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Austin Cline

Pat Tillman, Christian Supremacism in the Military, and Atheists as Worm Food

By April 26, 2007

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Christian Military, Militarized Christianity
Image © Austin Cline
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As an institution, does the American military exist solely to defend America or does it perhaps also have an obligation to promote Christianity? More than a few Christians in America seem to want to use the American military to promote Christianity, both to people in the military and abroad. Even worse, President George W. Bush may share these views on some level.

America's secular government is not compatible with a religious military that has a religious mission. If the military is used in any way to promote, foster, or encourage religious beliefs, then it will be acting to undermine not just secular, civil government, but also a religiously pluralistic society in America. The American military must remain neutral with respect to all religions, treating people of all religions and no religion equally. How can atheists or religious minorities trust the military to protect them or to protect secular government, for example, if the military is also promoting Christianity?

Evidence that President George W. Bush may not regard the military as a secular, civil institution came from a successful lawsuit on behalf of Pagan and Wiccan veterans who wanted to have a symbol of their religion on government-provided headstones.

Cheryl Locke, a Pagan for 20 years, blamed President George W. Bush for Pagans being denied military grave markers. “The current administration has issues,” Locke, Kansas City, Mo., said.

A comment by Bush during the 2000 election fuels Locke's belief. “I do not think witchcraft is a religion and I do not think it is in any way appropriate for the U.S. military to promote it,” Bush said.

Source: KC Community News

It's bad enough that the President of the United States thinks that Wicca and Paganism aren't really religions, but it's much, much worse for him to suggest that it is appropriate for the military to promote "real" religions. For many Christians, the entire concept of "genuine religion" is restricted solely to Christianity — and only specific forms of Christianity — and maybe Judaism:

Executive Pastor Jeremiah Johnston of First Family Church in Overland Park agreed with Bush that Wicca should not be recognized. “We live in an age where almost every cult wants to hijack the word 'church' and parlay themselves into an acceptable religion,” Johnston said.

“The history of the pentacle has been connected with occultic ramifications. Obviously, some who embrace Paganism disassociate from that reference. The position of First Family Church is that religion apart from Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is devoid.”

If we want to try to be generous to George W. Bush, we might imagine that he simply misunderstands the reasons why the military is involved with religion. Military chaplains, for example, exist to serve the religious needs of service members who are forced to be far from their homes and churches — chaplains are not paid or trained to evangelize their religion to these service members. Other Christians seem to have this misunderstanding of what military chaplains are for, so it wouldn't be surprising if George W. Bush labored under this misunderstanding as well.

At the same time, though, this belief often seems to be accompanied by the belief expressed by Jeremiah Johnston: a denial that there is validity to any religion that is not conservative, evangelical Christianity. Thus, even if we imagine that George W. Bush holds the first view, that wouldn't exclude the second — on the contrary, it may even make it more likely. The President of the United States is supposed to be the President of all American citizens — not just the ones who voted for him and certainly not just his most reliable "base," the people who will stick by him no matter what he says or does. This means that he's supposed to be the president of atheists as well as of Americans of all religious faiths.

Paula Zahn Now addressed the problem of religious bigotry in the military when they looked at the case of Pat Tillman:

ZAHN: There is some new outrage out in the open tonight over the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. Congress this week is investigating the military's handling of Tillman's death. He was killed in Afghanistan three years ago, and, at first, hailed as a hero who died under enemy attack. Only later did the Army admit Tillman died from friendly-fire. And now we're hearing about shocking, insulting, and religiously insensitive language an Army investigator used to describe Tillman's family.

Only now? The "religiously insensitive language" was made public last year. This example of anti-atheist, religious bigotry is old news now, but we're seeing it discussed in a lot of different places suddenly. I'm happy that it's finally getting some attention now, of course, but I'd like to see some acknowledgement from others that they are coming late to the story and that the information was out there long ago.

