“Rock the Fort” Counter-Event Struggles with Purpose, Limits
As previously discussed, US Army SGT Justin Griffith is trying to organize a counter-event to “Rock the Fort.” His “Rock Beyond Belief” event was part of a divorce from the atheistic Fort Bragg Freedom Festival. Based on public information, his event seems to be outdoing his former partners in spades. In order to get MWR “official” Army support and access to the parade field, they need projected attendance of 2500+ people. Based on the publicly available information, Griffith may be on his way to that number, though its difficult to say.
Importantly, Griffith knows his event needs to remain non-offensive to his fellow Soldiers to obtain the official support of the military he so strongly desires. It is highly unlikely the Army would provide support to an event demeaning to others, regardless of attendance projections. Griffith has previously acknowledged that himself, pointing out the purpose of the event was not to be an “anti-” event.
The recent “scandal” over the Soldier Fitness Tracker may be a poor indicator, however. When he blogged on the topic, he appeared to choose words hostile to the military’s attitude toward religion, and he categorically referred to his critics as “fundies,” without having any knowledge of their actual beliefs. Griffith appeared to intentionally choose words, even inaccurately, for the intent of stirring the pot of conflict. This is not the environment he wants to create for “Rock Beyond Belief” — yet he wrote his comments on the same website he created for the planned “non anti-” event.
In addition, in his comments on his Facebook site (also a site dedicated to his “non anti-” event) over this issue, he displayed a glaring ignorance (or disrespect) toward Chaplains (a group whose support he has sought for his event):
The vocal Soldier appears to be unaware that military Chaplains “stumble onto” the battlefield every day, and they do so to help support all Soldiers’ religious freedom, including his. They daily risk their lives in “foxholes” despite the fact they carry no weapons. Two Chaplains and a Chaplain Assistant have paid for their service with their lives in just the last few years.
If this is the tone of the “Rock Beyond Belief” organizer, it remains to be seen how he’ll keep the acts in the “Rock Beyond Belief” lineup under control — particularly when some are known for their vocal anti-theistic views.