WriterDD already mentioned the latest in a long line of depressing stories about atheists in foxholes earlier this weekend but I wanted to rant a little more on this one. This story is obviously about blatant discrimination and, if true, I hopeÂ Jeremy HallÂ follows this to the very end and gets a huge settlement.Â The men and women serving their country have it hard enough without adding crap like this to their daily lives.Â
But the thing about this story that really got me thinking was the thread on the MSNBC discussion board about this article which said “Discuss: Should atheists be allowed to command troops?”
First of all, the hell?Â There’s an insult inherent in just asking the question (Do you think MSNBC would ever point people to a forum saying “Should black people be allowed to command troops?”).Â But as I thought about it more, it became interesting to me to think about the key tenets of the military and how an atheist may have a reputation that conflicts with those tenets.
In the military, chain of command and obedience to a higher authority is paramount.Â And following orders without question is key, at least when the fighting starts. Does that sound familiar? Is the real question, do Christians make better soldiers, because they prefer being unquestioning followers of authority? Or, at least, is that perception there among the miltary’s more godly?
Do they worry that being an atheist leader means you have more of a tendency to rebel against your authorities and, in turn, not give accurate orders to the troops under your command?
Or am I overthinking it? Atheists have adequate evidence their officers exist, and they are certain of punishment if they disobey. Is it as simple as “we don’t like atheists and don’t want them promoted”? Or “I don’t trust those heathens because I don’t understand their motivations — I’m here fighting because God loves America. How can I trust someone who’s fighting for some other reason?”