Atheists Call on Defense Secretary Mattis to End Military Prayers

The Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists sent a letter (PDF) yesterday to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling on him to act to end “coerced religious observances” within the military.  Alison Gill and Rebecca Markert write that

The complainants allege, among other things, that facility organizers regularly include scheduled prayer in graduation ceremonies, cadets who opt not to attend worship services on Sundays are instead given menial tasks to perform, and instructors regularly lead recruits in prayers prior to administering tests.

The letter provides no examples. It appears to be little more than a form letter based on a vague perception of offense, rather than any specific incident. Further, it is important to note certain groups of “sensitive” atheists like these define “coerced religious” activity to be any activity to which they are exposed or for which they are present. Thus, a benign public prayer by a chaplain is, by their definition, such a prohibited activity.

Oddly, the groups appear to have avoided the topic of the nightly shipboard prayers that are a centuries old tradition in the US Navy.

Finally, the atheists also continued to demonstrate their lack of integrity:

We represent the atheist, agnostic, humanist, and other non-religious citizens who make up over 23% of military personnel.

First, it strains credulity to think these small activist groups can “represent,” by any definition of the term, nearly a quarter of the US military.

Second, non-religious personnel do not make up 23% of the military. Thankfully, that sentence was footnoted — to Jason Torpy’s long-debunked “fun with numbers”, in which he unilaterally equated “no religious preference” with “non-theist.” (To be fair, Chris Rodda did it first; Torpy was simply more successful.)

It seems honesty isn’t highly valued when atheistic ideology is at stake.

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