Atheist Files Lawsuit Against Department of Defense March 6, 2008

Atheist Files Lawsuit Against Department of Defense

Specialist Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed a lawsuit today against Major Freddy J. Welborn and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In essense, Hall is arguing that he was denied a promotion because he is an atheist.

Hall alleges he was denied his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while he was deployed in Iraq with his military police unit. He says in the new complaint that his promotion was blocked after the commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley sent an e-mail post-wide saying Hall had sued.

According to the lawsuit, Hall was counseled by his platoon sergeant after being informed that his promotion was blocked. He says the sergeant explained that Hall would be “unable to put aside his personal convictions and pray with his troops” and would have trouble bonding with them if promoted to a leadership position.

Welborn is the man who stopped Hall from holding an atheist meeting. According to the lawsuit, Welborn also “threatened to file military charges against Hall and to block his re-enlistment.”

MRFF President Mikey Weinstein says this:

“It is beyond despicable, indeed wholly unlawful, that the United States Army is actively attempting to destroy the professional career of one of its decorated young fighting soldiers, with 2 completed combat tours in Iraq, simply because he had the rare courage to stand up for his Constitutional rights and guarantees of separation of church and state against a superior officer who was forcefully attempting to intimidate him into accepting fundamentalist Christianity.”

I can’t find the official lawsuit document online, but it’s Case No. 08-CV-2098-JWL-DJW.

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Hey, that federal suit is being filed in my county! Exciting! It makes me glad for Kansas. We’re one of the major offenders in the conservative religious arena, with that whole no-evolution-in-the-schools thing, the Phelpses, constant megachurch construction, and sundry others. I hate it that publicity like that is often the only thing people from other parts of the country have from which to form their impressions of us. I mean, half the country thinks we’re all three-toothed hayseeds in bib overalls anyway, and hearing that we’re all hateful religious wackos doesn’t really help. So this feels like a step in the right direction.

  • I reported on this on my site and would love some commentary.

  • Ben

    I registered with the website for the U.S. District Court in Kansas City to read the case but haven’t found it yet. Jason Leopold at least makes it sound like he read it in his article at OpEdNews:

  • Is this a good comeback for the “there are no atheists in foxholes” fallacy?

  • Garry

    I am a air force commander that has discharged from the us service at time of discharge i had an aption to re-enter the usaf if i so desired that career . rank na .I had recivied from the dept of defense a life time medical with va etc.. and i had recived the compensation for disability and among retirement after 27 years of service . Again the records have been thefted and the va has again lied about the benfits after a court convicting the va. and the compensation had not contuined delivery to addresse what to get involved in advice with the lawsuit repeatly

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