By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – Military development. Academics. Athletics. Three pillars of Army values that cadets at America's most prestigious military academy live by.
But West Point cadet Blake Page says there is one other unspoken pillar at the United States Military Academy: religion.
That's why, with just five months left before graduation, Page quit.
And he did it in a most public fashion – in a fiery blog post.
"The tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution," wrote Page, 24, in The Huffington Post.
"These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation. These transgressions are nearly always committed in the name of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity."
Page said he felt discriminated against for being nonreligious. And that discrimination, he alleged, was systematic.
In his letter of resignation, he said: "I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same.”
He said West Point made prayers mandatory and students who took part in religious retreats and chapel choirs were given extra passes. He said officers incentivized religious activities and there was generally open disrespect for nonreligious cadets.
"The problem is a lot of people don't report it," Page said.
The U.S. Military Academy confirmed that Page's resignation had been accepted and that he was being honorably discharged.
However, spokesman Francis DeMaro Jr. said Page's claim that prayer was mandatory was not true.
"The academy holds both official and public ceremonies where an invocation and benediction may be conducted, but prayer is voluntary," he said.
"As officers, cadets will be responsible for soldiers who represent America’s great diversity in faith and ethnic background," he said. "The academy provides cadets the opportunity to foster an understanding regarding the fundamental dignity and worth of all."
DeMaro said West Point has a Secular Student Alliance club to meet the needs of nonreligious students.
Page went to West Point because, he said, he'd always wanted to become an officer in the U.S. Army.
After high school in Stockbridge, Georgia, he enlisted and spent three years in an air defense unit. While there, his commanders encouraged him to enroll at West Point.
Page knew how prestigious an institution it was. It would be an awesome career move, he thought.
He began at West Point, Page said, as a high performer. He was encouraged to seek out challenging positions. He said his tactical officer and mentor even tried to promote him to squad leader prematurely in his sophomore year.
But later, he struggled after his father committed suicide. He was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and disqualified from being commissioned as a second lieutenant, the usual next step for West Point graduates.
Still, DeMaro said, Page was meeting academic standards and was not undergoing any disciplinary actions.
Page said he quit before graduation because he could no longer fulfill his dream of being an Army officer.
He had been trying to effect change for nonreligious students, he said, from inside the military. He said he would continue to advocate from the outside through his affiliation with the advocacy group Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
The group's founder and president, Mikey Weinstein, called Page's act one of great courage. But he said he was not surprised by Page's allegations.
"We have the Christian Taliban running amok unchecked in the technologically most lethal organization ever recorded in human kind," Weinstein said about religion and the military. "There's no problem except that we have a small document called the Constitution that separates state and religion."
Weinstein said people like Page were critical in ensuring constitutional rights for all those who join the military.
"There is no difference between this and degrading anyone for the color of their skin or being a female," he said.
But he commended West Point for honorably discharging Page and not punishing him for what he has done.
Page said he's received support from other nonreligious cadets. But he's also been called a coward and a quitter.
A former classmate, Charles Clymer, wrote an open letter to Page on the Facebook page of the Secular Student Alliance. Clymer described himself as a Christian but also an "aggressive, outspoken liberal" who voiced his opinion loudly on what he called the injustice of "don't ask, don't tell" and limited career options for women.
He said he was not a typical cadet, but that he was angered by Page's online post and believed that Page lashed out simply because he wasn't cutting it at West Point.
"I never, not even once, witnessed, heard about, or even thought it implied that non-religious cadets face discrimination of any kind at the Academy," Clymer wrote.
"I saw widespread homophobia and sexism but never any negative sentiment towards those cadets who identified as atheist or agnostic," he wrote. "In fact, the closest thing I ever observed that looked like a pro-Christian bias were the few cadets who believed Islam is evil, and that was a very small fraction of our class. The vast majority of Christian cadets treated non-Christian cadets with respect insofar as their beliefs are concerned."
Page said that, ultimately, he was not concerned with what others said about him.
"That's really fine." he said. "I am not trying to talk about myself. I am trying to talk about church and state."
The US Military Academy has three pillar to organization of American security development.
Sarva Dharma Ashram Trust is a registered, non-profit, public charitable trust working towards its objective of ‘Helping People Help Themselves’ by making the disadvantaged self-reliant and thereby enabling them to lead a life of dignity.God is one
In other words, a mentally ill student who was barred from receiving a commission has resigned from West Point.
are you REALLY that shallow?
We are a majority Christian country. Leading men and women in combat requires a perspective on faith, particularly the Christian faith. Questions related to life and death precede those related to church and state on the battle field. Hope and inspiration derived from faith can make 10 fight like 100. If that force multiplier must be cultivated at West Point, along with all the other elements of combat leadership, at the expense of not being sensitive to atheists, then so be it. They'll learn the lesson when they get in that foxhole and bullets are coming their way.
The Military absolutely discriminates against Pagans and non religious folks....very blatantly at times.
Source: I am a Veteran.
The military is a large and diverse compilation of America. Christianity being the largest secular group in the country is a good reason as to why it is prevalent at West Point and the rest of the Army. I have been discrimated against for my beliefs as a christian, not only in the Army but back home for being a christian and for serving in the Army. Discrimination takes many faces and has many victims. Yet we should realize that the possible actions of a few in the situation in this post should not be misconstrued into blaming an entire organization for discrimination when their motto and creed stands for much more and can weighed by the success and moral standing in the other students that have attended, attending now, and will attend in the future. We should also learn from this and know that one bad word stands out from all the other sentences of positive speach. Too easely is positive thinking and good intentions shot down by the negative few.
Boy needs to grow up already.
yes, be a man
Don't you people see the pattern, this is part of a there religion, they believe the return of the messiah will happen when the Jews have there holy land, so what better place to get a front row seat then to march onward christain soldier, fighting for the lord. Just think the more of those (zelot) christian soldiers that go to help with the second coming, give me hope that just maybe the US will be able to move on to the 21st. centery.
Maybe since it is the 21st century, you should learn to spell.
doesn't mean they are christians...like RCC is not christian.....they must believer Jesus is Lord and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. Easy...don't have to earn salvation.
Free America from religion.
Why anyone wants to go to West Point anyway I don't know, but there must be nothing creepier than being surrounded not only by aggressive wanna-be-killers but a bunch of Jesus Freaks.
Good choice kid.
What a brave and principled move by Page, with only 5 months to go before graduation. So much so that I wonder if there aren't other factors involved.
Mr. Page: the world is full of bigots who claim their god justifies their intolerance. While I admire your stand, you should not underestimate the power and pervasiveness of religious bigotry in this world. Learn to deal with it or be prepared to face of lifetime of hate and rejection by those claiming to believe in a god of love and tolerance.