It should be noted that the Tillman family hasn't said whether they are atheists or not. They may be, or they may not be. They aren't Christians and whatever their beliefs are, they seem to tend towards secularism and humanism rather than supernatural religion. Pat Tillman's brother Rich certainly seems to be an atheist because at his brother's funeral, Rich said: "Pat isn't with God. He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead."

Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter if Pat Tillman was an atheist or not, or if anyone else in his family is an atheist or not. The fact that they are not Christians and are perceived as atheists by Christians in the military was sufficient for them to be treated as inferior to Christians. The religious, anti-atheist bigotry is there regardless of whether it was directly at genuine atheists. For Christian Supremacists, it doesn't matter whether someone is really an atheist or not; all that matters is that one isn't a real Christian.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It came as a shock. Halfway through a day of testimony about the Army's mishandling of the death of Pat Tillman, Tillman's mother, Mary, shared her outrage at remarks from one Army investigator that Tillman's family found highly insulting.

MARY TILLMAN, MOTHER OF PAT TILLMAN: He said that we were -- we would never be satisfied, because we're not Christians, and we're just a pain in the a**, basically. He also said that it must make us feel terrible that Pat is worm dirt.

MCINTYRE: The offending comment was posted on ESPN.com last summer. It suggested the Tillman family's dissatisfaction with the Army was due in part to a lack of religious faith. And it quoted Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, who conducted the second investigation into Tillman's death.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) LIEUTENANT COLONEL RALPH KAUZLARICH, U.S. ARMY: Well, if you're an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what -- what is there to go to? Nothing. You're worm dirt. So, for their son to die for nothing, it's pretty hard to get your head around that. (END AUDIO CLIP) [emphasis added]

Nothing will bring their son back, but this doesn’t mean that it’s pointless to pursue justice. Maybe if a few of those callous and careless military commanders who caused Pat Tillman’s death — not to mention the dishonest ones who actively participated in the apparent cover-up — had their heads delivered to the public on a platter there will be fewer such incidents in the future. Nothing can bring Pat Tillman back, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t do things to make sure that there aren’t more cases like his in the future.

What’s really got to be sticking in the craw of these people is the contradiction between the real Pat Tillman and the mythological Pat Tillman they tried to create. The real Pat Tillman was an atheist who, after getting to the Middle East, perceived the truth and described the invasion of Iraq as “so f***ing illegal.” The mythological Pat Tillman was a hero who could be used a recruitment poster for the neo-conservative attempt turn the Middle East into a haven for democracy. The real Pat Tillman was inconvenient and his death was a reminder of how poor military decision-making could be. The mythological Pat Tillman could hopefully invigorate the relgio-nationalist cause.

I much prefer the real Pat Tillman, but unfortunately they killed him. It’s a good thing that his family remembers the real Pat Tillman and want to make sure that its his memory which survives rather than the fake one constructed by the military. Fortunately, it appears that some in the Congress are willing to pursue this:

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D-CA), GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Did you examine these comments as part of your investigation?

THOMAS GIMBLE, ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Well, we did not investigate those comments. I saw the comments in the paper. And, frankly, I was shocked by them, too. But we didn't investigate.

BRIGADIER GENERAL RODNEY JOHNSON, COMMANDING GENERAL, ARMY CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION COMMAND: Sir, I don't know of any regulation prohibiting that, but I find it totally unacceptable.

WAXMAN: Is there anything such as a conduct unbecoming a member of the United States armed services?

JOHNSON: There is such a charge as conduct unbecoming an officer, yes, sir.

WAXMAN: Yes, well that sounds like it's a pretty unbecoming statement for an officer to have made.

The possibility of justice and truth coming out is only real because we have a Democratic Congress now — when Congress was in control of the Republicans, they exercised absolutely no oversight over what Bush's administration did. They didn't care about whether lies took precedence over truth, or whether anything was being handled competently. If lying about Pat Tillman served the cause of promoting war, then lying is what they did and the rest of the GOP fell neatly in line to support it. "Conduct unbecoming" hardly scratches the surface of what the nation has endured...

