November 28, 2011
A large cross outside a chapel at Camp Marmal, an isolated base in northern Afghanistan, was taken down, prompting outrage from some American troops stationed there, POLITICO reports. When asked what had happened to the cross, the base chaplain said simply, "I had to take it down." Pentagon spokesman Commander William Speaks said the removal was "in accordance with Army regulations" since the Army chaplain manual prohibits permanent display of religious symbols. However, service members said they found great comfort in the chapel and the cross outside. "Not having it there is really upsetting," one said. "Seeing the cross [was] a daily reminder of my faith." Two soldiers said the removal was an attack on Christianity, and noted that there had been no complaints from Muslims -- there are two mosques on the base -- or Jews, who conducted a service in the chapel without objection. "We would just like to know where the line is," an Army serviceman said. "The chaplains wear different religious symbols on their uniforms depending on which religion they are. Is that the next thing to be targeted?"