Fort Bragg Atheists Thank Garrison Commander

In a rare display of gratitude toward the Army, the organizers of “Rock Beyond Belief” called on their supporters to “thank” Fort Bragg garrison commander Col Stephen Sicinski.

Unfortunately, they still managed to insult him in the same paragraph.

Rock Beyond Belief’s earliest attempts were not taken seriously by Fort Bragg, as visitors may remember.
However, the situation has changed drastically in the months since our first approach fell through. Fort Bragg’s Garrison Commander, Colonel Sicinski has made the right call, and has now approved our event with the full government support that was promised.

The person who was responsible for seeing they “were not taken seriously” — in the words of RBB — was, of course, Col Sicinski.  Still, Col Sicinski maintained the high ground and continued to say he was supportive of the atheists’ efforts — if only they would meet the same basic requirements any other group had to.

Now they seem to have done so, and Col Sicinski has provided the same support he has always promised (though that’s hardly “full government support”).

So its good they should thank Col Sicinski for his support.

It would be nice if they also retracted and apologized for the invective directed at Col Sicinski, Fort Bragg, and the US Army in the interim.

Michael Weinstein, for example, while representing Rock Beyond Belief” and speaking on their behalf, said the military’s treatment of RBB was “consitutional perversion…by fundamentalist Christian religious predators.”

Notably, the treatment hasn’t changed.  The only (public) thing that has changed since “Rock Beyond Belief” was approved the first time is that “Rock Beyond Belief” now has its own money, as opposed to demanding the Army (or Christians) fund the atheist event.

Since the treatment hasn’t changed, and its unlikely they’d be “thanking” the Army for “consitutional perversion,” they must now disagree with that characterization.  They should disavow it.

It would probably be prudent to cancel Michael Weinstein’s planned appearance at “Rock Beyond Belief.”  If he refuses to join the conciliatory and supportive tune of the RBB organizers, they should disavow him, as well.

Positive stories like these (despite the occasional sarcastic or spiteful aside) are not typical of the Weinstein method, and indicate there may yet be hope that US Army atheists can be “represented” by a positive and supportive effort that “celebrates” their beliefs in their own right, rather than at the expense of others.  (Notably, the last time “Rock Beyond Belief” put out a positive message, the MRFF’s Chris Rodda felt the need to “rebut” it, apparently because the positive theme contradicts the MRFF agenda.  That’s a role she has played more than once.)

Regrettably, Michael Weinstein has once again used military members — in this case, an atheist Army Sergeant — to further his agenda even against the success of theirs.  Weinstein has demonstrated before his lack of concern for the causes of his “clients.”  They are simply pawns to advance his cause, discarded when their public relations (that is, fundraising) value wanes.

Given his history, these US Army atheists would be better off firing Weinstein.  Then, if their positive stories (though muted by Chris Rodda) are any indication, they can move forward — positively — and successfully.


  • Wow, JD, you really want there to be a problem between MRFF and RBB, don’t you? Even if you have to manufacture one.

    And, for the record, my big so-called “rebuttal” of RBB’s previous message was a quote from an email from the organizer of RBB himself, and was about the continuing discriminatory treatment of atheists at Fort Bragg when it comes to another group that this same person is trying to start on Fort Bragg. Just because one problem is being solved doesn’t mean all of the problems are solved.

  • @Chris Rodda said

    …continuing discriminatory treatment of atheists at Fort Bragg

    Actually, the quotation you provided did not say anything about discrimination; it simply said they were re-starting an approval process. They are no more “banned” than is any other group that hasn’t obtained the appropriate approval. That’s “equal treatment.”

    Atheists getting recognized as a “faith group” and obtaining approval for a “lay leader” when the “group” can’t even agree within itself that it is a faith will not be a simple matter; nor, quite honestly, should it be.

    The military needs to decide whether or not it wants to treat atheism as a religion; just because atheists want to be treated as a religion (!?) does not mean the military must do so. Once the military answers that question, then it can answer the other question.

    That will understandably take time. Taking that time is not discrimination.