Rock Beyond Belief Drops “Atheist Anthem” from Website
In what appears to be a site-wide revamping, Rock Beyond Belief — the atheist counter-event to the Christian Rock the Fort — has dropped the controversial Aiden song that recently caused a media firestorm from its website. The YouTube video was originally called an “atheist anthem” and was the only introduction to the band on the site, though after FoxNews highlighted it organizer Justin Griffith said they would not be performing that particular song.
Also absent is the plea for civilians (“as many people as possible”) to come to the event. A recent article quoted Justin Griffith saying he “counts about 100” atheists at Fort Bragg, meaning he is likely relying on the event to draw far more civilians than members of the military. For a rough comparison, the Fort Bragg chapels host about 2,000 congregants in 17 services every week (both Christian and not); the Christian Rock the Fort had an estimated attendance of 3-4,000.
In another interesting twist, a revealing but obscure comment was made by a pseudonymed military officer presenting himself as part of Rock Beyond Belief [emphasis added]:
It is important to point out that all performers at RBB and the event’s organizers are upholding a “radio-friendly” standard to ensure that this event is family friendly. In accordance with Army regulations that have applied to previous Christian events, no faith practice will be demeaned.
This marks the first time anyone supporting the event has addressed the issue raised here: Namely, that Rock the Fort was restricted in its content, and, to be equal, Rock Beyond Belief must be also. As noted previously, it isn’t obvious to the casual observer that a gathering of Aiden, Dawkins, Barker, etc., would be anything but focused on denigrating religious faith, particularly when that’s the way the performers are portrayed on the event’s official website. However, if they follow through on that somewhat unofficial acknowledgement, they should have no problem. (That their acts have previously denigrated faith and yet are still invited, while other Christian personalities have been “disinvited” for their prior statements, remains an open issue.)
Why this statement wasn’t made when the question was first asked, or by anyone actually publicly representing the event, or on a site people will actually see, remains a mystery.