Cadets Experience Religions
Last week, a few West Point cadets got a break from the daily grind and took a drive to Jersey City, where they visited a variety of religious organizations. According to several news reports, the sights included Christian, Coptic, Hindu and Islamic religious facilities. The cadets slept on the floor of the mosque in sleeping bags for two nights.
The trip was part of a “Winning the Peace” class, whose objective is to help the cadets understand that decisive armed combat is not necessarily solely responsible for “victory.”
The US Military Academy should be lauded for exposing young officers-to-be to the cultural elements (including religion) they will experience once commissioned. The USMA cadets demonstrated mature, independent and critical thought, even when at least one of their speakers espoused political views.
A few weeks ago, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed pictures of US soldiers with Christian imagery contributed to the Islamic world believing that the US was on a “crusade,” which therefore justified “jihad” in ”defense.” It is unclear whether Weinstein will add this cadet exposure to religion to his lawsuit (as he probably would if the cadets had bunked at an evangelical church), or if he will take the opportunity to defend the US military by publishing these most recent pictures as widely as he did the first.