|Ann Coulter at the 2004 Republican National Convention (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
According to the Associated Press (update: link no longer active), the atheists are "alleging widespread violations of religious freedom" and indicating that they plan to offer "evidence showing soldiers are under pressure to adopt fundamentalist Christian beliefs."
We are not talking about a general pressure to believe in any sort of higher power or a general "god and country" sort of philosophy, but fundamentalist Christianity and all it entails. The military police battalion where Hall is stationed bears the following Ann Coulter quote: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Materials from Military Ministry teach soldiers that the U.S. military is an instrument to spread the word of the Christian god.
You'll recall that Spc. Hall is the soldier who was threatened after attempting to hold a meeting for atheists in Iraq.
The lawsuit also alleges Gates permits a military culture in which officers are encouraged to put pressure on soldiers to adopt and espouse fundamentalist Christian beliefs and allows a culture that sanctions activities by Christian organizations.Atheists serving their country deserve better.
It also says the military permits proselytizing by soldiers, tolerates anti-Semitism and the placing of religious symbols on military equipment and allows the use of military e-mail accounts to send religious rhetoric.