U.S. servicemen are up in arms after a large cross was removed from outside a chapel on a military base in northern Afghanistan. The base, called Camp Marmal, is German and hosts NATO forces. The chapel in question is an interfaith house of worship that is overseen by the U.S. Army.
Soldiers say that they felt comfort as a result of having the cross visible from the outside of the chapel. In an e-mail to Politico, one serviceman said, “Sometimes the Church and the ability to openly express religious views ultimately gets people through the deployments over here.”
According to this particular soldier, when he asked a chaplain what had happened to the cross, he was told that it needed to be taken down. The faith leader, however, didn’t share any additional information on the matter.
“We are here away from our families, and the chapel is the one place that feels like home,” added another service member. “With the cross on the outside, it is a constant reminder for all of us that Jesus is here for us.”
Not having it there is really upsetting,” a serviceman explained. “I walk by the chapel daily on the way to chow and the gym, and seeing the cross is a daily reminder of my faith and what Jesus accomplished for me. It is daily inspiration and motivation for me to acknowledge my faith and stay on the right path.”
Commander William Speaks, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, confirmed that the cross has been removed, telling Politico that taking it down was a necessity. “The removal was, in fact, in accordance with Army regulations,” he said.
Apparently, the Army chaplain manual prohibits the display of religious symbols. Here’s a portion of the manual that explains these regulations:
Service members who are discontented with the decision believe that it is an attack on their faith. “I really don’t understand why Christians are always attacked. If it was a crescent moon on top of a mosque, it would never be taken down,” one said.
On a blog owned by a man who claims to currently be serving on the base, the following it written:
What’s next? Are they going to start calling the Chapel the “Faith Center”? Are they going to take “God” out of the very oath we take when we enlist in the United States Military? Are they going to remove our religion on our ID tags? Are they going to allow us to wear a cross while in uniform? Are military personnel going to be allowed to bow their heads and pray before each meal? Are we going to go through and edit all of the quotes from our founding fathers so that they are politically correct and neutral in regards to religion and faith? Are we going to ban the picture of George Washington praying at Valley Forge?!
The incident has these soldiers wondering where the line on religious freedom and expression will inevitably be drawn.
In: Other Middle East
Tags: Soliders, Up, in, Arms, After, Officials, Remove, Cross, From, U.S. Military, Chapel, in, Afghanistan
Location: Afghanistan (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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