The Pentagon officially acknowledges the existence of just 5,000 atheists in the U.S. military, but they also recognize the existence of 100,000 under "no religion." How many of them are atheists who don't bother to list themselves as such or, perhaps, are afraid to list themselves as such in a military culture where Christian Supremacism is so accepted? Kauzlarich faces no disciplinary action for his statements and he is in Iraq leading soldiers, some of whom are surely atheists. How likely is it that they would identify themselves as atheists to him given his attitude towards non-Christians?

ELLEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ATHEISTS: ...of course, he's trying to distract attention from the investigation into how Pat actually died. But his point was that he -- and he said, Christians will have family members who die from friendly fire, and they get past it, because they think that their sons and daughters are going to go to a better place; they're going to go to heaven; therefore, they get past it.

But this family can't get past it, because -- and I think he called them atheists -- they don't think that there is a heaven or a hell. So, his point is that atheists take death a little bit more seriously. And I'm all for that. I agree. We atheists say the this is the only life you will ever have. You really have to make the most of it. We do take death very seriously. We don't take it lightly. We want to know -- we want to have these kinds of accidents investigated.

And I think more people should agree with us and be like us, and the world would be a much more peaceful place.

Kauzlarich was trying to insult and denigrate the Tillman family, but in reality he inadvertently praised them by saying that they took death so seriously. Perhaps this provides a bit of insight into the disturbed thinking of religious theists who don't take death very seriously — it certainly suggests that Johnson has a point when she says that the world would be more peaceful if more people took death as seriously as the Tillmans. People who don't take death seriously ultimately don't take life seriously — not their own life and not others'. This makes it far easier to simply take away others' lives.

ZAHN: Mary Tillman has said that it was pretty clear to her that a lot of these remarks made to her family were made to them with the kind of tone she was talking about, because they're not Christians. Do you think there is a pro-Christian bias in the military? We just saw some of Jamie's numbers up there on the screen.

JOHNSON: As the president of American Atheists, we know it. Christian extremists are all throughout the military. ...In fact, there are Christian extremists who are delivering Bibles at the military entrance and processing stations all throughout the country, the Gideons who are in there handing out military Bibles with camouflage tops on them. [...]

ZAHN: Is there pressure, you think, that's put to bear on people who are non-believers to subscribe to these views?

JOHNSON: The atheists in the military have to attend -- you're obligated to attend ceremonies where there are organized prayers. It's causing conflict. Our brave men and women are fighting wars outside of the United States. They shouldn't have to be fighting a war when threatened in the service with their own government over this. They're -- they're -- they feel like they have to go along, or they -- they -- they will lose their position, they will lose their rank, they will be reprimanded for it.

They're in a very difficult position. And they have to go along with this. And they wouldn't like it. I mean, you can put the shoe on the other foot and say, what if Christians were told that they had to listen to Muslim prayers or Jewish prayers or anything like that, or somebody talk about atheism? They wouldn't like that either. [emphasis added]

Conservative, evangelical Christians certainly wouldn't like it if faced with religious coercion and supremacism from others, but I don't believe that they think in such terms. The Golden Rule might be "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," but they don't interpret that as meaning "don't force your religion on them because you wouldn't want them to force their religion on you." Instead, they interpret it as meaning "Do everything you can to get them to recognize the Truth in your religion because you would want to know the Truth if you weren't already a Christian."

This brings us back to the comments from Bush and Johnston: people like them regard their religion as the True Religion while all other faiths are "devoid" and are not "acceptable." It's appropriate to use coercion and the state to promote True Religion, but not to promote False Religion. Therefore it's appropriate to use coercion and the state to promote Christianity to non-Christians, and especially to atheists, without any thought about how one would feel if the same happened with another religion. This is the natural, expected thought process of Christian Supremacism.