Due to his psychosis, we was never going to graduate anyway. He would have a received a certificate of completion, but not a diploma.It has been 30 years since I graduated from USMA, and I did not attend religius services at all in those 4 years. Yes those kids on the choirs did get to go sing around the country. And yes I did get time to study and sleep. I never felt pressured nor did I see of sense any discrimination. However I was not a slim blue-eyed fawn like Mr. Page, so what he felt may have been for different reasons.
West Point has changed since you attended, TRUST ME. I was a cadet about ten years ago. The extreme religious "pushing" was just starting to swing into full gear. It was shocking.
My military career was considerably longer than this kid's...but I found the same issues, especially among the Army personnel. There was great pressure from the chain of command to follow their belief system, go to their church services, etc. Yes, praying is voluntary, of course. However, the fact that you do not bow your head or fold your hands is duly noted, and you are then called before the commanding officer to be asked, What's wrong? Do you need counseling? Here is the chaplain to assist you...all while religious music is being played in the office, and the bible quotes are posted on the wall, etc. Don't even get me started on boot camp...many people attended church services simply because the alternative was to stay behind and do extra cleaning. No time off if you don't go to church! All illegal, all routine. At times it was overwhelming.
To me, the whole key to this story is the fact that his father commmitted suicede, the boy slid into clinical depression
and then could not be a second lieutenant because of this. Perhaps if the father had not done this none of this would have happenned. It's all very sad.
He needs to pay the .Mil back for his schooling...
Exactly. This young man may be intelligent, and, has benefitted from an education funded by the US taxpayers,so, either finish what you started or pay back the tuition. Otherwise, he just looks like a quitter.
funny...all the folks I met in the military acted like athiests. maybe I should have gone to west point.
Christians are discriminated against. Suposidly we have freedom of religion yet we cant pray in school, at work, or even out and about without someone speaking out against us. If its not causing you danger and or damage to yourself then grow up and mind your own business.
Quit your whining. There's nothing stopping you from praying at work or school or wherever. You want kids at school to be FORCED to pray, and if you don't get your way you start whining persecution. Do you want to hear about persecution? In many states, atheists cannot hold public office. They cannot testify in court in Arkansas. In some countries, they are subjected to the death penalty.
Get the clue phone – there secret atheists, b/c they think if they say "christian" they will appear good... You really think most our politicians are not 'christian in name only'
Keep your Christianity out of my Secular activity; just because you want to worship some invisible man in the sky does not mean you have the right to do so in my school or any public space...
Thats a lie, yes it does. I can pray in my school all i want
and we have to listen to the worship of yourself why?
"Mind your own business"??
That is hilarious.
I can't sit down to dinner with Christians without their imposing their beliefs upon me.
I love eating dinner with athiests because they always start a conversation about religion.
i don't expect the government to protect my freedom. i'd have to be a christian regardless.
Not TRUE. You can pray -you are not allowed to prey. Just because YOU want to think and believe certain very contentious and unproven things you have NO right to insist that others agree.
This article is not in the Belief Blog because the story is one of being discriminated by religious zealots, not of believing in religion itself. We do have separation of church and state in this country, yet we allow religious zealots to control and influence behavior such as this. It is ridiculous. The student performed his academic and military duties. Why should he be forced to parrot something he doesn't believe because some upperclassman or officer does? I don't see much separation in that.
Paint 'em all green, as long as they are Christian green.
Honorably discharged, no commitment, and a nearly complete college education worth $250,000.00+ free of charge. I hope someone in the GAO is paying attention and sends him a bill.
The bill should be sent to you delusional Christians!
Money well spent. He is still capable of independent thought.
I concur. Education is about training people to THINK, clearly and rationally, not to conform or to perform in a set and predicable way. Of course, the Army simply adores a set and predictable order so he probably counts as a failure for them. Still, he is almost a Poster Child for what real Education should really do.
This kid was using religion as a scap goat..when in reality he had a mental condition, due to whatever, and being a perfectionist he could not admit to himself that he failed because of his own faults, but pushed the blame onto others. Clinical depression is a neurological issue..and sometimes individuals do not want to accept the fact that they even have it, that is has to be from something else. His discharge from West Point should've been a medical discharge, not an honorable. All those taxpayors' money wasted on this cadet..he should have to pay back the educational expenses.
Right, Dr. Freud!
You religious fanatics are the ones who need to pay for this propaganda!
If he had gotten a medical discharge tax payers would be footing another bill for his disabilty in addition to his tuition. I believe he has a right to his beliefs, however I do not think that he developed them just five months before graduation. I feel that none of his credits should be transferrable to another school of higher learning unless he reimburses the taxpayer for the years of education the taxpayer provided him with the understanding that he would protect our country in return per his his contract. There many that attend our Countries Military Academies that do not believe in everything that goes on but finish their education go on to become fine officers meet their required military service and then leave but they live unto an agreement with the taxpayer. Also he spent three years on active duty so he had to know of the military ways.
West Point is not the only military academy that has had a problem with ranking officers imposing their religion on others. Use Google to research Air Force Academy. LOTS of problems there !
Good news, one less West Pointer who's big fat ego us enlisted men and noncoms have to cosset.
The military needs more independent thinkers, not fewer.
I find this to be very ironic. If anyone in our Nation does practice their faith, we are referred to as fanatics. Somewhere, somehow a persons right to religious freedom doesn't apply to those of us that do practice our faith. If a person objects to religious freedom based on their choice to NOT BELIEVE in a higher power then we believers are supposed to be quiet and pretend we don't believe so non believers aren't "offended". This joker at west point is contradicting exactly what he swore an oath to uphold. I am so fed up with the people that insist on being tolerated, treated like "normal", yada that I avoid the news now. "Normal" is matter of perception. If you don't give a crap about my perception, refrain from "Blogging" you perceptions and keep your fricken drama to yourself. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
You obviously didn't read either the story or the blog. Religion is not persecuted in the government, which is the backdrop of this story. Believe in what you want, but expecting others to listen to your ramblings is unrealistic. I could care less about what u believe. You could still believe in Santa Clause and it wouldn't matter to anyone else. It just seems like religious ppl feel the need to share their beliefs. Keep them to yourself. Nobody cares.
NORMAL is definitely NOT a matter of PERCEPTION... by the way, believing in an invisible man in the sky, praying to him, worshiping him and dissing those that don’t believe in your delusion is not only sick but very sad.
MAN created GOD and religion, simply to control the masses; if you haven’t figured that out by now, you certainly don’t belong on any blog.
I heard a co-worker praising God for there not being more deaths in the Oregon shootings. If God is so powerful, why didn't he prevent the shooting in the first place? There are only three possible answers: He is evil, He is powerless, or He doesn't exist.
LOL!! Reductio ad absurdum, Jennifer! You are living proof of why this man's voice should be heard.
Guess what. He IS normal.
