May 19, 2007

Congress Prods Army to Address Anti-Atheist Bigotry in Tillman Case

According to the Associated Press via AZCentral.com, some in Congress are finally starting to inquire about the Army's investigation of the officer, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, who made offensive comments made about Pat Tillman's family. As a relatively high-profile case of anti-atheist bigotry, the Pat Tillman story has generated considerable interest across the atheist blogosphere.

I suspect you remember what Kauzlarich said, but here is a refresher from the report:
During an interview last year with ESPN.com, Kauzlarich argued that the Tillman family, which pressured the Pentagon for a thorough investigation after initially being misled about how he was killed, would not accept previous Army findings "because of the absence of Christian faith in their lives."

"When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt," Kauzlarich said in the interview.
It sounds like there may be an ongoing Army investigation of Kauzlarich's comments, but details are extremely sketchy and it appears that there has been no disciplinary action. I applaud Congress for finally getting involved, but I need to be clear about one thing.
Kauzlarich should be disciplined only because he was speaking as a representative of the Army (which is supposed to be secular like the rest of America). If he had made these statements outside his official role, no punishment is warranted.

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