Troops: Sgt. Punished Us for Skipping Christian Show
Pentagon investigating complaints after concert
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Suggested by AnonymousCommenter
Posted Aug 21, 2010 4:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Army is investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up. Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base. "My whole issue was I don't need to be preached at," Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. "That's not what I signed up for."

Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend a concert by Christian rock group BarlowGirl or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said. "Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down," Smith said. "It seemed very much like a punishment." Says an Army spokesman: "If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy."