Update: Atheist Soldier Refuses to Bow Head at Graduation

The CNN.com blog that covered the atheist Soldier refusing to lower his head during a training graduation prayer updated their post with input from Fort Jackson:

Fort Jackson officials said Friday that an atheist soldier was asked to lower their head during a prayer portion of a graduation ceremony rehearsal, but then decided it was ok for the soldier to stand at Attention. [sic]

As originally thought, the desire for a similar physical stance within the formation was a quest on the NCOs’ part to have “uniformity” within the formation.  It did not reflect any US military institutional policy:

“It is not the command’s policy to force anyone to bow their heads and clasp their hands to pray,” said [Patrick Jones, a Fort Jackson Public Affairs Officer]. “The Army fully recognizes all faiths or lack there of”.

There was no mention of the Soldier’s public contention the prayer during the ceremony violated the Constitution, nor his conduct with regard to his opposition.


  • If everyone who wanted to pray had their heads down and eyes closed (even if just for uniformities sake), then who could see when this Soldier wasn’t doing that?

  • @David

    I believe the soldier objected prior to the event, ran into more issues with the “the powers that be” but they changed their minds (after threat of legal action) and allowed the “standing at attention” compromise.

    IMHO, no soldier should be put into that situation in the first place, nor should there be any military “formation” requiring supplication, or the forced…unwilling participation thereof.