The American Humanist Association is disappointed to learn that the United States Army has been engaging in discriminatory practices with the utilization of their Global Assessment Tool (GAT) within the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. The tool, which is meant to measure various levels of each soldier’s daily functionality, unfairly targets humanists, atheists and other nontheists as dysfunctional in regard to their assessment scores.
Soldiers are assessed in the areas of emotional, social, family, and spiritual strength. Nontheists naturally score low in the “spirituality” portion of the exam and are subsequently offered training, which is presented to them as mandatory, to improve their scores in this area.
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has visited the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness office and corresponded with staff up to Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum to provide clear suggestions to attempt to mend this broken program. BG Cornum and staff were unwilling to consider any changes or to recognize our concerns with the existing content on the GAT questions or training modules.
The American Humanist Association has worked closely in the past with The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to end similar forms of discrimination. The Air Force has been very collaborative and involved in efforts to include nontheists in their cadet religious respect training and 2010 Religious Respect Conference. We’d like to see the Army take similar steps in respecting the rights of humanist and nontheist soldiers.
Please take a moment right now to send a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh and remind him that this gross form of proselytization has no place within the army. A soldier’s functionality should not be measured on the basis of religious belief.