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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army to grant conscientious objector status and an honorable discharge to a soldier who says he experienced a religious awakening in Iraq.
The ruling supersedes the Army's decision last year to deny Pfc. Michael Barnes' request. Barnes had told the Army that his religious experience two years ago left him opposed to war in any form.
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick said military investigators failed to provide ‘'a basis in fact'' to support their contention that Barnes' religious objections to war were insincere.
Barnes, a 26-year-old native of Portland, Oregon, said Monday in a statement released by his lawyer that he was thankful the court found his request was based on his ‘'sincere belief as a Christian.''
Barnes enlisted in the Army in March 2005 and arrived in Iraq in September 2006.
"I have been trying to justify being a soldier and finding a way to do so while still being a Christian,'' Barnes wrote in his request for conscientious objector status in December 2006.
ANCHORAGE -- The U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage is protesting a magistrate's ruling on the conscientious objector status of a soldier.
Pfc. Michael Barnes was denied conscientious objector status by an Army review board.
However, a magistrate ruled earlier this month that the board had erred.
Barnes, a 26-year-old paratrooper in the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, enlisted in the Army for five years in 2005. He says during a tour of duty in Iraq his Christian faith became stronger and he became morally opposed to war.
Army officials found that Barnes' request was at odds with him saying previously he wanted to serve in Iraq. They also noted that the request came three months after his deployment to Iraq. And they said officers in his chain of command were never made aware of his objections to the war until he was reassigned in December 2006 to serve as a gunner.
Originally posted by ANoNyMiKE
Well that was convenient wasn't it! They should have some MP's follow up with his "awakening" a few months after he gets home; see how that's working out for him.
Originally posted by hypervigilant
He told me he would say, Stop in the name of the Lord. I explained that the enemy would not understand him and he would be dead, and that was O.K. with him, but he would not kill.
Originally posted by dodgygeeza
I find it funny how alot of people here can laugh at a man for literally seeing himself be thrown in the lions den, when they themselves have never experienced that feeling.
Until you know what its like being on the front lines and staring death right in the face, you don't have a right to mock this man.