Soldiers not forced to aid churches, fort says

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Fort Gordon officials said Wednesday they do not compel soldiers to do charity work for churches.

The question was raised when a national organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, complained about soldiers assisting Catholic Social Services.

The group, which has also raised questions about the Augusta Mayor’s Office and church prayer breakfasts, released a statement this week saying it had pressured the fort to stop the practice.

“The Freedom From Religion Foundation has stopped a violation in which soldiers were being forced to mow Catholic Charities’ lawn,” the Tuesday press release stated.

“FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel drafted and sent a letter on July 5 on behalf of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and also signed by American Atheists, objecting to using U.S. soldiers to support Catholic Social Services of Augusta. The Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy’s Advanced Leader Course (ALC) at Fort Gordon, Ga., ordered soldiers to ‘provide area beautification support to the Catholic Social Services.’

“FFRF’s complainant has assured us that the “program with Catholic Social Services has ceased.”

The fort released a statement Wednesday saying, “The issue raised by the Freedom From Religion Foundation results from a misunderstanding.

“Soldiers taking part in community service projects while attending the Regimental Non-Commissioned Officers Academy may choose the project in which they participate from a list provided by the Academy. Catholic Social Services is on that list because they have periodically requested assistance from Fort Gordon Soldiers. However, because CSS is a private organization, all Soldier assistance to it must be provided on a voluntary basis. “We understand the sensitivity involving issues of belief, and we want to ensure that our Soldiers fully understand the voluntary nature of the program. We will reemphasize to our Soldiers that participation in any particular project is voluntary and that they may choose a community service project that matches their personal values. Catholic Social Services remains one of the programs that Soldier may voluntarily assist as part of their service project,” the statement read.

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rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 07/18/12 - 04:30 pm
4
1
It is time for our moral and

It is time for our moral and religious leaders to come out and take a stand against this Freedom From Religion Organization. It is time for God's people to make a noise and be heard. We have to cowtow to every little organization because we are afraid of hurting their feelings. Well, it is time we strike back and show these groups their feelings do not matter. They will be wanting Freedom From Fire on judgement day.

CobaltGeorge
175282
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CobaltGeorge 07/18/12 - 06:34 pm
3
1
rmwardsr

Pretty well worded......

Riverman1
93345
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Riverman1 07/18/12 - 05:45 pm
5
0
Ernie said...

Ernie said, "Tell them to go to hell."
Sylvia C.

Gage Creed
19385
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Gage Creed 07/18/12 - 06:24 pm
4
1
FFRF and Westboro.....both

FFRF and Westboro.....both wastes of pixels

TheBigBonk
116
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TheBigBonk 07/18/12 - 06:42 pm
1
1
It's been encouraging to me
Unpublished

It's been encouraging to me that there has been heightened activity by this FFRF organization lately. Some of their efforts I applaud, while others I find a bit extreme. If I could I would petition the Augusta Richmond County Commission to enact an ordinance prohibiting churchs or any other places of worship from operating within 1000 feet of any school or day care center. A bar cannot operate close to a school and the government increases the penalties if one is caught selling drugs within 1000 feet of a school. I think that most would agree with me that religion has the potential to be just as dangerous to little children as drugs or alcohol.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 07/18/12 - 07:30 pm
0
0
"“FFRF’s complainant has

"“FFRF’s complainant has assured us that the “program with Catholic Social Services has ceased.”

No it hasn't, it has just been made clear to the soliders that it is voluntary (always has been) to assist this religious organization. Catholic Social Services remains one of the programs.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 07/18/12 - 07:31 pm
0
0
Gage, I would have to agree

Gage, I would have to agree with you.

noway
201
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noway 07/19/12 - 08:13 am
1
0
Forced volunteerism

The students get to choose a project, but not individually. How would you like it if you were Baptist, and the group chose a project for the Muslim Mosque? You must volunteer with your group, but you don't believe in it. That's the point, not the fact that they are doing something to help the CSS. Yes, it's voluntary, but if the soldier doesn't participate, they probably won't get credit for community service and thus not graduate. That's not "volunteer".

redapples
681
Points
redapples 07/19/12 - 08:55 am
0
0
I bet these organizations

I bet these organizations would be some of the first wanting protections by our wonderful soldiers. Their thinking is beyond my understanding, and I am glad for that!

Nomaninthesky
347
Points
Nomaninthesky 08/05/12 - 01:35 pm
0
0
FFRF and Westboro?

The FFRF and Westboro are complete opposites. The FFRF is a great foundation and I agree with what they are doing. I hope they keep getting on Augusta's case, because Augusta is quite the little city crossing the lines of government and religion. Good going FFRF!

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