When atheists and agnostics can express ther views without being described as abnormal, then we will be getting somewhere.
Spot on!! I am a former paratrooper and believe me there were no non believers on a plane, at night , getting ready to jump out. There would be nothing but silence and while praying silenty to myself others would be doing the same.
Normal, as in normative, is not relative but a function of statistical measurement. You want all humans to sit at the or near the mode, the point where most people hang around. But people are not beans, they are not all very much alike in all aspects. They have different thoughts, different needs, differing motivations and values. You value conformity, fine. Conform but allow others to make their own choices.
But later, he struggled after his father committed suicide. He was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety and disqualified from being commissioned as a second lieutenant, the usual next step for West Point graduates.
Did Blake Page quit because of "non-religious" intolerance, or because he was not going to be commissioned due to clinical depression and anxiety following his father's suicide?
I'm sorry for his loss, and I'm sure everyone in his military science professors were as well. They most likely had the chaplain talk to him. Thats what the Chaplains are for, support.
Yes, I'm sure blowing a bunch of religious smoke up this young man's derriere helped him a lot...
It is a shame this young man felt the need to quit over such discrimination. Seems to me this is just the sort of person we need as leaders in our military. It is a shame that religious fanatics cannot be happy practicing their religion without trying to foist it on the rest of us.
typical though that when the going gets rough, just quit and everyone will feel bad for you. do you think west point cares if he quit? hell no. why should they care. if he cant take indirect descrimination and hurt feelings than i sure as hell dont want him defending my country.
And, it is NOT your country... your's is somewhere in the sky...
You say this is the type of person we need leading our military based on what? The fact that he's a depressed, anxious atheist? You obviously have no clue what is required to lead soldiers.
yea he's atheist he's smart enough no know the bible is a book of fairy tales. I actually think no leaders should be religious. That way their is no bias or discrimination and we can make sure our military leaders will embrace science.
I suppose he needs to be a man of faith so he can lead his men into suicide situations under the protection of prayer that doesn't work. You do realize you fanatical Christians are one step removed from Muslim suicide bombers right?
You think this man would have been a good leader? Clinically depressed, found unfit to serve, quitting after four years of what he felt was "torture" because others would not conform to his nonstandards...and yet he pushes the chaplin away, the counselor who could have helped him...and that is who you think would make a good leader? Why don't you follow his blog and invite him to lead your children in school, or run your city? Then YOU can benefit from his leadership!
I'd take him anyday over a BUSH or McCain... He has far more integrity than any of you religious clowns...
U$ needs Zombie Pawns to win wars - not the likes of,
Alan Sabrosky or Steve Pieczenik
Athiest, Religous, it doesn't matter. The real issue is has West Point tried to force its opinion on others? I happen to know most military officers and leaders are so political they wouldn't dream of doing anything that would get them pasted on the front page with the likes of Potraeus and his fellow Generals. This kid was probably a screw up who got in trouble for everything else but probably had one idiot make a comment to him about being athiest and is using that as his excuse for being sent home.
It's funny how most of the "Christians" on this board think that the student "must have been doing something else wrong" and that's the real reason he quit West Point. I thought Jesus Christ spoke about not judging.
If atheism is a religion, is "bald" a hair color? Is not collecting stamps a hobby?
No, but bald is a hair style of sorts.
How is "bald" a hair style? It is the LACK of hair. As atheism is the lack of belief in deities.
Because it is the difference between short hair, long hair, no hair. Come come, please think for yourself and stop trying to hang onto that cliche arguement that "no belief is not a belief." You choose to believe in nothing were others choose to believe in something. It is still a belief.
Yes, it is a belief. You believe that after we die there is nothing. You can not prove or disprove that there is nothing after death but you believe that is the truth. So that is your belief system.
It's a struggle, but every day I continue to not believe in Thor.
Believing that you die and stay dead after death is not a requirement to be an atheist. Maybe you should get the definition of an atheist from actual atheists instead of your Sunday School teacher who thinks atheists "hate God."
Does anyone has received monkey blood and survive in blood transfusion. That's should answer All the questions. God vs evolution theory. Good luck people.
OMG we laughed so hard a this that we could not speak for a minute. You might not even be able to survive a transfusion from your own brother! This person was making a joke, right?
Do you know what a blood type is?
I don't think we can use monkey blood in case we need blood transfusion. That's all I can say. Revolutionist? Go figure!
Nor can you use the blood of another human being which is incompatible with your own. Does this prove you aren't a human being?
At the very least you are thinking about the subject. Next try understanding the questions you are asking. The answers are out there young one you just need to do some research. Here is the question you are trying to ask Jgreen. If we evolved from apes (hint: common ancestor) why are there still apes? Try to answer that question and you will be well on your way to understanding the theory of evolution. Don't get discouraged! The answer is well worth the effort.
Please. It's obvious this poster's school taught creationism instead of anything else, including English.
This is the kind of soldier our military needs. We don't need to be running guys like this off. West Point should be ashamed of itself. I've heard similar stories coming from the Air Force Academy.
Really, and what experience do you have with soldiers? What do you know about this guy. I have seen a lot of guys get booted out for being incompetent and then they spend their whole life finding fault or making up faults to explain their failure. I am not saying this guy is, but most are failures. Plus, knowing our leadership, they are too scared of public opinion to "force religoun" on people so I would be this guy is full of crude.
You're saying we need clinically depressed leaders in charge of our military?
News flash: there are already a lot of clinically depressed leaders in the military. (In case you didn't know...)
Not wanting a depressed leader is not discrimination. It's plain common sense. I don't have to discriminate against people with seizure disorder to not want a Greyhound bus driver with seizure disorder driving me across state lines.
I don't know, but I've been told
Going to church is gettin' old
God's not there, he never was
Answering prayers, he never does
I will not sing, I will not pray
It does not help in any way
I've read our book of fear and hate
I will not feed your offering plate
Sound off, one two ...
Great post, Roger that. I'm going to save it.
Hey Roger – Thank You !
I wish we had that version to sing while marching many years ago when I served !
Atheists and other non-religious Americans are the only group that can still be openly discriminated against. They can be, and often are, vilified by people calling themselves 'Christians' (who are not acting in a very Christ-like manner). Non-religious people are like the Nazis in WWII films–nobody's going to say they're civil rights are violated when they're portrayed as evil. It's time to get over this and let religious freedom extend to freedom from religion
When you say that a Christian is not acting in a Christ-like manner you are entering in a contradiction. That means that you believe in Christ and that is incompatible with the atheist point of view, because Christ is God in person.
