A soldier claimed his promotion was blocked because he had initiated a law suit which argued the Army was violating his right to be an atheist. Spc. Jeremy Hall alleges his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while deployed in Iraq with a military police unit was forbidden. Hall was told by his platoon sergeant his promotion was blocked and he was counseled to “put aside his persoal convictions and pray with his troops.” Hall responded that leadership has nothing to do with praying or believing in God. Major Freddy J. Welborn was named in the lawsuit as the officer who prevented Hall from holding a meeting of atheists and non-Christians. The Pentagon has taken the position the military values and respects freedom of religion, but accomodating religious practices should not interfere with unit cohesion, readiness or standards of discipline.
Jeremy Hall has been fighting for his nation during two tours of duty in Iraq. Ostensibly, an important aspect of the war in Iraq is ensuring the right of Iraqis to practice their religion without fear. Unfortunately, the same freedom of religion apparently does not pertain to Americans who do the fighting.