Comments
April 26, 2007 at 7:34 pm
(1) Aaron Kinney says:

Brilliant, Austin!

How ironic that Tillman ended up being an atheist.

I’ve linked to you post from here:
http://killtheafterlife.blogspot.com/2007/04/pat-tillman-and-christian-bigotry.html

April 27, 2007 at 4:19 am
(2) Church of Integrity says:

That’s a great article. The US is so diverse that trying to tie one religion to the army or society in general might be disastrous in my opinion.

April 27, 2007 at 2:11 pm
(3) Pamela says:

Thank you so much for printing that article, people need to know, but don’t forget that Christian Supremacism goes so far beyond the military. I can remember being in a secular, public school and being told to take off my necklace with a Pentacle, because it was and “offensive, cult symbol,” by a teacher who was wearing a cross necklace. And it’s so important that our politicians be encouraged to keep in mind that only a portion of Americans are still Christian, this country is becoming more and more diverse everyday, not only culturally and racially like everyone can plainly see, but also religiously. Please continue your efforts to educate the public.

June 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(4) Adam says:

@Pamela

Please tell me your kidding. You do realize that 76% of the United states is christian(not just religious)right? Diverse my ass. Oh and atheist supremacism is also becoming a threat. What religions did you think most dictators in the past were(stalin, Mao,and even hitler to a sense)?Hell athests are the jerks in school who teach us that evolution and the big bang are facts even though they are both still theories. Nothing more. Just cause monkeys look like men doesn’t mean we came from them. We use to think the universe revolved around earth just cause it looked like it did. Things aren’t always true just cause they look like they are.You’re not very bright are you? If you’re gonna wear a pentagram then at LEAST know what it means. It’s a sign of satanism and paganism. Your teacher said it was an “offensive, cult symbol” because it WAS AN OFFENSIVE, CULT SYMBOL. Not just christians are offended by it. ITS THE SAME SYMBOL BLOODDRINKERS USE TO WEAR. Would you say the same thing if you wore a swatiska?You felt offended that your teacher told you take it off? Well your teacher probably was offended by you wearing it. Please think about other people next time instead of just assuming something from your selfish, close minded head.

June 15, 2011 at 5:35 am
(5) Austin Cline says:

Oh and atheist supremacism is also becoming a threat.

Prove it.

What religions did you think most dictators in the past were(stalin, Mao,and even hitler to a sense)?

Communist?

Hell athests are the jerks in school who teach us that evolution and the big bang are facts even though they are both still theories.

Do you know what a “theory” is in science? I don’t think so.

Nothing more. Just cause monkeys look like men doesn’t mean we came from them.

Do you know what evolution is? I don’t think so.

You’re not very bright are you?

Says the person talking about things they are obviously ignorant of.

If you’re gonna wear a pentagram then at LEAST know what it means. It’s a sign of satanism and paganism. Your teacher said it was an “offensive, cult symbol” because it WAS AN OFFENSIVE, CULT SYMBOL.

Some can say the same about the cross.

Please think about other people next time instead of just assuming something from your selfish, close minded head.

Sound advice which many Christians, including you, never take.

June 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm
(6) HighDudgeonAZ says:

Adam,

Hitler was a practicing Catholic, not an atheist; his vitriol and persecution of Jews was similarly inspired by (and helped by) Christians.

July 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm
(7) Seriadh says:

“Please tell me your kidding. You do realize that 76% of the United states is christian(not just religious)right? Diverse my ass.”

Please tell me you’re just being intentionally obtuse. Even accepting your figure, that leaves 24% that are other beliefs or non-beliefs, and shows a distinct lack of reading comprehension as she had stated, “becoming more and more diverse”. You DO understand what the term “becoming” means, don’t you?

“Oh and atheist supremacism is also becoming a threat.”

