FOX News Radio
The US military reportedly ordered soldiers to remove a cross and a steeple from atop a chapel and to board up cross-shaped windows at a remote American forward operating base in Afghanistan.
The removal of Christian symbols from the chapel at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E came after a solider complained -- leading American Atheists president David Silverman to send a letter to the Pentagon.
"Soldiers with minority religious beliefs and atheists often feel like second-class citizens when Christianity is seemingly officially endorsed by their own base," Silverman told Fox News. "We are very happy the Pentagon and the Army decided to do the right thing."
Silverman said a Christian chapel on an Army base in Afghanistan could have put American troops in danger.
"It enflames this Muslim versus Christian mentality," he said. "This is not a Muslim versus Christian war -- but if the Army base has a large chapel on it that has been converted to Christian-only, it sends a message that could be interpreted as hostile to Islam.
The Army released a statement to NBC acknowledging board had also been placed over the cross-shaped windows while the base ordered new doors.
"The local command in Afghanistan is aware of this chapel and has taken appropriate action to ensure that it is changed into a neutral facility," said a statement from an Army spokesman at the Pentagon to the NBC.
The base reportedly sent out a memo to soldiers explaining that the crosses had to be removed to bring the chapel into compliance with military rules.
Army Regulation 165-1, 12-3k states:"The chapel environment will be religiously neutral when the facility is not being used for scheduled worship. Portable religious symbols, icons, or statues may be used within a chapel during times of religious worship."
"Symbols are to be moved or covered when not in use during services. Distinctive religious symbols, such as crosses, crucifixes, the Star of David, Menorah, and other religious symbols will not be affixed or displayed permanently on the chapel interior, exterior, or grounds. Permanent or fixed chapel furnishings, such as the altar, pulpit, lectern, or communion rail will be devoid of distinctive religious symbols"...
Silverman stressed that their complaint was not an attack on Christianity.
"The chapels are for every member of the service – even the atheists," Silverman said. "This is not an attack on Christianity. This is an equalization of the chapel's use in compliance with Army regulations."
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/24/2013
Editor's Note: "'The chapels are for every member of the service – even the atheists,' Silverman said..." What?...Okay, if this contention is to be entertained then Atheism needs to be officially recognized as a religion...but then, they wouldn't be able to attack Christians and Christianity the way they do now, would they?...Which brings up another question. If a person is a true atheist, why would they care at all about religious symbols??
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