Where and When to Take a Stand.

I realize some religious people are annoyed when atheists complain about religion in public ceremonies.  It has been a surprise, even to me, how often religion appears in places it does not belong.  When I was a practicing Christian, I never noticed.

Since religion is so often included, most of the time atheists just let it pass.  But, individuals, themselves, decide when to resist.  It happens in the most unlikely places.

This weekend at Fort Jackson, S. C., there was a small drama involving religion.  A class of recruits was rehearsing their graduation ceremony from basic training.  During the rehearsal a 20 year old recruit, an atheist, refused to bow his head during the prayer.

The Sargent in charge said he had been ordered to bow his head, thus he must follow this order.  The recruit replied no one is required to participate in a religion.

The matter went to the Platoon Commander who explained to the recruit he need not pray, just bow. Finally, the Company Commander agreed with the recruit, he need not bow his head, but was required to stand at attention.  The actual cememony was held yesterday without incident.

Some might criticize the recruit saying it would not hurt him to simply bow his head for a few minutes.  True, it might not have harmed him much, I don’t know him.  There is another way of handling it that will not hurt anyone.

The military should remove prayers from all its ceremonies.

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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14 Responses to Where and When to Take a Stand.

  1. entech says:

    You don’t need to bow or take part in prayers. God has given you freewill so it is your choice. What right does the military, the government or even the church have to override this gift from God? Blasphemers all.

  2. don says:

    i’m surprised he graduated. sounds like he can’t take a simple order. Your last line should read: The military should remove malcontents from its ranks.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      don 5:22 Thanks for coming on to make a first-time comment. Comments are welcome always.

      The ranks of the “malcontents” seems to be growing. If the military takes prayer out of its ceremonies, everyone will be contented.

  3. Henry says:

    “What right does the military…”

    Every right. They own you with the multiple times you signed on the dotted line at MEPS. The military is not intended to be a forum for individual voices uttering their grievences.

  4. Bob Jorgenson says:

    As an American tax payer, I want my tax money to be church and state separate, everywhere, definitly including our huge powerful very un-Jeffersonian standing military.

    Its about protecting our constitutional freedoms. No where in the constitution does it say soliders should be forced to bow their head to anyone’s invisible god, nor any man either. The military forgets itself. America is about freedom, including freedom from religion if that individual desires it.

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” -Noah Webster

    • Henry says:

      “No where in the constitution does it say soliders should be forced to bow their head to anyone’s invisible god, nor any man either.”

      Nowhere in the constitution does it say a soldier has to do 50 pushups at the whim of his DI, but we know he does have that obligation and duty. There is more law than the U.S. Constitution. A soldier’s duty is to follow orders. The military is not a democracy.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 2:02 So, “…at the whim of his DI…” a Private can be ordered to get on his knees, confess his sins and pledge his life to Jesus?

        I don’t think so. The Private’s rights would prevail over the DI’s whim. Just as it did in the incident I wrote about in the blog.

        Things have changed since WWII.

        • Henry says:

          I know. It all started the downward slide when political correctness set in after Patton rightfully slapped that “boy”.

  5. Bob Jorgenson says:

    This is off topic, except for the military part, but part of the reason I’m voting Ron Paul is because he says he’ll pull ALL the troops home, from everywhere, including Europe.
    Europe can afford free medical because Americans supply thier military for them, so Germany, Italy, England, Japan, Korea, and so on don’t have to have their own militarys built up, because we are paying for it for them by having our bases in those countrys. Its not fair to the American tax payer. Our founders would be shocked and upset if they knew.
    This is the kind of thing they’ll never teach you in government schools, not ever.
    Having an American this big and powerful, separate from the people makes it possible for religious abuses to happen, and abuses like us supplying military for free all over the world.
    This needs to stop.

  6. Bob Jorgenson says:

    Jefferson’s Opposition to Standing Army-Navy
    As a matter of principle, Thomas Jefferson had expressed opposition to the concept of a standing army and navy in the years just after the nation’s founding. This was in spite of the fact that the Constitution to which he swore allegiance stated that the one essential element of the federal government was to provide for the national defense.

    In Jefferson’s mind there was no contradiction between his stated philosophy and the words of the Constitution. He believed in a citizens’ militia–an army of ordinary citizens who could be ready to fight for the nation’s defense whenever necessary.

    Jefferson had been one of the driving forces behind adopting the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. While the Constitution itself was ratified on September 17, 1787, the original document did not contain a ‘Bill of Rights’ as we know it today.

    Certain of the nation’s Founding Fathers had vehemently opposed the notion of a Constitution precisely due to the fact that it contained no guarantee of individual rights. Patrick Henry was one of these.

    Due to the influence of Jefferson, Henry, and others determined to protect the inherent rights of all human beings, the Bill of Rights was approved on December 15, 1791 after the required number of states had given approval.

    Jefferson’s opposition to a standing army and his commitment to the nation’s defense are entirely consistent when one considers the two concepts within the context of the Bill of Rights.

    The second section of the Bill of Rights, known as The Second Amendment, made clear that the nation’s defense would be the task of every citizen. Each individual citizen would together form a well-regulated, meaning trained, militia.

    Jefferson had it right, we need only a citizen militia, not a world-wide empire military that has no respect for individual rights, no respect for freedom of religion, or lack of, no respect on how much it costs us in tax money. The above article goes on and on. Hopefully the point is taken.

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