I was unaware of any. I guess it got drowned in all of the Christian supremacism. Can you cite some examples of atheist supremacism occurring here in the U.S?

“What religions did you think most dictators in the past were(stalin, Mao,and even hitler to a sense)?”

Actually, I think you’ll find far more examples than that of religious dictatorships, especially if you look further than the last century. Oh, and you really haven’t read up on Hitler, have you? Catholic, and had the support of the Church.

“Hell athests are the jerks in school who teach us that evolution and the big bang are facts even though they are both still theories. Nothing more. Just cause monkeys look like men doesn’t mean we came from them.”

As has already been pointed out, this just shows your willful ignorance and intentional stupidity. Either you don’t know, or refuse to know, what theories are in science and what evolution is. Personally, I think you intentionally misconstrue both because you wouldn’t be able to make an argument, much less a rational one, against the correct representations. It’s a typical religious tactic.

“We use to think the universe revolved around earth just cause it looked like it did. Things aren’t always true just cause they look like they are.”

Yes, you did, and when evidence was presented that argued against that concept, the Church imprisoned the person arguing science. Some things never change.

July 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm
(8) Seriadh says:

“You’re not very bright are you? If you’re gonna wear a pentagram then at LEAST know what it means.”

Wow, if THAT isn’t pot calling kettle…

“It’s a sign of satanism and paganism.”

Not that it’s a academically creditable source, but did you even check Wikipedia? Sumerians, Pythagoreans, CHRISTIANS, Taoists… have all used it.

“Your teacher said it was an “offensive, cult symbol” because it WAS AN OFFENSIVE, CULT SYMBOL. Not just christians are offended by it.”

Would you care to point out who the others are? Many are offended by the cross in all of its many forms as well, (apparently including yourself in it’s swastika form) but of course that should retain privilege including advocation by a representative of the school system, right?

“ITS THE SAME SYMBOL BLOODDRINKERS USE TO WEAR.”

And it’s seen a lot of other uses, as has the cross. Shall we ban all icons on those grounds then? Variations of the Sun Cross for instance, used by some Christians, are also used by some white-supremacist groups…

“Would you say the same thing if you wore a swatiska?”

You mean that other variation on the cross that has been used in Eastern religions and was only incidentally (in the broader scope of things) perverted and stigmatized by the Nazis?

“You felt offended that your teacher told you take it off? Well your teacher probably was offended by you wearing it. Please think about other people next time instead of just assuming something from your selfish, close minded head.”

Great advice, that the aforementioned teacher and yourself should definitely consider taking, assuming you manage to overcome your rampant hypocrisy. By the way, nothing in our laws says that you have a right to not be offended…

June 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm
(9) A says:

Yeah Pamela. Go girl! You go girl! You are very right to wear the Pentagram! Yeah, yeah for the Pentagram. Yeah for Pamela for having a Pentagram too. Let somebody say bad things about that person’s cross and they shall scream like cat’s. Good for you Pamela and I thank you for giving us your message! Blessed Be! P.S. Our foes envy us! Blessed Be!

April 27, 2007 at 11:04 pm
(10) John Hanks says:

It is probably the predominance of “religious” military leaders that has led to so much simple-minded behavioristic thinking in Iraq. Fundamentalism creates a rigid mindset which is a handicap. The treasonous agenda of the religious right is reason enough to discriminate against these types. They are as bad as Communists.

June 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm
(11) Adam says:

Alright this comment is obvious trolling. Christians were killed on sight by atheist communists. Fundamentalists today are in no ways killing atheists on sight. Strange that when atheists are in power, they kill anyone that’s not them, but when christians are in power, everything is fine. Now when one possible atheist(we don’t even know if Pat was atheist since the only info we got was from atheists trying to build up atheism)dies, then all atheists have to run to that. Pathetic.

