SEOUL, South Korea — The 8th Army is looking into a complaint that the use of a Bible during a military ball violated a soldier’s religious freedom.
The soldier wrote to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation after a Bible was included in a POW/MIA table display at the Adjutant General’s Corps Ball sponsored by the Morning Calm chapter on May 13.
An 8th Army spokesman stressed that the ball was a voluntary social event and not a command-sponsored or an official unit function.
The soldier also expressed frustration over a description of the significance of the Bible and other objects on the table during a ceremony.
"I was completely taken aback by this," the soldier said in the letter, which the advocacy group emailed to news organizations and posted on its website. "Placing the Christian label on all uniformed personnel is a gross violation of religious freedom, and a warning shot to ‘fit in, or be ostracized.’ "
The soldier, who feared retaliation and was not identified by the foundation, said that as a secular humanist atheist "there is no way that I felt part of the team after this transgression."
In an email to the 8th Army commander, MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein called the actions "deliberate and despicable violations of…