Debate Magazine

Atheist to Sue U.S. Army Over Prayer to Heavenly Father

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?


Would you get enraged if some children believe in the Easter Bunny?

For people who say they don’t believe God exists, atheists certainly are uptight about anyone praying to this non-existent being.

During an event last September at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, a U.S. Army chaplain allegedly prayed to the Heavenly Father. That act of praying to a being who atheists believe doesn’t exist so offended Staff Sergeant Victoria Gettmana fallen Catholic (from my experience, there is nothing so vicious as a fallen Catholic), she is now threatening to sue.

Heather Clark reports for Christian News, Feb. 9, 2013, that Gettman and a number of other soldiers were attending a mandatory suicide prevention session, which concluded with a prayer. The prayer itself was voluntary as soldiers were not required to participate.

But Gettman says she was offended because she believed it was obvious that the chaplain was delivering a Christian prayer: “The chaplain said we have to have something bigger than ourselves. We need, and he stresses need, to have something divine in our life. The entire theater was [then] forced into a mass Christian prayer. … I heard him refer to his ‘Heavenly Father’ and ‘Lord.’”

While Gettman acknowledged that the closing prayer was optional, she asserted that some of those in attendance may have been from other faiths and were not aware that they did not have to participate. She filed a complaint last year with the Army’s equal opportunity office and also discussed the matter with her superiors. However, Gettman is not satisfied with the response she has received.

“After I had that meeting with the EO[A] — and I was so disgusted with the way he treated me that first time, I went to my leadership — I went to my first sergeant — and I told him the whole story,” Gettman told reporters. “A couple days later, he comes back to me and says it was just a miscommunication … I was horrified by that, too. It felt like I was being blown off.”

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation then contacted the Army and demanded that the chaplain who delivered the prayer be disciplined and that the Army apologize to the soldiers that they had to endure a prayer that was made to the Heavenly Father. However, he was unhappy with the response he received as well.

Now, Weinstein is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Army on behalf of Gettman if he does not receive what he feels is an acceptable response.

The Army denies any wrongdoing. In a statement last October, the Army wrote: “The Battalion Chaplain spoke to the companies gathered in the theater and he encouraged the young Soldiers to lean on a higher power in their journey through life. The chaplain’s prayer had no reference to any specific deity, and ended with the words, ‘through Your holy name.’ This is the same ending offered during each training course, graduation ceremony or other military-sponsored event. The Army is cognizant of our soldiers’ religious freedoms, and would never violate their free exercise of religion or choice not to profess a religious faith.”

Mikey Weinstein
God help us

Note that Gettman, Weinstein, and every litigious atheist I can remember aren’t really offended by people praying to Allah, Buddha, a wiccan goddess, or any of the millions of Hindu gods. What sends them into a sputtering, spitting rage is the Christian religion and the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and of the three Persons, especially Jesus the Christ.

From my research on demonic possession which I undertook several years ago, I seem to remember that one of the signs is an aversion to the Holy. Hmmm….

Here’s looking at you, Victoria Gettman and Mikey Weinstein!

Christ on Cross


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