Here’s a short political list of Non-Christ-Like-Christians:
Pres. George W. Bush
Michelle Bachmann and her dainty and demure wife Marcus Bachmann…
Aside from that small inconsequential tidbit about "Christ-like", macian99 makes very good points. Freedom from religion would be very wonderful. As long as you don't hurt anyone then believe whatever and however much you want. We have subtle discrimination against anyone who does not wear their religion (Christianity) on their sleeve in our area. The man at the BBQ joint railing against Obama as the anti-Christ is tolerated but the kid that does not belong to the Christian athletes association is shunned by the rest of the team.
Christ was a man who preached some fairly good things and then he died.
He was not GOD or a GOD, just a fairly good man.
YOU can make him into a GOD if that makes you "feel better."
Just, Please, don't ask any logical person to believe that nonsense...
Most of the atheists I know are more "Christ-like" than many of the Christians that I know.
What I don't get is why it is always Christians who are the bad guys. There are ijiots in any religous, belief, or non-belief system that hate on anyone who doesn't believe the way they do. Why are you all always attacking Christianity?
Maybe because christians did things such as the Inquisition, and excommunicated Galileo – for pointing out the FACT that Earth is NOT the center of solar system or universe, and the Catholic church has STILL not really officially admitted they were wrong, and ... I could go on, but I think most people get the point.
Uh, the whole point of "Christ" and "Christianity" is that humans ALWAYS fail to act appropriately. Christians just acknowledge they fail and try their hardest to not fail. But they rely on Christ for salvation, not their own works. Might want to study up on religoun a bit more.
How is that whole SALVATION thing going for you and your ilk?
Humans don't always act inappropriately. Do you think Abe Lincoln or MLK were acting inappropriately?
Oh yeah, openly discriminated against huh? Show me a case of an athiest openly catching more flack for his belief system then say a Christian. I see comments, posts, etc all the time bashing Christianity yet see uproars every time a Christian say he thinks being gay is wrong or being an athiest is wrong. So who is being discriminated against?
Who is being discriminated against? Gays. By whom? Christians. When was the last time you heard of an atheist attack gays?
So by believing that being gay is wrong you are discriminating. I would say that gays are discriminating against Christians for villifying them for their beliefs and trying to force acceptence of what they believe is inappropriate behavior onto others. See, it goes both ways.
Um, I'm pretty sure that by denying gays the same rights as straight individuals, that is discrimination by the definition of the word.
I will reference you to Soviet Russia. A lot of athiests attacking both gays and christians.
Try running for President of the USA as an Atheist...\
Yes, of course, here is no religious test to be PRESIDENT!
I have no doubt about what this young man witnessed and experienced at West Point. We have the same type of discrimination in our area, a small community outside Austin, TX. If you don't go to church regularly, then you are not as good as others and looked down upon. They pray on the goal line before football games here; girls tease girls that are not Christian enough; they equate patriotism with Christianity in our Boy Scouts and schools and community in our very Christian town outside Austin, TX. You have to love the military and Jesus to be a patriot. At school they have Christian clubs which I have no prob with that but they outlawed the Zombie movie club at the High School because it promoted violence! Meanwhile, the majority of people hunt and take their kids out of school for it. Gotta get your first kill before middle school. There is no true logic as to how many make decisions.We must actively safe guard separation of church and state. Very dangerous not to and I commend this young man for going public.
If you're so miserable "outside of Austin, Texas," why don't you just leave? Sounds like you won't be missed.
Atheists and southern white men are the only two groups left who can be discriminated against and made fun of.
Southerners and white men can still be openly discriminated against in today's society. Southern white atheists get it from 3 different sides. Add anti-Republican to that equation and it comes from all 4 sides.
There can very well be religious harassment at the military academies. There have been numerous allegations at the Air Force Academy over the years, in particular.
I know I went through some harassment at the Naval Academy, but mostly during my plebe (freshman) year. Plebe year is full of harassment anyways, but this was specifically for being Jewish. Every week we had professional knowledge we needed to learn. Every Friday we received a test. The testing time was always during services. I was always chastised for missing the test (nevermind that I usually scored 95-100%). I explained that I was attending religious services, and offered to take the test before my shipmates (so there could be no allegations of my cheating by asking shipmates about the test once I returned). I was berated for requesting "special treatment" and told I should just attend Sunday services "like everybody else". One upperclassman in particular went out of his way to make my life as miserable as possible.
The harassment only stopped when I spoke to the Rabbi, a Lieutenant Commander. I believe he spoke to my company officer, a Lieutenant, who then had a few words with the upperclassman. All I know is I received an apology (which sounded rather insincere to me) and was never harassed about Friday services again. Of course, he still made my life miserable in other ways.
A Squid with a Spine!
(I was Army...)
My father is agnostic (I myself am a Christian) and he recalled being required to attend prayer services while in the Air Force. He attended quietly, to avoid an argument.
As I'm sure Catholic cadets at the Air Force Academy were forced to attend classes about physics and celestial movements...something that Catholics didn't believe in until the 90s. But they did it anyways, because that is what their seniors wanted...so they just did their jobs.
How so StanNJ. Are you saying that the Catholics are idiots for having a belief system different then yours. Sounds familiar right?
So KG, you are saying then it is ok to attack anyone with a different belief system then yours. So you are just as bad as the people you critisize.
Where did you get the idea that Catholics didn't believe in Physics until the 90's? I went to a Catholic High School in the late 50's/early 60's where many students studied physics. If by celestial movements you mean astronomy, they studied that subject also in those days.
No, it's ok to attack other people who try to force their beliefs on others. Gay marriage being the perfect example, along with this article.
In all honesty, I have no problems with the majority of Christians. However, just like Muslims who don't stand up and denounce terrorism, Christians who allow the more fanatical fringes to define them are inherintly complicit in their behavior. Problem is, a lot of Christians actually believe in what the fringe is pushing for, so while they give lip service to "personal freedom" they've allowed their religious based moral code to turn them into bigots. And then they post on forums about how it's "just a matter of opinion" and they "should be allowed to have their own opinion" without understanding that when their bigotry results in unfair rules or laws, it's become much more than an opinion.
As a former Army Officer, I know the Cadet to be right.
All too often higher ranking officers use their rank to at least proselytize, and at worst impose, their religious views on others.
Failure to conform, or at least parrot, those views can result in an officer evaluation report which is career ending and unappealable.
The military and religion, like democracy and religion, do not mix.
So you are telling me that you got a bad fitrep because you did not meet a standard that a senior officer set for you...and there is some religious connotation to it? Did he promote Catholic officers faster than protestant? How do you know this? The fact is that you don't. You got passed over because your RS thought you didn't do as well as your peers who did get promoted...and you are making a huge assumption based on manpower and attrition that the reason you failed is because the system is unfair. I appreciate your service as I'm sure you do mine...but you are wrong in your assumptions and this is not the right forum.
Your argument is based on faulty use of logic. If a religious zealot is in a commanding position over members of a group, he will *always* find fault with the non- or differently- religious. That's what discrimination IS.
No one should have to put up with that kind of b.s. when they want to serve their country... a country that is based on freedom for all, not just the bigoted evangelicals.
Nothing mixes with religion....reason and common sense in particular.
Dear CNN: Why is this not in the Belief Blog? The biggest lie is that atheists are non-believers – yet all of us believe in something. I believe in the capacity of humans to make or break our life on earth, with no influence from gods or devils or aliens. I raise my children to be honest, honorable, care for others, and treat all people equally regardless of any differences.
Atheism is not a religion, let alone an organized religion, but we all have belief systems of some sort. If you have a Belief Blog, there should be atheistic representation there, for the millions of us in the US who are atheists and our families.
I am a christian but I completely agree with your comments. Great post. Thank you.
Great post.....it is unfortunate that to be an atheist does in fact separate us from being an organized group.
Non belief in a god or gods is just that ......non belief...how could it be organized ...non belief is the rejection of "organized dogmatism"
While no doubt an atheist believes certain assertions, just because the theist and the non-theist both believe, does not make those beliefs equivalent.
The theistic belief is one that is strict and determines the world view through a meta-narrative from which there is no argument or appeal. This dramatically molds the lifestyle of the theist towards a particular mode of action, one that is available to the atheist yet the atheist can extend beyond God's shadow.
I do however think that atheism is a belief. When I considered the question of god's existence I was convinced by certain arguments and found them to be sound. My belief then followed. But as a refrain, the beliefs are not equivalent. Both are not "belief systems". Theism is rigid an structured while atheism is amorphous and turbulent. Do not conflate the two.
There are not athiests in a fox hole is not a statement against religion or a statement for religion, but is a statement against trenches and fox holes
The control over the United States politicians and its military by AIPAC and other racist zionist factions depend on the populace here being brainwashed with Judeo-Christian lies in order to keep them suckered into dying in wars for Israel's benefit.
I wouldn't go that far, but I do think that the US's support of Saudi Arabia and Israel is a travesty and disgusting to the average American.
NO military aid to ANY country, only infrastructure and food/water aid. That would solve the fiscal cliff and then we can stop being seen as playing favorites based on religion or picking the "least offensive" theocracies.
geesh louise... he didnt quit . they separated him. He had no choice in the matter. My son was separated his senior year last year. He had done nothing wrong, he had adequate grades, had passed all the physical stuff and so on but one day while they were in training, he and 19 of his classmates were told they were being separated. It happens.At the end of the day, he didn't have what it took to graduate. All this whining and posturing is about a kid who has lost his dream, so close to getting it. He is going to have a rough year or so until he finds a new dream. But I asked my son and he says there is no way this had to do with religion. Trust me this was West Points idea for him to leave not his own. West Point is an amazing place and doesnt need to change. That being said I am so glad my son doesn't have to do his 5 years of service.
If you read the story or listened to his interview he requested a discharge because of all religion at West Point, unlike your son.
Close all military academies immediately. They serve no real purpose. I spent 20 years in the Navy, the students that go through private or state colleges become just as good officers as those from the service academies. Massive waste of money.
You sound like a bitter enlisted guy with 'academy envy'.
Doc, not quite. I had a great career, and make great money in defense using what I learned in the nuclear field. I just believe they serve no purpose for thier cost to taxpayers. Justify them to me, please. And even if they were to envy, is that a reason to spent $100s of millions to operate and staff them?
I agree. Half the officers I knew in the service were good people, but the other half should NOT have been allowed near nuclear weapons, or entrusted in ANY way with the security of the USA !
I guess Blake Page didn't notice the West Point Cathedral, when he visited West Point prior to applying.
Lots of colleges have chapels or cathedrals. That doesn't mean they require students to be religious.
"when he visited West Point prior to applying."
And you seemed to have missed the class they call English.
This poor kid is suffering from depression. He sincerely thinks he is oppressed, but his mind is his real oppressor.
At least he isn't suffering from the delusional mental illness of religion that has murder millions.
When Jews had power they "murdered millions" who didn't believe as they. When Islam had power they "murdered million" who didn't believe as they. When Christians had power they "murdered millions" who didn't believe as they. And when Athiests had power (Stalin) they "murdered millions" who didn't believe as they. People of any belief, non-belief, or whatever "murder million" for not believing the way they believe. It is human nature, not religoun, and our intolerance of anything different that kills.
The kid is free, he doesn't have this absurd belief in an invisible sky god and he doesn't have to feel guilty about the ridiculous notion that we're all born sinners.
Aside from America, majority of the western world is heading towards Atheism. Only 37% people in the UK now believe in god, a massive change from 100 years ago.
I actually got called a satanist the other day from some poor deluded fool, for simply not believing in god. I feel sorry for religious people, life must be tough when you believe in such ridiculous tripe and I bet us Atheists must really get under your skin.
As a side note, while I was serving in the Navy (Reagan/Carter), the chaplains were ordered to offer religious support to Satanists. Also my understanding is that Wica was supported earlier than that. This guy is just seeing things that aren't there.
It is ignorant, hateful, bigoted, stupid comments such as these from atheists like YOU who turn off the majority of the planet's mainly religious population to respecting atheists. How do you expect to be respected by believers by spilling out this detestable vitriolic verbiage against anyone who isn't as mentally deluded as yourself? My response is to this idiot alone and not to the atheists who are actually respectful, open-minded and accepting of their fellow human beings regardless of their beliefs.
No really man. I just feel sorry for you that you can't see you are doing the very thing you say you hate so much about religoun.
it says he was prior enlisted. so its not like he was just a cadet.
And my family and I were not discriminated against for being an atheist until my kids went to grammar school.
Think about it – you served and when you serve, things are totally different than when you are at the USMA. Do you think the best and brightest teach or serve? Do you think the most tolerant officers are on the front lines where it counts, or in the classroom?
Please don't discount his experience because he suffered from depression after his father died. His experience is just as valid and likely was going on years before the depression. Non-Religious persecution is alive and well in the military and in public forums in the South.... I'm sure elsewhere, as well. The only people who deny it, are the ones who don't notice because (being one of the sheep) they are not effected. I was discriminated against in high school (Dallas), college (Texas A&M), and my first employment (Abilene, Tx). Only now, having moved out of those areas, do I feel a sense of sanity when it comes to religious influence in the public sphere.
How much time in the military do you have? O.K., then stop talking about discrimination in the military.
65 years of military service in 3 generations. I served as an officer. Trust me, there is a religious clique in the military and there is subtle discrimination. The problem is growing and must be checked.
moi – I do feel sympathy for you! I endured a few years in that southern religious cult haven known as Texas ! People really did not like you if you did not immediately say what church you went to !
Religion takes many forms and is simply a belief system. For some it's a beif in one God. For others it's a beif in thre Gods or even twenty. For West Point cadet Blake Page, it's a belief in no God.
He wants his religion ( a belief in no God) supported and perhaps imposed on others, but wants the belief system of others denied.
Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby.
I disagree with your analogy.
Agnosticism is like choosing to not collect stamps for a hobby.
Atheism is choosing to not collect stamps for a hobby, and then going around telling every stamp collector that their collection is worthless and they might as well abandon it.
As a fellow free-thinker I’m enjoying reading your posts in the same way I enjoyed listening to Hitchens. Keep it up Brother. I wonder how long before someone tries to "check-mate” you with tired old tripe like Pascal’s Wager or presuppositional apologetics like the kalam cosmological argument.
Valkur 1 ...actually agnosticism is saying hey your stamps might be worth something, but I don't know. They neither deny God or uphold God they simply say I don't know. Some even believe there is a God, but the He plays no role in our day to day lives.
I know many atheist who don't have a problem with religious people but their life experience has led them to believe there is no God.
The atheist you speak of are no better than the Christians who say "My stamp collection is so much better than your stamp collect cause my stamp collection will get me into heaven and your going to hell."
It is not a religoun, true. But it is a belief system and forcing other to not practice their religoun is just as bad as forcing people to practice.
Atheism is a *lack* of belief. Not a belief system. If it's a belief system, list the beliefs required to be an atheist here:
Ok, You BELIEVE that there is nothing after death. You believe that once dead you cease to exist. You believe there is no god or heaven or hell or anything after this life. But you can not prove nor disprove that. But you BELIEVE that.
I don't "believe there is nothing after death." I don't know if anything happens after death, but I doubt it.
He is not asking that his belief be forced on others. He is saying one belief should not be shown favoritism. Other cadets should not be given more because they participate in religious activities. If he was saying that they were showing favoritism to Islamic cadets the message board would be blowing up with how this cadet was so brave standing up to those Islamist, but no because he stands up to favoritism shown to Christians he is trying to oppress them... Christians love to play the victim... but all religions oppress people whose beliefs differ from their own
When I went through Marine Corps Boot Camp those who didn't go to church got to stay in the barracks and write letters, read newspapers, etc. Those of us who went to church had to march there, sit at attention for an hour, and march back to hell with no break. So who is really missing out on the good things?
The beauty [sarcasm] of religion or any BELIEF system is that it cannot be proved...
I believe that there are 12 legged, purple mice on Mars who all have faces like George W. Bush and Cheney...
anti-christian rants will be moot when islam and latino gangs are the only two games left in town
Atheism is not a religion.
Magyart, your attempt at rationality is flawed by your refusal to accept the fact that some people don't need the ooga-booga of spirits and angry fathers-in-the-sky. Some people, the truly free, have developed the intellectual capacity to look at the history of religion, the dogma of religion and the social manipulation of religion to recognize it as the big lie that it is. Atheism is NOT a religion. It's a recognition that religion is a method of social control and political power that has no real relationship to anything it preaches.
How is he asking for his beliefs to be imposed on anyone? He's the one being required to attend prayer services.
Regardless of his reasons for leaving, the fact is that he successfully completed virtually the entire West Point program. By all accounts, he would have finished the last five months if he hadn't voluntarily left. So he was not an "idiot". Your assumption that he was a "special and unique little flower" says more about you than him.
I graduated from West Point 14 years ago, and during my time there I never witnessed any instances of proselytizing by either the cadet or regular Army leadership. West Point and the Army have always impressed me in their ability to truly create a level playing field for all cadets and soldiers regardless of race, color, or creed. In speaking with my classmates about this topic, not one individual could identify with what this young man claims to have experienced. Readers should be wary of one individual's opinion or experience, especially when it is unsupported by any facts or other witnesses.
The evangelical hold on our military really got ramped up with Bush's invasion of Iraq after 9/11. This has been reported in the media for a number of years.
Have you ever been in the military? Their is a reason religoun in the service increased with the coming of war. It is the old saying "there is no such thing as an athiest in a foxhole." People get scared when bullets are flying over their heads. That is why. Wait until the war is over. People will get complaicent again and the religous fervor will die down again.
Good for him! Someone with such character would have made a great officer. Too bad WP let him (and all of us) down.
Take a real good look at Christ.. He is a product of Christianity. See how people with no humanity could murder Jews, murder Native Americans and justify slavery with Christianity? You just feel Christ's radiance in these words. Christians should be pound to have people, like Christ in your ranks representing you Christ like persona.
This brave young American deserves better from the country he’s faithfully tried to serve. Our failing Nation has failed this young man. We as Citizens need to wake-up and stand-up to pry our Nation from the grip of the Christian Taliban. We are a Nation made up of every faith as well as those with no faith at all. The measure of a Citizen should be bravery, morality and a willingness to serve the common good of our fellow Citizens – This young man is a true American in the form of Jefferson, Paine and other great men that had far more integrity than faith.
Have you ever served your nation in uniform? I'm guessing no. So stop making broad statements for a group you read about on CNN. Touting Blake as a modern day Jefferson...he is a quitter, and a bad sport who stabbed West Point in the back because they would not give him a commissioning.
Yes, I’ve served our nation in uniform with a security clearance higher than any clueless grunt.
However, I was privately employed thru a government controlled agency.
Yes, I was one of the few that wore my mandatory uniform with many stripes on my shoulders and sleeves. I was even forced to wear the appropriate hat when I was “on duty”
Please preach and lecture me more from your insecure and uninformed perspective.
I find your clueless attempt at arrogant condescension entertaining more than you are capable of comprehending. I welcome you to reality as I ask you to speak your insipid and dull mind to your heart’s content as well as to anyone willing to listen to your tripe. After all, we all need a good laugh, right?
Please, teach me! Please teach all of us! The sound you hear is not laughter, please keep attempting your condescension…
I already predict that your attempts to entertain us will fail in comparison to the delusional ways you’ve day dreamed about. I do believe that you will succeed in your attempt to make us laugh. To be clear, we’re not laughing with you – We are laughing at you.
Please teach me more! Please teach all of us more! I’ll try to stop laughing, I promise.
The military is getting better, but it still has much to improve. Now that the gay issue is done, religion is next and it will be a much more difficult job because so many people have irrational passions on this issue. As officers at a prestigious school, they should know better, but they justify it as tradition or some other nonsense.
Looks like he just wants to whine and get publicity. The staff say this does not happen, his own fellow cadets say this supposed "discrimination" doesn't happen.... We know this guy had mental problems since the article says he was depressed after his father was suicidal. It would make sense that he is looking to lash out at anything and anyone who thinks differently than him, in this case, religious people who believe in an afterlife. Big deal, they think different. Get over it kid, the military hasn't promoted one religion over another. Even your CO has stated as such. Were you part of the agnostic club on campus? I mean really. It's pathetic that CNN thinks this kind of trash is news.
