Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, November 29, 2013

No Atheists in Foxholes

A U.S. Air Force chaplain has come under fire, just for doing his job. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Reyes posted a column in the Chaplain’s Corner section of his base’s website entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” An outfit called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation then sent an irate letter to the base commander, claiming that 42 anonymous airmen had complained. Col. Reyes was then ordered to remove the column, but that wasn’t enough for the anti-religion group which who continued to call for further punishment of the chaplain. This so-called Religious Freedom group took particular offense at the title, “No Atheists in Foxholes,” calling it a “bigoted, religious supremacist phrase.” They called the rest of the column “faith-based hate” and an “anti-secular diatribe,” which they claimed publicly denigrated non-religious servicemen.

You may be wondering what exactly was in Col. Reyes’s column. The answer is nothing much—it’s a very general and innocuous message. He summarized the World War II origins of the “no atheists in foxholes” phrase and then commented that faith could be religious or secular. The conclusion asked open-ended questions about what faith means to you. There is no mention of atheists outside of the historical phrase or of any particular religious group. In fact, the column is a very inclusive one with no implication that faith has to be in any particular God. Col. Reyes’ column merely implied that everyone has faith in something.

If such a broad-minded, all-inclusive message is a problem, we have to wonder what the point is of having a chaplain. Are chaplains not allowed to mention anything religious at all? What are they there for? Colonel Reyes was well within his rights, and well within his job description. Incidents like these are building a climate of intimidation and discrimination against Christians in the military. It looks like those who are attacking Col. Reyes are the ones who are spreading a climate of so-called “faith-based” hate.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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