Atheists Denigrate US Army that Supports Them. Again.
The primary organizer of Rock Beyond Belief, the atheist festival occurring this weekend at Fort Bragg, has — again — drug Fort Bragg and the US Army through the mud in an apparent bid for publicity.
In a sensationally titled “Fort Bragg wont let us feed homeless vets at the atheist festival,” Justin Griffith says Fort Bragg denied their plan to do a canned food collection. Griffith summarized [emphasis original]:
The ‘pro-starvation’ camp has prevailed…
At issue is Joint Ethics Regulation 3-211, which says the DoD can let non-Federal entities (ie, Rock Beyond Belief) use DoD facilities (ie, Fort Bragg’s resources) except for fundraising events. Apparently, Fort Bragg determined canned food collection was fundraising.
Whether collecting canned food for a charitable cause constitutes non-Federal fundraising is a legitimate question. Rather than take direct issue with that, however, Griffith took a different tack: He said the Christians got to raise money on base, so atheists should, too.
When were Christians illegally raising money? When they had the gall to pass the plate in the chapel.
They were permitted to raise funds (in the form of cash!) for months on post. They raised $54,000 in tithing at every chapel on post – there are several. That is a colossal fundraising effort, repeatedly violating the regulation – at multiple locations on post…
It represents institutionalized violations of the ethics code that they claim applies to their own event. [emphasis original]
Griffith fails to indicate when, if ever, a specific chapel did a planned collection solely for Rock the Fort. More importantly, he also fails to note military chapels do not fall under JER 3-211, meaning his entire argument, including his sensational and incorrect accusation that Christians broke the law, fails. He also fails to note tithing in church is a recognized religious act protected by the US military chaplaincy’s support for the free exercise clause of the US Constitution.
Then again, some atheists have an issue with that whole Constitution thing.
This is what discrimination looks like
Right. The US Army is starving homeless vets and persecuting those whose sole fault is a lack of belief in God. It’s good theater but lacks a certain thing called…truth.
It is most likely this is just another desperate grasp for publicity. Griffith has previously pled for people to come to his festival out of concern that low attendance will doom future atheist endeavors. (He’s particularly begged for civilians, likely because atheists in the military who may actually attend only number in the hundreds.) Thus, getting public attention, even by making erroneous accusations against the very Army base that is hosting him, may serve his needs. (In fact, the more ludicrous the accusation, the more likely it will gain attention on the fact-averse internet.)
In the same post in which he accuses Fort Bragg of starving vets, Griffith says
I have a massive amount of respect for the commanders at Fort Bragg…
That statement is in stark contrast to the rest of his rant; both cannot be entirely true. If Griffith really does respect his commanders, it is unlikely he would honestly claim they’re trying to starve veterans. So he’s either demagoguing a fake issue for publicity, or his statement about respect is an attempt at blunting criticism should Fort Bragg take issue with his public statement criticizing the Army. Neither of those possibilities places Rock Beyond Belief in a positive light — and both put the Army in a negative light. Those reading his site certainly understood his points, leaving comments saying:
the military leadership’s treatment of non-believers has been appalling – from the original Rock the Fort events, to the cancellation last year of Rock Beyond Belief to this no-donations-for-homeless-vets nonsense to the refusal to allow atheist groups to meet on bases.
Nothing in that reply is true — but it is precisely the meme atheists have been promoting. It seems they not only have to denigrate religion, they also have to denigrate the US Army to achieve their objectives.
The US Army and the leadership at Fort Bragg have gone above and beyond in trying to meet the demands of Griffith and his supporting atheists. Griffith’s few positive replies to the Army have almost always contained backhanded insults. He has never defended the Army from those who have criticized it, nor has he apologized for his own performers — like Michael Weinstein — who have used vile language in personal attacks against Fort Bragg and its leadership.
Not unlike a child who spends too much time with the wrong relatives, Griffith seems to have picked up some of the less desirable character traits of his new mentors. Michael Weinstein seems to live by the mantra that when all else fails, call people names. Chris Rodda seems to prefer making wild, unsupported accusations of conspiracy. Griffith seems to have spent too much time hanging out with the MRFF.
By Griffith’s own admission a US Army Major General has said
SGT Griffith’s public activities have called into question his level of maturity and judgment.
Griffith’s ludicrous — and erroneous — rants against the US Army and The ChristiansTM don’t do much to help his cause.