Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit this past week against a Maj. Paul Welborne and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The suit, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges that Welborne threatened to file military charges against Hall and to block his reenlistment for trying to hold a meeting of atheists and non-Christians in Iraq. Hall is in Iraq with the 97th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Riley. He has been in Iraq since 2006, on his second tour.
The suit also alleges Gates permits a military culture in which officers are encouraged to pressure soldiers to adopt and espouse fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
In a series of e-mails to Mikey Weinstein, the foundation's founder and president, Hall said he feared for his safety after being "hallchecked" - being shoved against a wall in a hallway - by fellow soldiers who objected to his lawsuit.