“Freedom” Groups Object to Prayers on Navy Ships
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has protested the tradition of evening prayers onboard US Navy ships, saying they
violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because military personnel are being coerced to participate in religious exercises…
These officially sanctioned prayers compel service members of varying beliefs and non-belief to listen to and participate in religious exercises…
While it purported to condemn all prayer, the FRFF intentionally highlighted Christianity, even citing the frequently-used and inaccurately attributed concept that
Jesus condemned as hypocrisy public prayer…
If nothing else, the FRFF appears to be intellectually consistent, since demanding an end to the prayers achieves their end of freedom “from” exposure to religious thought. On the other hand, such consistency is lacking for the MRFF, who also signed on to the letter, as religious freedom in the military generally dictates accommodation to the maximum extent possible, not avoidance at all cost.
Needless to say, there are a variety of reasons about which someone could complain about religion in the military, beginning with Chaplains themselves. It is ludicrous, however, to assert that the US government is trying to convert its military members to a religion, particularly when even the complaint says more than one religion is represented (to which religion are they then attempting to gain converts?).
Mere acknowledgement of, or exposure to, a religion is not an attempt to endorse or establish a faith. Nothing about an audible prayer forces another person to participate in the religious exercise of another.
It is also not a reasonable outcome that every vestige of religion should be stripped from those who volunteer for government service, particularly when such offense comes against long-standing maritime traditions that span decades, if not centuries.
Via the ADF.