Fort Bragg Helps Atheists Gain Recognition
Despite Fort Bragg bearing a brunt of repeated criticisms over its handling of the atheist “Rock Beyond Belief” — including being painted as liars, predators and bigots — the US Army command has maintained the high ground. Even as it was accused of unConstitutional conduct, its Garrison commander, Col Stephen Sicinski, continued to say he supported the right of the atheists to hold their event, should the event-holders decide to un-cancel it (as they are hinting, while still highlighting the cancellation).
In a related vein, a recent news article notes the Fort Bragg atheists’ attempt to form a “distinct faith group” under the Army’s fairly unique recognition system. The Army has been helping them along the way, in more ways than one:
[Atheist group] members said chaplains at Fort Bragg have been supportive of their effort.
Importantly, the article notes the base leadership is actively helping the group achieve its status — but the leadership is still emphasizing the “procedures” and “paper trail” required. That is actually important, because it was “Rock Beyond Belief’s” apparent ignorance of “process” that led them to “cancel” (or postpone) their own event a few weeks ago.
As to the cries of persecution from the atheist community?
[Atheists] at Fort Bragg said they have no horror stories about outright discrimination, that the reaction from their comrades has amounted to little more than raised eyebrows and lots of questions.
Instead, they said, they are largely motivated by a sense of isolation and a desire to spend time with people who not only understand the military experience but also share their views on religion.
A desire for fellowship: Sounds like the basis for starting just about any faith group, and it is entirely permissible under the same protections of religious freedom that likewise allow other groups to similarly congregate under military auspices. Under military regulations atheists are more than welcome to fellowship with like-minded faith adherents, just as others do.