Where Did God Go in Afghanistan? An Atheist Writes.
By KATHLEEN JOHNSON - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Added: Wed, 17 Nov 2010 04:18:58 UTC
Thanks to LWS for the link
Kathleen Johnson is the Vice President of American Atheists and founder of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. She is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and retired as a First Sergeant after more than 20 years service. She is now a Department of the Army civilian. This is her response to the At War post ‘Where Did God Go in Afghanistan?’ by Capt. Michael Cummings.
On Nov. 5, 2010, I read an article titled “Where Did God Go in Afghanistan?” by Capt. Michael Cummings. Captain Cummings, who reported his thoughts concerning sparse attendance at religious services in Afghanistan, speculated as to why so few soldiers were willing to attend these services. He stated that he personally could not imagine anyone being in combat without a belief in God, but theorized that being openly religious wasn’t “cool” enough for modern troops and that’s why they failed to attend religious services that were arranged for them.
Throughout his heartfelt article, it was clear that he was distressed by the seeming lack of overt religious practice in combat theater and was bewildered by the cause.
I, however, as an atheist who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, viewed his experience as a reason to hope that the problem of religious coercion in the military has perhaps reached a peak and is starting to subside, at least in some places under some commanders. It has been a few years since I last served in a combat zone (my last redeployment was after a tour in Iraq near the end of 2007), but what Captain Cummings reported was far, far different than the situation I remembered from both Afghanistan and Iraq.
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