hall was a devout Baptist, believing in what the Bible says; that is, until he started reading the Bible. That caused him to realize that the Bible is merely the story of a people (the Israelites) and of Jesus, and not anything like the word of God. So he stopped believing in God.

He continued to serve in Iraq, along with his comrades, where they faced several enemies, mainly insurgents who ambush Americans and Iraqis and booby-trap the roads with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). But the actions of his comrades probably made him wonder just who was the enemy anyway. In particular, he was made to sit somewhere else because he would not pray at the dinner table. After one attack in which he was nearly killed, he was asked, "Now do you believe in Jesus?" If I were him, I would have answered, "Well, maybe I believe that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is his prophet." The point is that his buddy was trying to force one set of beliefs on him. There are also other sets of belief, and there is non-belief.

I worked for the Army for over 20 years, and in those years I found plenty of instances of religious preference or discrimination. My workplace held prayer breakfasts, for instance. Many events had Christian invocations before them, and high-ranking officers use "God" in their email signatures. And there is that old phrase, "There are no atheists in foxholes." That reminds me of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year at Harvard when he said in Iran there are no homosexuals. Spc. Hall was one such atheist - not in a foxhole but clearly in a place where he could get killed.

Now the insurgents who the Army is fighting against in Iraq are even worse - they are trying to force Muslim beliefs on the people over there. So they are no friends. But as I have just said, Spc. Hall is not only fighting insurgents, he is fighting another enemy as well - religious discrimination within his own ranks.


Blogger vishal said...

u may b right

8:29 AM  

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