Discrimination happens almost everywhere, including the military. It's unfortunate that people like yourself brush it off by saying things like he just wanted to whine. According to the article the young man didn't have any disciplinary or academic issues, in fact it states that the sole reason that he was unable to become an officer was due to temporary mental illness in the form of depression after his father died; something I think should be more important of an issue to be honesy because anyone who isn't depressed after a family member dies just isn't normal. However, the young man's complaint is about religious discrimination. In America, anyone who is not Christian, and to a lesser extent Jewish, is looked at by the masses as being "evil" or a member of a "cult" or some other nonsense. He makes a good point that there is supposed to be separation of church and state, something that rarely happens (in the recent presidential elections, Romney's religion played a role, even if not very significant, in his loss. The statement that this makes is that America is largely a Christian nation and that Americans have (historically as well) been quite uncomfortable with people of different religions, and even more so if those people don't subscribe to any religious beliefs at all. To think that this discrimination, or perhaps more common favoritism, towards the cadets which are chirstian versus those who are muslim, jewish, atheist etc would be ignorant. Obviously, their superiors are going to favor those cadets which they identify with the best, especially if those cadets are competent.
NEWS FLASH – all religons descrimate against those that do not believe as they do
Notice how Christians think they are gods? They know what others think, experience and they believe. Like gods, they judge. They wonder why people dislike them.
Wouldn't YOU be depressed if your father killed himself??
Dear Millitant Christians:
First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.
Second, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.
Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.
Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.
Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans enjoy secks at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human secks would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human secks is an entirely human affair?
Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis.
Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. At least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.
Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and he.ll. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.
Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?
Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.
Move on – get over me. I did.
Actually it looks like you haven't "gotten over it" with a post like this. Someone seems angry. Big deal, people think different all over the world. Do you feel the same way about Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, etc?
Yes Dave, to the extent they hold onto supersti.tions, I do.
Davis lives in fear. He fears what might happen if he were to objectively question the ideas he was programmed to believe. If Dave had been born in China Dave would be a communist. If he had been born in Afghanistan he would follow Islam. Dave didn't shop for his beliefs. He was indoctrinated into believing. If you are easily indoctrinated, you could have been indoctrinated to believe in a frog god or any other god or gods.
First, I wrote it, second, I am hardly angry. I am quite happy.
I saw nothing angry in that post. Yet the first two respondents to it cited anger. I'm guessing the anger resides in the folks who took issue with a very well written, articulate, logical opinion. Rather than contest a single point that was made, they resort to denigrating the author. That kind of reaction destroys any credibility that you might wish to project.
That was a brilliant post! You remind me of an American version of Hitchens – and I mean that as a sincere compliment.
Colin. As a Christian you make some fair points, albeit the delivery is a bit condescending. In response to the prayer point. Google must receive thousands if not millions of inquiries at any given time yet can immediately ice you millions of responses. If google could pull that off wouldn't you think the creator if the universe (I understand you don't believe he exists but if he did) don't you think he coul handle such a task? Geez typing into a computer an have a signal shoot its way across the earth to give you information sounds pretty outlandish too but it certainly is possible. Glad you at least use your brain in here.
You didn't dispute a word he wrote. You show us the character of your believes by attacking someone you don't know not with ideas or a thought out coherent argument but with the dismissiveness we expect from the uneducated or children. Who would want to belong to a religion that taught you your values? Look Christians, he's one of you.
I myself am a christian and completely understand your frustrations. Mainstream Christianity has propagated a number of so called truths that in reality are false. for example someone who really has studied the Bible would never tell you that there's a burning hell fire because that is not taught in the Bible. However I could tell you something about the background of the authors. For example, David was a king, Luke was a doctor, Paul studied at the feet of Gamliel, the equivalent of a supreme court judge. there were 66 books written over 1400 years. most interestingly there are a number of secular authorities to verify the authenticity of the Bible. for example the historian Josephus makes many comments about the existence of Jesus Christ.pliny the younger, Tacitus, and Ignatius all directly identify or reference jesus. Irenaeus confirms the material written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Talmud in a negative way corroborates jesus existence.I assure you there's more but this is just some.in a small little post I can't explain everything there is to know about the Bible but here's one question. Which takes more faith? To believe that all of the complexity of the universe came about as a result of an accident? Or that there was design to it? do you really truly believe that the billions of galaxies the trillions of stars, the beauty of the earth,and the precision of the universe had no intelligent thought? Indeed that would seem the small minded view.
Well, I got to say just one thing. The Bible does speak of Hell. Jesus had more say about hell then he did Heaven. I think you need to re-read your Bible.
Millitant Christians ?..Oh. Brother you haven't seen noth'in yet. We as Christians have sit on our duffs far to long. Since the 1960's when they took prayer our of our schools. The result, Young people without morals. Drive by shootings, school shootings, no sense of right or wrong. It has cost our country a lot. No more will I sit and allow the rights of Christians to be taken away. A country without faith is doomed to failure. I feel many other Christians feel the same way. Arise Christians and defend your faith ! Bring this country back to God.
If by that rant, you hope t further co-mingle yor religious beliefs with the laws of our country and come after the "non-belivers", be aware that you're not the only ones with guns. Why can't you be content worshiping privately rather than trying to force your belief system down the throats of others?
They didn't "take prayer out of schools." Nobody is stopping students from praying. They simply forbid teachers from leading prayers. HUGE difference. It's part of that Christian martyr complex. They want to be persecuted so badly that they make up ridiculous conspiracy theories.
to Rev Terry Carter – 'bringing this country back to god' will ONLY serve to put us further behind in our race to compete in the world. BILLIONS of people in other countries are learning about the world and universe through scientific methods. The next Einstein might NOT emigrate to the USA if it is even more full of religious zealots. Then the next major weapon of mass destruction will be used against us, rather than by us ! IF SCIENCE and REASON do not prevail over religion in the USA, then application of SCIENCE and REASON by other countries WILL be used to prevail over us ! Morality should be derived from people in families, and neighbors, society, countries, continents and the whole planet – – NOT some fear/myth based religion.
I want my child to learn her values at home. Let me ask you this; when it comes time for a prayer in school, what prayer should it be? Should we have a Jewish prayer? Catholic? Mormon? Muslim? Buddhist meditation? Prayer to Vishnu or Shiva? Perhaps we should set aside an hour or two so we can hit them all and then allow athiest students and teachers time for rebuttal. Religion is a personal matter and children should not be forced to be subjected to beliefs that run contrary to their own in school.
excellent post Colin ! Thank you ! as another poster said – kinda like something Hitchens might say !
Buddhism as taught by the Buddha has no gods.
It's simple the guy wants to avoid serving his required years in the military in return for the four years of tax payer funded education. It's too bad the press gives these people any face time.
He should be required to pay back the cost which is probably close to $400,000 now.
