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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
American Atheists' Complaint Letter to the US Army
The Honorable Leon Panetta
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20318-9999
General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400
To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to our attention that a chapel on Forward Operating Base Orgun-E in Afghanistan has been illegally modified to look like a church with a steeple and crosses etched on the doors.
These modifications directly violate military regulations, including Army Regulation 165-1 (see enclosure). Chapels are a shared space, and no religion has more right to these buildings than any other. Soldiers with minority religious preferences and with no religious beliefs often feel like second-class citizens when Christianity is seemingly officially endorsed by their own base. We’re proud of all of our nation’s troops as they serve and defend the U.S. Constitution, and we rightfully insist that they all be treated equally, regardless of their religious affiliation.
In 2011, the Pentagon faced a similar situation involving a cross at Camp Marmal. They rectified the situation quickly (and commendably) by removing the cross to make the chapel comply with Army regulations. We urge you to take similar measures as soon as possible.
I look forward to your response.
President, American Atheists, Inc.
Excerpt from AR 165-1
Images of the chapel at FOB Orgun-E