"RICHMOND, Va. – A staff sergeant erred when he banished dozens of soldiers to their barracks and ordered them to clean up after they refused to attend a Christian concert on a Virginia Army base last year, an investigation concluded.
When the Army learned the soldiers were punished, the company commander apologized to them the next day, according to the investigation's findings, released Tuesday to The Associated Press.
The sergeant's actions in May 2010 at Newport News' Fort Eustis were not consistent with the voluntary nature of the concerts, Williams said.
The command did not find sufficient evidence to indicate there was any malicious intent and therefore deferred any discipline down to the battalion command,' Williams said.
Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which first reported complaints by the soldiers, described the investigation's conclusion as typical for the military.
'Blame some lower-ranking enlisted guy who didn't know any better,' he said in an interview. 'That is just a completely inappropriate and disgraceful statement.'
Weinstein called the Christian concerts 'an absolute attempt to establish fundamental Christianity in the military.'
Williams described them as "nondenominational with no particular religious affiliation."
Two soldiers who were punished told the AP they felt pressured to attend a performance by the Christian rock group BarlowGirl, as part of what was billed as the 'Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts."' [Source]
Finally, I need you all to help me with something. I am sure you have heard about Evan Emory by now. He is the man who thought he was being funny by tricking a school into letting him sing for a bunch of first graders, and then, thanks to some new age trickery, dubbed in some explicit lyrics in the songs and posted the video on the web. [I would show it to you, but I don't think it is available anymore] It was a hit with his friends and on You-Tube, but, unfortunately for him, not with the authorities.
So here is what I need to know from you: The DA in Muskegon, Michigan is throwing the book at him, and I want to know if you think it's excessive. My man is looking at 25 years in the big house and having to register for 25 years as a sex offender. (Talk about a practical joke gone wrong.)
Now what he did was appalling, and if I had a child in that class I would want to go all Mike Tyson on him my damn self. But did he actually abuse these children with his digital prank? Or is this uncharted territory calling for careful navigation on our part? Let me know what you think.