For the past three years, an atheist Army sergeant has had to remain silent as lie after lie was told about him by an Air Force Major named Jonathan Dowty. Major Dowty, a.k.a. JD the Christian Fighter Pilot, is a Christian officer who belongs to the Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization that thinks the real duty of a military officer is to raise up “a spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
As a devout Christian officer, Major Dowty has made it a practice to publicly attack and defame atheist and other non-Christian enlisted service members by name, knowing that they can’t respond to defend themselves because he’s an active duty officer, so it would be insubordinate for them to respond to him.
Major Dowty has relentlessly targeted five particular service members on his christianfighterpilot.com blog — three atheists and one Muslim in the Army, and one Air Force tech sergeant who practices an earth-centered religion. All of these service members are or have been clients of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and include my fellow blogger here on Freethought Blogs, foxhole atheist SGT Justin Griffith.
Well, one of the soldiers Major Dowty has been lying about on his blog, SGT Dustin Chalker, just got out of the Army, and is now free to fight back against this Christian bully who has dogged him for the last three years.
Dustin’s “first order of business” upon becoming a civilian was to go straight to Major Dowty’s blog and post a little comment on a post that Dowty wrote about him just this week. Dustin’s comment, submitted last night, has not yet shown up on Major Dowty’s blog, where the comments are, of course, “moderated,” so I thought I would post it here.
You should be ashamed of yourself, JD. For years you’ve made a hobby of publicly attacking subordinate lower enlisted and NCO’s who can’t defend themselves against your constant defamation. The last time I engaged you on this website, I found out that you are still an active duty field grade officer and had to end the conversation. You, clearly, have no such reservations about good order and discipline, and seem to enjoy dragging your subordinates’ names through the mud. What do you think is the effect when the leaders, peers, and subordinates of your targets come across the unprofessional and inappropriate public attacks you launch against your subordinates? How does it make you feel smearing subordinates who can’t say a word back to you? You get to blast out all of the defamation you want from behind the cover of that little oak leaf.
I’m not worried about that any more, Dowty. Let’s drag your name around for a little while and see what your leaders, peers, and subordinates think.
Jonathan Dowty pulls quotes out of context to deliberately cast a false light on others’ character, drops passive aggressive loaded questions, misdirects from the issues with irrelevant non-sequiturs, denies facts he has no knowledge of with fallacious argumentum ad ignorantiams, and abuses the definition of nearly every word he touches. And that’s just in this one blog post.
//a lawsuit that was tossed out because Chalker failed to use the internal grievance systems the Army has in place//
Jonathan Dowty is lying, pretending not to know what really happened. My commander was informed of my grievance and declined to do anything about it. I was turned away by IG and JAG, who both refused to investigate and referred me to EO. My initial informal EO complaint was found to be “unfounded.” I used internal remedies. This is all in the testimony (alongside the Army’s deceptive equivocation of this EO complaint with a later unrelated complaint, and my ex-commander’s perjury that I never raised the issue with him). No, I didn’t “exhaust” the internal remedies. Why? Because the problem is institutional in scope, and the internal systems can only provide local solutions. So what if I resolve the problem for myself at one post in one unit with one commander, and the same thing will happen again after the next change of command, the next PCS, or some soldier in another unit somewhere? Internal remedies for this *don’t exist*.
//there is no indication the military, as an institution, “forces” anyone to participate in any religious act.//
Jonathan Dowty wants the government to force his religion on other people. Being present IS participation. Being forced to stand in silent respect IS participation. The closest thing I have to a “religious practice” is to LEAVE when people do things I find intellectually absurd and irrational. Why can’t I “practice my religion” and leave? Forcing me to stand there is forcing my participation, especially when the soldiers assembled are very often the subject of the prayer. If you’re praying about me, and forcing me to stand there, that is forcing my participation, Dowty. If a Wiccan forces you to stand silently on a parade field in a position of respect so he can cast a spell on you, would you mind? Would you comply? Or would you say, “hey, I don’t want to participate in this hogwash”? Even if you are capable of suppressing your instinctive aversion to getting spells cast on you long enough to comply for the sake of maintaining a semblance of intellectual consistency, you would discover exactly why it is wrong to force everyone to participate in other people’s religious rituals.
