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Respect Existence or
by Blake Page, Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point
Click here to learn more about Cadet Page's brave fight to secure
religious liberty and civil rights for himself and his fellow cadets
Thursday, December 20, 2012
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Selected Article Excerpts:
- This afternoon I received a not-so-startling report from multiple fourth class (freshman) cadets at West Point who are current clients of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). These cadets solicited my services as the Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point to find some way to ensure that they are no longer explicitly required to celebrate the religious holiday of their superiors' choosing. I say not-so-startling because it is well understood that the command at West Point does not just recommend, encourage or support the exaltation of Christianity around this time of year, but requires it by force of policy under threat of reprimand for any who dissent. Some may attempt to mince words or parry my indictment with claims that Christianity is a philosophy and Christmas is a cultural tradition. Although those arguments lack intellectual integrity on several fronts, in this particular instance there is no way to obfuscate the truth of the matter, as the cadets in question were not simply made to dress Christmas trees or give presents, but were given direct orders to serenade their superiors with such classic songs as "O Holy Night" and "Joy to the World." If there is a secular message in those songs it can only be heard in the absence of vocal accompaniment.
- By now many readers may be wondering why I am being so uppity with my invocation of the First Amendment's No Establishment Clause and my impassioned desire to see adherence to our Constitution in action. I care about this bedrock principle of American democracy because many others care about it; because we are all affected by the intrusion of religious authority into the government. There is no place for establishing the supremacy of one religion over all others in our country. Many American service members have had their fill of being told that the religious preference of the majority is superior to their personally held philosophical beliefs.
- Twenty-one percent of our military and 32 percent of our civilian population are currently non-religious. It's now time that our leaders acknowledge the fact that our spiritual choices are not a matter to be toyed with by the government in any way. The new mantra of the MRFF, courtesy of founder and president Mikey Weinstein, should ring loud and clear: "Respect existence or expect resistance." Do you hear us now?
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