Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amended Complaint Expands Reigious Promotion Charges Against Army

Yesterday the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed an amended complaint (full text) in Chalker v. Gates, (D KA, filed 12.29/2008), seeking to protect enlisted military personnel from being required to attend military functions and formations that include Christian prayer. Plaintiff, an atheist stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, says that his treatment is evidence of a broad pattern and practice of the Defense Department and the U.S. Army unconstitutionally promoting religious belief. The 25-page amended complaint lists more than 2o examples of impermissible promotion of religion by the military. These range from military flyovers at religious events to the content of the Army's suicide prevention program. The suit was originally filed last September. (See prior posting.) Yesterday's Kansas City Star reports that the expanded complaint was filed after Chalker unsuccessfully attempted in recent months to pursue his complaints administratively. The amended complaint alleges that Chalker has exhausted the intra-Army administrative process in seeking relief.