//Oddly, Chalker presents a mutually exclusive proposition: If the voluntary presence of prayer prefers “religion over non-religion,” wouldn’t an official ban on prayer prefer “non-religion over religion?”//
Jonathan Dowty attacks me with a fallacious claim that I’ve made a “mutually exclusive proposition” when the truth is that Dowty set up a false dichotomy because straw men are easier to debate than soldiers who can’t reply to him. No, Dowty, non-religious is not the opposite of religious. Despite your loaded question and its flawed premises, not praying shows no preference whatsoever to “non-religion over religion”. Not praying is the position of neutrality. Preference is shown when one group is given the podium and a captive audience, gagged and forced to listen to the other group’s rituals or opinion. Preference to religion is shown when troops are forced to stand there for your prayers. Preference to non-religious people would be shown if you were forced to stand there and listen silently while a philosopher explains that there is no reason to believe in god and you’d be better off sleeping in on Sunday. This isn’t a simple dichotomy of religion vs. non-religion. Jonathan Dowty is a demagogue and propagandist who uses these deliberate fallacies to construct a narrative painting neutrality as being anti-religious, when in fact neutrality is ::gasp:: neutral.
//There is no religious test in the Global Assessment Tool, despite military atheists’ opinions to the contrary.//
Jonathan Dowty likes the spiritual fitness test, because it discriminates against people with non-religious philosophies. The GAT questions all rely on premises of a religious nature. The questions are not directly about any specific mythology, but they require religious beliefs in order to answer in a manner to get a high score. No person who rejects supernatural beliefs can score well on the GAT without twisting the plain meaning of the words.
//Naturally, this rampant threat to national security has manifested itself in demonstrable ways.//
Jonathan Dowty thinks if something hasn’t happened before, it can never happen. Anytime you disenfranchise people, you create the potential for backlash. How many examples of insider threats over the years should I dig up? Hasan comes to mind. You don’t think religious bullying plays a part in pissing some of these people off? I don’t actually know any crazy atheists, but I also don’t believe that being non-religious magically makes them immune from the factors that lead to extreme or violent ideologies or behavior. You like to blame all sorts of evil crap on atheists, so I’m surprised you’d shy away from the possibility of one of them doing something drastic as a backlash for having magic Jesus spells cast on him all the time.
//What is surprising is how long it took.//
Jonathan Dowty is blind to anything that isn’t immediately obvious, and likes to talk about things he doesn’t know anything about. You should’ve signed it. Or tried to. Chances are you would encounter the same glitches that thousands of people complained to me about last month. I don’t know if every petition has this problem, or if the apostrophe in the title created the bugs due to embedding problems. Either way: the sign up process was broken, the page wouldn’t load from the normal URL and required a workaround, and most users got an error or maintenance screen even after multiple tries. I doubt if even half of the people who tried actually managed to sign.
// It’s a shame he didn’t use the opportunity to present a factually accurate description of the religious climate in the US military.//
Jonathan Dowty should be ashamed of himself, for using his website as a public forum to attack subordinates who can’t respond because Dowty is an active duty Air Force officer who outranks all of them and anything they say could be construed as “disrespectful” and used against them to harm their military career. Dowty fails to recognize that even if he personally “allows” these subordinates to engage him here, doing so could nevertheless result in action by their soldier’s own commanders because military standards apply 24/7. Jonathan Dowty’s blog posts defaming non-commissioned officers are detrimental to good order and discipline, and should be removed from the internet because they are accessible to those soldiers’ leaders, peers, and subordinates. Jonathan Dowty’s disregard for good order and discipline ought to be noted and acted upon by his superiors, who have thus far failed in their duty to enforce military standards of mutual courtesy and respect, allowing Dowty to wage a public smear campaign for many years.