June 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm
(12) Jon says:

@ Adam

Communists didn’t kill Christians on sight. That’s ridiculous. If you’re referring to Communists in Russia, almost the entire country is Christian, and, after the fall of communism, there were plenty of Christians left. How did all those Christians survive for 70 years if they were being killed on sight?

Yes, Communists in Russia tried to ban the Eastern Orthodox Church, but that was a suppression of liberties from a totalitarian government, not due to some sort of atheistic dogma, because there is no atheistic dogma.

And if you’re referring to Chinese Communists, well I’d like to point out that during the Cultural Revolution the Maoists went after educators who taught things like evolution and cosmology that went against the Maoists beliefs. Doesn’t that sound more like what reactionaries and fundamentalists in the US want to do? Credulous thinking, mob mentality, and a stubborn refusal to accept science are problems in any belief system, whether it be communism or Christianity.

June 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm
(13) GnosticAtheist says:

During the Holy Inquisition the Catholic Church burnt alive 9 million women as witches and one million Jews. Germany was 98 percent Catholic and Lutheran during both WWI and WWII. The Nazis were Christian. They killed 6 million Jews “because the Jews killed Christ.”

Gods and Devils are fictional characters that people make up by the thousands, like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. Just as sure as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny are fictional, Gods and Devils are fictional.

April 28, 2007 at 1:31 am
(14) God Isn't says:

This does make me wonder if the “friendly” fire (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) was deliberate because Pat Tillman was an atheist. If the American military has become militantly christian, it would seem likely that an atheist’s life might not be worth much, especially given the fact that some christians believe that life, in general, isn’t all that important.

It’s time that the Democrats do what they were hired to do: end the occupation of Iraq, and impeach the Bush regime, et al.

June 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm
(15) GnosticAtheist says:

The last I heard Tillman was shot 3 times in the head from close range with an M-16. It was plain murder of a U.S. soldier BY a U.S. soldier, but there is no accountability in the military.

April 28, 2007 at 11:59 am
(16) George says:

“The treasonous agenda of the religious right is reason enough to discriminate against these types. They are as bad as Communists.”

The Ayatullah Khomenei said that Communism was just Christianity stripped of reference to God.

June 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm
(17) Adam says:

Yes cause everything the Ayatullah Khomenei says is right. You do know he was obssessed with islam and persecuted any non muslim minorities right?

June 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm
(18) Dave Y. says:

@ Adam,
eveything said by Fundie trolls will be ignored by people of intellect, thats something your unevolved monkey butt has never thought of as important, which is why those of intellect have always ignored those of your ilk, ingnorance is NOTHING to be proud of!

But one reality stands tall, ” You Just Can’t Fix Stupid!”, and the people of Adams ilk prove this every day with great pride!

May 4, 2007 at 12:26 am
(19) Jake says:

Your argument is good, and well written but I think it is way out of line to say christianity rules the US. Look at tv, radio, hollywood, or any other facet of popular society. You will see that secular humanism is moving in. What the Officer said was insensitive but I think what he was trying to say was that he being a christian thought it unfourtunate that Tillman’s family thought that way. God Bless. My prayers are with Tillman’s family and all of you.

May 21, 2007 at 8:57 pm
(20) Brian says:

God isn’t: Pat Tillman was killed by his fellow soldiers because he wasn’t a Christian? What is this, The Crusades? Why are atheists so worried about prayer? If there is no God, you’re just uttering a bunch of meaningless words, right? Because you don’t believe in God, you want the rest of the world to not acknowledge God because it makes you uncomfortable. Kindof like campaigning to shut down Starbucks because you don’t like coffee.

May 21, 2007 at 8:58 pm
(21) Brian says:

God isn’t: Pat Tillman was killed by his fellow soldiers because he wasn’t a Christian? What is this, The Crusades? Why are atheists so worried about prayer? If there is no God, you’re just uttering a bunch of meaningless words, right? Because you don’t believe in God, you want the rest of the world to not acknowledge God because it makes you uncomfortable. Kindof like campaigning to shut down Starbucks because you don’t like coffee.

