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Fort Riley defendant in religious freedom suit


Here are recent headlines about the military in Kansas:Fort Riley ¢ 1st Infantry Division[(AP) Faith -- Defense Department named in suit over religion freedom:][1] A soldier whose superior prevented him from holding a meeting for atheists and other non-Christians is suing the Defense Department, claiming it violated his right to religious freedom. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges a pattern of practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military. It was filed last week to coincide with the 220th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Maj. Paul Welborne as defendants. According to the filing, Spec. Jeremy Hall, a soldier assigned to Fort Riley's 97th Military Police Battalion, received permission to distribute fliers around his base in Iraq for a meeting of atheists and non-Christians. When he tried to convene the meeting, Hall claims, Welborne stepped in, threatening to file military charges against Hall and block his reenlistment. [(AP) Lawmakers urge funding of new Riley cemetery:][2] The Fort Riley cemetery has officially run out of space and Kansas lawmakers are urging the Veterans Affairs Department not to delay funds for a new cemetery. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Republicans, asked VA officials Thursday to make money available for the new veterans cemetery before the end of the year. "While a new cemetery would not be completed in time to alleviate this situation immediately, it is vitally important," Roberts and Brownback said in their letter to William Tuerk, VA's undersecretary for memorial affairs. The senators said the timeline for finding money to build the new cemetery already had been pushed back.[(Asbury Park Press) N.J. guardsmen set for "challenge":][3] Just months after the New Jersey National Guard's first mission to train the Afghan National Army, a second team of 16 soldiers bid goodbye to their families Thursday and set out on a yearlong mission to help Afghans fight the Taliban. "It's a challenge. We've been doing the global war on terror for five or six years now, and most of my comrades have already gone," said Maj. Jemal J. Beale of Ocean Township, a 21-year New Jersey guardsman making his first combat deployment. "Nobody wants to go to war, but if you're going to go, this is the way to do it, with a group of motivated volunteers." ... Before departing for Fort Riley, Kan., for further training, the team gathered for a farewell ceremony that included accepting a guidon - a small unit flag - that has not been used by any New Jersey National Guard unit since African-American soldiers of the segregated First Separate Battalion carried it in World War II. [1]: http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?a=308700&z=31 [2]: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/09/ap_rileycemetery_070921/ [3]: http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070921/NEWS02/709210432/1070/ENT


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