You’ll be familiar with the story of Jeremy Hall, a US soldier who is suing the military for violating his First Amendment rights. See here for a fuller account, but in August last year Hall organised a meeting of atheist soldiers in the Iraqi base where he was then stationed. One of the attendees, Christian fundamentalist Major Freddy Wellborne, broke up the meeting, threatened to charge Hall with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and promised to block Hall’s re-enlistment in the Army if the atheist group continued to meet. Since then, Hall has been removed from his base in Iraq after receiving death threats from his fellow (and presumably not atheist) soldiers.
Hall was recently briefly interviewed on Fox News regarding the lawsuit. (The interview can be seen here, or via the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.)The following exchange took up most of the interview time:
FOX: And Specialist Hall, just so we all understand your mindset. You know there’s this old adage that there are no atheists in foxholes. You’ve been shot at. Did you ever consider that there might be the existence of God?
HALL: I just don’t have a belief in that.
FOX: Why don’t you . . . have you never believed in God, or was there something that happened where you stopped believing in God?
HALL: I was raised religious, and I came into the military. I had some friends with atheist leanings and [. . .] they had questions, and I thought about what they said, and I came up with my own conclusion.
FOX: Which is what?
HALL: That there’s no God, or there’s no [. . .] lucky charms, or anything like that.
Could somebody please explain to me what Hall’s reasons for being an atheist have to do with the price of tea in China? Thanks.