July 13, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(22) Austin Cline says:

Why are atheists so worried about prayer?

We’re not, if you keep it to yourself.

Because you don’t believe in God, you want the rest of the world to not acknowledge God because it makes you uncomfortable.

Non sequitur. I don’t believe in fairies, but don’t try to keep others from expressing their belief in fairies.

August 10, 2007 at 6:02 pm
(23) Brooke says:

“Non sequitur. I don’t believe in fairies, but don’t try to keep others from expressing their belief in fairies.”

why then, do you try to keep others from expressing their beleifs in god, when, to you, it amounts to the same thing?

June 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(24) GnosticAtheist says:

They can pray any time that they want, except when they use the power of the government to FORCE other equal citizens to join them. EVERY time that a religion has had the power of government, it trys to enslave all others and women.

August 11, 2007 at 12:32 pm
(25) John Hanks says:

I don’t care if someone prays or reads a comic book, except in an emergency like combat. They can pray under their breath all they want as long as they keep their eye on the ball.

August 16, 2007 at 7:42 am
(26) DamnRight says:

What if some “insensitive” atheist officer had suggested to some christian family that their son died harboring a misplaced belief in an afterlife?… what an uproar that would cause…

November 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm
(27) steve says:

God isn’t, you are an idiot. I’m not one for name calling, but to say that Pat Tillman was intentionally killed is an insult. Regardless of whether the military is predominantly Christian based or prefers Atheism is completely irrelevant. You all seem to forget why you’re even allowed to practice religious freedom, and that’s because the brave men and women of the military have protected that freedom for hundreds of years. Not to mention, being in the military is a brotherhood. Those men are willing to die for each other whether they believe in God or not. Judging someone for being an atheist or a christian is wrong either way. Personally, I’m religious, but one of my best friends is an atheist, and of course we have our disagreements, but we share a mutual respect for each others’ beliefs. If Pat Tillman’s family chooses not to acknowledge God, then that’s their choice, but for all of you to either judge them on that, or to judge others who disagree with their beliefs is ridiculous.

August 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm
(28) Kim says:

This is not rhetorical, but a real question. If a soldier who has been killed is a professed Atheist, do they still have a prayer service to which others are required to attend? I’d also like to say that I am a Christian, yet in NYC (where we’re the minority by a lot) and have always been part of progressive theological sensibilities. It’s such a shame that the more vocal, evangelical “Christians” end up branding all. I hope they are truly in the minority as I believe are most fanatical Muslims, Atheists, Pagans etc. I think that most people who are comfortable with their beliefs, whatever they may be are less inclined to get bent out of shape by what others say or think about them or their particular religions, belief systems, philosophies etc. Spiritually grounded people, in my experience have no need to spend their time being “anti” anything. They are proactive about life and the power of universal connectedness. All of this debate over someone’s personal beliefs is antithetical to that. If we could all spend more time investing in one another’s success and relative comfort, it would be irrelevant as to what or who motivates us: Buddah, Christ, Allah, Moses, Ancestors, Science, Nationalism, Sci Fi authors… – why does it matter so much to you or anyone else? What does it “cost” you? Really wondering.

June 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm
(29) Joan says:

Adam is the perfect example of why we need to teach more history in schools. But then, I guess you can’t fix stupid.

June 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm
(30) A says:

I am afriad that you are very right about that Adam. This is very true and very sad. Peace

June 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm
(31) A says:

I thank you Joan. Very well said.

June 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm
(32) Lisa says:

Adam also needs to take an elementary school science class and learn what the word “theory” actually means when used in a scientific sense. Then he needs to move up and take a middle school life science class so he can learn what evolutionary theory actually teaches.

January 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm
(33) Anon says:

Christian fanatics murdered Pat Tillman, plain and simple. The man was a true American hero who was betrayed by Christian soldiers.

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