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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

An Atheist and A True American Hero

Posted by rabbiart on April 26, 2008

Rabbis are not usually in the position of endorsing atheism or praying for atheists. And atheists are likely to be unmoved by prayers that are said on their behalf. However, anyone who considers him or herself truly religious ought to stop for a moment and offer up a prayer for the safety and future career of U.S. Army Sergeant Jeremy Hall. Sgt. Hall has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and others for failure to protect his personal safety from other American soldiers and for denying him a promotion to which it appears he is at least as well qualified as other soldiers who have received similar promotions. Sgt. Hall was told by his chain of command that his is not suitable leadership material because he is – according to the words of the lawsuit – unable to put aside his personal beliefs and pray with his men.”

According to the CNN report occasioned by the filing of the lawsuit, the Army told Sgt. Hall that it could not protect him from his fellow soldiers, and then transferred him stateside to fort Riley, where he continues to be a team leader in a military police battalion.

There are unfortunately too many people in the world who claim to be of strong faith, whose faith seems to demand that everyone else have an identical faith. IMHO, as we say in the web world, a faith that cannot withstand, much less embrace, differing expressions of faith, is not a strong faith at all. It is, instead, weak, weak, weak. The “watchword of our faith” as some have called the שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד (Listen israel, Ado-nai is our G-d, Ado-nai is One) is also saying to us that our G-d, whom we know as Ado-nai, is also the G-d of everyone who calls upon him (or her if you like). Yes, we have our faith, but others have theirs, and the fact they have a faith different from us, should not cause us to question our own.

Why Sergeant Hall is an American Hero

He is standing up for what he believes in.  He chose not to go along to get along. Let’s pray that he doesn’t get a fragging based case of Nathan Hale disease.

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2 Responses to “An Atheist and A True American Hero”

  1. Shirley Gould said

    Is there a special category for chaplains in the military, who are required to lead prayer for any faith?

  2. rabbiart said

    Chaplains are required to minister to all faiths, including “non-faith” based beliefs. See this document for even how the Catholic church itself articulates the required practices for a Catholic chaplain in the military

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