Second Soldier Sues over Religious Freedom Issues

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TOPEKA - An atheist soldier at Fort Riley is suing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, claiming he was forced to took part in public prayers.

Spc. Dustin Chalker is the second soldier at the northeast Kansas post to file suit alleging violations of religious freedoms. Chalker is joined in the lawsuit by the New Mexico-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Chalker says he was required to attend one function last year and two this year in which sectarian Christian prayers were delivered. The lawsuit also says Chalker's experiences are part of a larger pattern of the military promoting sectarian Christian beliefs.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.