Community Issues Group Al-Islam Center Seattle, WA / YouTube Chaplain LTC Khallid M Shabazz Ph 1539529278.jpg...
Community Issues Group Al-Islam Center Seattle, WA / YouTube

When it comes to religion, I really have no dog in the fight. I am an atheist, and honestly, that label actually bothers me. I simply do not believe that a higher power exists—I have never understood why that needs a label. That being said, I do not care what anyone else believes, or does not believe. If it makes you happy, awesome, if it does not make you happy, find something that does.

This past week I came across an article about Khallid Shabazz, a name that really won’t mean anything to anyone except those who are close to him. Lt. Colonel Khallid Shabazz will be the first Muslim Chaplin to be promoted to Colonel in the U.S. Army. 

What is interesting about Col. Shabazz’s journey is that it did not follow a traditional path.

Shortly after converting to Islam, then-Sgt. Khallid Shabazz struggled to find his way while his devout Lutheran family and fellow soldiers questioned his move, and with a few Article 15s for insubordination on his record, Shabazz, a field artilleryman at the time, wanted out of the military.

Then, one day while training out in the field, an Army chaplain approached him and struck up a conversation. “Honestly, it was like a revelation from God,” Shabazz said. “When it hit my ears, I knew that was what I was going to do in life. It was incredible.”

The Christian chaplain had told Shabazz, who was a teacher before he joined the Army, that he should consider being a Muslim chaplain. That way, the chaplain said, he could help other Muslim soldiers in need of guidance.

Shabazz later became a chaplain, and proudly wore his uniform with the Islamic crescent moon stitched onto it. The career change was a catalyst for him, as he went on to achieve several other goals.

Col. Shabazz now holds four masters degrees and two doctorates. He has also written three books and teaches online college courses at four different schools. He strikes me as someone who found his passion, followed it, and lives a very fulfilling life.

You would not know that of you were to read the Facebook comments on this article.

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I do not know what the “oath of servicemen” is, but I do know the oath of enlistment does not say a damn thing about what religions are allowed in the military.

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Being told to research something by someone who cannot spell—I will get right on that.

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I am assuming this person is unaware that Muslims have been in this country since its start. That, and Col. Shabazz converted from being a Lutheran, to Islam, he was born in the United States.

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Some overzealous Christian Chaplains have gotten into trouble for doing things they should not be doing. No one has been crucified.

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Yeah, why does the military let white guys in? They are constantly committing senseless acts of violence.

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Muslims don’t like Pop-Tarts?

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I think this one speaks for itself.

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These two were right in a row—really quite fitting to have this much ignorance in one spot. I am guessing this is the first time the first guy has ever defended, “gays.” The second guy, well he is clearly a constitutional lawyer—not really sure what he is babbling about though.

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This guy I actually engaged—he accused me of calling him names. Don’t want to be labeled as a bigot, then don’t be a bigot. It is really a pretty easy rule to follow in life.

To be fair, there were a lot of folks telling these bigots to piss off. But they were outnumbered by the willfully ignorant. Every single time I think I have seen the worst of conservative groupthink, something like this comes up and it surprises me. It shouldn’t, I should know this is what you are going to get by now.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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