A message from Army Lt. Adkins. He has some harsh words to share on an issue that many of us (non Army folk) are not aware of. What do you think?
It was bad enough when Army chaplains and leaders like Chief of the National Guard Bureau Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum were disparaging atheists in the press. It was bad enough when my formal EO complaint was thrown away by the National Guard Bureau EO office. It was bad enough when the Department of the Army Inspector General’s office refused to follow regulations and send me a written response to my formal EO complaint. It was bad enough when I had to file for documents pertaining to my complaint under the Freedom of Information Act to discover its disposition. It was bad enough when those documents revealed that, despite the unlawful discrimination that had occurred according to Army Regulation 600-20, the Army concluded that “Lt. Gen. Blum’s remarks, though perhaps insensitive, did not rise to the level of an offense”.
Now the Army National Guard is telling its unit level Equal Opportunity representatives that it is OK to discriminate against atheists. They are using my formal EO complaint as a training scenario in which a Lieutenant files a formal EO complaint against a general officer for claiming that there are no atheists in foxholes. The Sergeant Major who conducted the EO training for Ohio’s unit level EO reps told them that “since atheism is not a religion, atheists are not protected by the regulation and it is acceptable for officers and chaplains to disparage their own soldiers”. This is, of course, a fallacy. To discriminate against a soldier because he has no religion is still discrimination on the basis of religion. The Army’s position on this is like saying that discriminating against someone because they are black is illegal, but discriminating against someone because they are “not white” is fine.
This only further confirms that the problem of bigotry towards atheists in the Army is a systemic one. The Army not only looks the other way when officers and supposed leaders disparage soldiers because they lack a belief in the supernatural, the Army systematically ignores formal EO complaints by atheists and refuses to enforce its own regulations. Now, being the efficient machine it is, the Army is training its EO reps to ignore legitimate EO complaints by atheists at the lowest possible level. I am so glad I submitted my resignation as an officer. The Army has disgraced itself by protecting bigots and allowing unlawful discrimination to continue.
1LT Wayne Adkins