He will be...at least if West Point operates in the same way as the Air Force Academy. Cadets who voluntarily resign have to repay the cost of their education to that point. I recall someone who worked in the finance office at USAFA once told me it was around $350k for four years, but that was several years ago.
You probably didn't see that he was medically disqualified from receiving his commission. Thus, there is no requirement to reimburse the Academy. And because he is resigning without receiving his degree, he is actually making a financial sacrifice for his views, since he will need to go elsewhere to complete his education.
Robert not everyone has the courageous challenges you are faced with. Stop judging others by the level of courage and sense of patriotism you have.
He will have to pay... all military academy cadets/midshipmen have to sign a contract after their first two years.
I am West Point class of 2000. I was always looking for something to complain about but I never felt religious pressure or discrimination.
There are few things more frightening than when those who believe in sky-fairies have ready access to weapons.
How is this any different than any time throughout human history?
It isn't. That's the point.
And officially athiest countries have a better track record?
Oh spare me the whole communism thing, that was hardly an atheist movement.
LOL....that's hillarious. Religous people with guns doing good, bad, or indifferent things is always bad, but the actions of the largest anthiest military's doesn't count because you don't think it counts.
Attention to detail is paramount when trying to present a convincing argument. Not taking the time to spell check one's post suggests impulsiveness rather than careful thought. Three misspelled words in three lines is very shoddy workmanship.
Exactly tayloao. I'm sure the 100+ million that died ant the hands of the 20th century communists, for which atheism was a fundamental characteristic, are glad that they weren't killed by the religious.
This guy is a whiner! Better he leave now than disrupt unit cohesiveness.
I don't believe he is a conservative. Isn't it you who are whining now?
Have to agree that the right in general and much of the military is infected with knee jerk christianity. I say infected because it leads to lack of reasoning when certain issues are addressed.
I'll bite....in what issues does the military have poor judgement due to some of the members being Christian? And since the majority of the US is christian demographically how is this any different from the rest of the country?
The military academies need to be broken down and built up again with 21st century ethics, morals and ideals.
Like greed, lying and cheating
"He said he was not a typical cadet, but that he was angered by Page's online post and believed that Page lashed out simply because he wasn't cutting it at West Point."
Say it with me now, No True Scotsmen...
There are no athiests in fox holes.........better to get out now if you can't take a little heat. Look at all the abuse christians take these days when they stand up for Jesus and truth. Do we cut and run...............
There are much more than christians in the military and the military isn't standing up for christianity. In my squad in Iraq I had a muslim, a jew, a navajo, a couple catholics and few protestants. That is the military of today. Religious freedom isn't a christian issue.
There are no athiests in fox holes
Myth and not true. I speak from experience.
Brains and luck get you out of a foxhole alive, praying is immaterial.
You, of course, can provide cites of some kind for abuses of Christians in the US for being Christian, right? Keep in mind, having your beliefs questioned, and not being given preferential treatment because of your beliefs are not abuse. The only relgiious abuse in this country is Evangelicals who scream they are being oppressed because they aren't allowed to oppress others.
Preferential treatment means not being subjected to religious statements that you do not believe in?
That seems like common sense to me – do they allow women at West Point? Have they always been allowed at West Point? Has the USMA had to adjust some of their programs and policies for women?
If you coach women, you can't have a shirts and skins game like you do for boys. I guess that is considered preferential treatment in your eyes?
Ignorant or lying? You decide. I'm a atheist who served during Vietnam. Conservatives are ignorant crybabies. The song "Happy Holidays" came out in 1942. Americans before right wing crybaby religious extremism knew Jew celebrated Hanukkah. Many intelligent Americans, respecting the religions of other Americans used happy holidays. Then, came the liars on Fox News playing the victim card. Conservative go through life thinking they are poor hapless victims. Know, conservatives are ignorant after years of successfully lying to them, the liars in the conservative media created a new lie; the war on X-mas. Being ignorant, conservatives can't see that capitalism and it's commercialism that doesn't recognize anything as being sacred murder Christmas long ago.
The no atheists in fox holes thing is a myth... much like religion.
@Plumbline: Yeah, Christians are soooooooooo mistreated in the USA. Quit trying to be a martyr. Your religion thinks it has the right to push around everybody else and force them to follow YOUR rules. Well, it doesn't work that way and we're not going to take it anymore.
Sorry, but I am an atheist, and I have to disagree with you. I have been in a foxhole, of a sort, and I promised a God that I did not believe in that I would better myself in exchange for less pain for my father as he died from cancer. I am still trying to live up to that promise while I maintain my agnostic philosophy.
Google "Atheists in foxholes." Should be an enlightening experience for you.
Very smart guy. He gets 3+ years of college, resigns thus avoiding paying with his service. Now he can transfer the credits to another school and get his degree. No huge student loan debt. Sounds like an excellent plan!!
If I'm not mistaken, he has to serve 6 years as an enlisted man. You commit yourself after your second year......
I've heard that everything he said was true. They have/had the same problems at the Air Force Academy. It's very scary to me that the Evangelicals have taken hold of the US Military and training facilities, and are using rank and group intimidation to force cadets to convert to, or practice, any religion, especially one that they do not believe in. A public school could never get away with the religious BS going on at West Point and other military schools. There needs to an investigation, and a complete end to invocations and base-sponsored prayers. The military needs be as secular as the US Govt, maybe more so. I fear that someday our own military might stage a coup on the govt. Evangelicals are radicalists, just like the Taliban.
One less kid that just couldn't hack it. I am sure that those who would have had to serve with him feel safer now, knowing that they won't have to worry about him deserting while deplyed, etc. Feel for the kid if he actually had issues with the trauma of death of a loved one. However, he obviously has not matured enough to know that you don't let a terrible situation like that ruin your life even further by quitting something when you can see the finish line.
I'll have to keep his name – to see the news when he cracks in a few years and takes out his frustration on some innocent party(s) around him.....
It amazes me that the military would permanently diqualify him from a commission based on what is most likely a temporary bout with depression and anxiety. What a waste of talent. I've been a psychologist for 20 years, and from what I've seen, most people who go through a period of depression recover – particularly if it's been set off by a major life event, like his father's suicide. Certainly, some people require treatment for their whole lives, but not all. What this policy does is discourage military personnel from seeking help.
You’re making the mistakes of using reason and compassion. How do I know? Because I agree with your position and your sentiments. However, the Christian Taliban that permeate our military will allow the cannon fodder to think nor feel. They want obedient, emotionally numb automatons that will kill and die without thought nor remorse. Cadet Page made the mistake of being momentarily human. Cadet Page made the mistake of thinking for himself. Cadet Page made the mistake of letting himself grieve over the horrendous trauma of his Father’s suicide. Our military has no use for thinking, feeling, self aware human beings.
* will NOT allow *
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