The soldier who refused to show reverence during the benediction at the practice ceremony said he would have been excluded had he not called in the "atheist cavalry" to threaten a public relations nightmare. In response, the Army has ordered the atheist to stand at attention while all other graduates bow their heads.
-- From "Military backs off threat to pull atheist from ceremony" by Jennifer Rizzo, CNN 10/19/11
The 20-year-old private first class, a proclaimed atheist, is graduating from Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina on Thursday.
The soldier, who requested that CNN not give a name and gender for fear of repercussions, called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation on Wednesday after taking part in a rehearsal for the graduation.
Officials at Fort Jackson threatened to pull the soldier from the ceremony but then backed down, according to the soldier, after hearing that the soldier had contacted the religious freedom foundation.
“It is not the command’s policy to force anyone to bow their heads and clasp their hands to pray,” said Patrick Jones, Fort Jackson Public Affairs Officer. “The Army fully recognizes all faiths or lack there of”.
To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.