Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point

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#1
Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point
AP 2 days ago By Michael Hill

ALBANY, N.Y. — A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets.

Blake Page announced his decision to quit the U.S. Military Academy this week in a much-discussed online post that echoed the sentiments of soldiers and airmen at other military installations. The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination earlier this semester that he could not become an officer due to clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.

"I've been trying since I found that out: What can I do? What can I possibly do to initiate the change that I want to see and so many other people want to see?" Page said. "I realized that this is one way I can make that change happen."

Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called "heathens" by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he'd never be a leader until he fills the hole in his heart. In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced "criminals" in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution.

"I don't want to be a part of West Point knowing that the leadership here is OK with just shrugging off and shirking off respect and good order and discipline and obeying the law and defending the Constitution and doing their job," he told the AP.

West Point officials on Wednesday disputed those assertions. Spokeswoman Theresa Brinkerhoff said prayer is voluntary at events where invocations and benedictions are conducted and noted the academy has a Secular Student Alliance club, where Page served as president.

Maj. Nicholas Utzig, the faculty adviser to the secular club, said he doesn't doubt some of the moments Page described, but he doesn't believe there is systematic discrimination against nonreligious cadets.

"I think it represents his own personal experience and perhaps it might not be as universal as he suggests," said Utzig, who teaches English literature.

One of Page's secularist classmates went further, calling his characterization of West Point unfair.

"I think it's true that the majority of West Point cadets are of a very conservative, Christian orientation," said senior cadet Andrew Houchin. "I don't think that's unique to West Point. But more broadly, I've never had that even be a problem with those of us who are secular."

There have been complaints over the years that the wall between church and state is not always observed in the military. The Air Force Academy in Colorado in particular has been scrutinized for years over allegations from non-Christian students that they faced intolerance. A retired four-star general was asked last year to conduct an independent review of the overall religious climate at the academy.

There also has been a growing willingness in recent years by some service members to publicly identify themselves as atheists, agnostics or humanists and to seek the same recognition granted to Christians, Jews and other believers. Earlier this year, there was an event at Fort Bragg that was the first known event in U.S. military history to cater to nonbelievers.

Page said he hears about the plight of other nonreligious cadets in part through his involvement with the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The founder and president of that advocacy group said Page's action is a milestone in the fight against "fanatical religiosity" in the military.

"This is an extraordinary act of courage that I do compare directly to what Rosa Parks did," said Mikey Weinstein.

Page, who is from Stockbridge, Ga., and who was accepted into West Point after serving in the Army, said he was notified Tuesday of his honorable discharge. He faces no military commitment and will not have to reimburse the cost of his education.

West Point confirmed that it approved his resignation and that Page had been meeting the academic standards and was not undergoing any disciplinary actions. Page said he had been medically disqualified this semester from receiving a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant — like his classmates will receive in May — because of clinical depression and anxiety. He said his condition has gotten worse since his father killed himself last year.

It's not unusual for cadets to drop out of West Point, an institution known for its rigorous academic and physical demands. But the window for dropping out without the potential for a penalty is in the first two years. Dropouts are rare after that point.

Page expects to leave for his grandparents' home in Wright County, Minn., in the coming days. He plans to remain an activist on the role of religion in the military.

"I'd really love to be able to do this for the rest of my life," he said.

http://news.msn.com/us/cadet-quits-cites-overt-religion-at-west-point?ocid=ansnews11
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Jan 12, 2010
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#6
Fuck this asshole. His mission in life as an atheist is to limit the ability of soldiers to practice their religion before going off and possibly dying for their country. Fuckface, you don't have a god that gets offended if people worship other gods.
 

VMS

Victim of high standards and low personal skills.
Apr 26, 2006
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#7
There are no atheists in a foxhole.
 

Creasy Bear

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#8
Jesus, what a faggot.

I took shit from a Bible-thumpin' redneck boot camp company commander for the NRP(no religious preference) on my dog tag. Oh well. If he wasn't giving me shit about that, he'd be giving me shit about something else. There's never a shortage of shit to give you in the military. That's the military... they give you shit, and you take that shit... or you don't, and you go your sorry ass home.

Heathen? I would've worn that like a badge of honor. I would've put that on my dog tag instead of NRP if they'd let me. What kind of limp dick gets offended by insults to their LACK OF belief? It's like racial slanders by minorities against white people... they just doesn't work. I've had my caucasianess insulted in more languages and accents than I can remember, and not one of them has failed to amuse me.

Look at this guy! He doesn't believe in biblical fairytales! He's a big jerk who is damned to burn in the cartoon lake of fire of my childish beliefs!

Yeah... that's darned hurtful. :rolleyes:

This candy ass certainly wasn't military material... good riddance.
 
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gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
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#9
ALBANY, N.Y. — A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could get blowed up real good in Afghanistan if he had to lead troops into battle.
fyp
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#20
Except for all the atheists. :action-sm

In all honesty, that phrase is retarded because it alludes to a situation that demonstrates clearly the hypothetical Judeo-Christian-Islamic god's infinite apathy and/or hatred.
The truth is there are no people in the foxhole, it is only yourself that creates the faiths around you.

 

Creasy Bear

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#21
So you can serve in the army and take people shooting at you but 5 minutes in the prayer circle and you can't take it?
That was exactly the point I made... if candy ass can't take a little hurtful hammering at his atheism, then he sure as hell can't take the rigors and insults that are basically the backbone of life in the military.

That's what the military does... they find your "weak spot" hammer at it, and see if you'll crack. If your "weak spot" happens to be something politically incorrect... race, religion(or lack thereof), gender, etc... oh fucking well... it's nothing personal... it's just the military way. Suck it the fuck up, or make like a tree and beat it, cupcake.
 
Likes: mills
Dec 12, 2007
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#22
That was exactly the point I made... if candy ass can't take a little hurtful hammering at his atheism, then he sure as hell can't take the rigors and insults that are basically the backbone of life in the military.

That's what the military does... they find your "weak spot" hammer at it, and see if you'll crack. If your "weak spot" happens to be something politically incorrect... race, religion(or lack thereof), gender, etc... oh fucking well... it's nothing personal... it's just the military way. Suck it the fuck up, or make like a tree and beat it, cupcake.
Exactly, break down what you were and build it into something stronger, better, faster and able to fight wars. Also bigfoot.

 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
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#23
I still think he heard the soaring rhetoric of King Obama 4 years ago promising to get us out of the Middle East. He thought he could get a free education and then sit around a stateside base until his commitment was up. As time drew short, Obama was still sending troops over and he needed a quick exit.
 

mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
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#24
That was exactly the point I made... if candy ass can't take a little hurtful hammering at his atheism, then he sure as hell can't take the rigors and insults that are basically the backbone of life in the military.

That's what the military does... they find your "weak spot" hammer at it, and see if you'll crack. If your "weak spot" happens to be something politically incorrect... race, religion(or lack thereof), gender, etc... oh fucking well... it's nothing personal... it's just the military way. Suck it the fuck up, or make like a tree and beat it, cupcake.
Liked for the Star Trek reference, real or perceived.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#25
I still think he heard the soaring rhetoric of King Obama 4 years ago promising to get us out of the Middle East. He thought he could get a free education and then sit around a stateside base until his commitment was up. As time drew short, Obama was still sending troops over and he needed a quick exit.
Except he campaigned on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. So he's as dumb as the idiots that keep parroting that bullshit.
 
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