Michigan National Guard Deploys to Muslim Nation from Christian Church
Is this what we’ve come to? The Department of Defense gleefully posts a raft of photos as the Michigan Army National Guard deploys from a Baptist Church, giant cross in the background, and soldiers seated as choir apparently to sing the praises of a New Crusade?
The Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers seeks to support those many humanists, atheists, and other nontheists serving in what is clearly an oppressive Christian culture in the Michigan Army National Guard. Will military leadership perpetuate this problem or make amends with those soldiers they have alienated?
Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard, presides over the 1st Battalion, 182nd Field Artillery Regiment, Michigan National Guard, at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit on October 17, 2015 as it deploys to the United Arab Emirates (official religion: Islam) in support of Operation Spartan Shield, a joint UAE-Jordanian-US artillery training exercise. (Images by U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Bratic/Released)
Church-state separation need not even enter into the discussion. Simple good sense should be enough to stop military leaders from so closely entangling their fighting forces with Christianity while preparing to do exercises with a Muslim country. What we have here is mandate for reprimand from national National Guard leadership to make clear that (as if it needs to be said) military commanders must not deploy their units from churches or mosques or temples or any sectarian location. Nothing can be more explicitly an abuse of authority to promote Christianity, not only to the subordinate soldiers present, but to their families and to our interfaith allies overseas. This is a miscarriage of leadership. If General Vadnais wishes to lead a body of Christians, he should renounce his vows to defend our secular Constitution, exchange his general’s stars for a cross, and petition a willing, non-coerced congregation to listen to his preaching. The same applies to all of his subordinate commanders.