Friday, October 9, 2015

Air Force Fires "Hindu Witch"

One of the long-standing problems in the United States military is the undue influence exercised by Evangelical Christians in the Air Force. Members of other religions have reported aggressive proselytization for years, but this story still sounds so outlandish it's hard to believe.

Until recently, Deborah Schoenfeld worked as a dental technician at an Air Force base in Maryland. Schoenfeld follows the Hindu religion, and endured ongoing harassment by co-workers who considered her evil because she was not Christian. If anybody out there wonders why I post so many articles about things like Ten Commandments monuments and religious discrimination on the part of local governments, it's in part because giving Christians special privileges enables this sort of toxic culture.

Schoenfeld was eventually fired under suspicion of being a "Hindu witch." Personally, I had no idea such a thing even existed. Prior to her dismissal, here is some of what she encountered on the job trying to work with a pack of Evangelical bigots. These events were confirmed by multiple witnesses.
  • In her time at Epes Dental Clinic she was actually and specifically accused of “witchcraft” and “bringing demons into the office.” She has been officially advised that she is not allowed to know who her accusers are.
  • She has been openly disparaged for not having the same religious views as her superiors (Evangelical Christian) and being “uninterested in taking part” in Christian rituals or the rampant and rapacious, workplace-based, Evangelical Christian proselytizing which is outrageously and comprehensively supported by her former command.
  • She has been admonished that practicing yoga is “Satanic” and will “cost (her) her soul”.
  • She was advised by her chain of command to pray against the recent Supreme Court ruling against same sex marriage, as it is “an abomination to their religion”.
She was also given a "religious test," which she failed, after which she was fired. If a clearer case of religious discrimination is out there, I haven't heard of it. The Air Force claims to be "looking into" the allegations, which likely means that unless the case attracts a lot of negative publicity they will do their best to sweep the whole incident under the rug.

So share this article or the original story far and wide. A literal witch hunt has no place in our society, and should be called out at every opportunity.

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Unknown said...

It's hard for us in the secular UK to imagine how bad it is in the US.Sure, we have Evangelicals, but they don't have the kind of stranglehold that they evidently have over there.It's not just the fundamentalism that beggars belief, it's the insularity of some of the more powerful institutions one of the most powerful nations on earth.

Scott Stenwick said...

This case actually kind of mystified me too, and I cover the antics of Evangelicals all the time. Whining about being oppressed by the existence of other religions is kind of par for the course for them, but to flat-out fire someone for "witchcraft" and not even go to the trouble of lying about doing something so blatantly illegal is a whole new level of stupid.