Atheists Force End to US Troops’ Nativity Tradition Overseas

Some people claim there’s a “war on Christmas” when retailers substitute “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.”  While some customers or employees may take issue, the retailers’ choices of words probably have little impact on anything, including their bottom line.

By contrast, some atheists are actively working against “Christmas” in the US military – which has a direct and measurable impact on US troops, especially those stationed thousands of miles from the familiar celebrations of home.

As noted previously, the annual raising of “holiday” or “Christmas” trees and Menorahs has begun on US military installations around the world.  The chapels of some bases also put up nativity scenes, as Travis AFB famously did last year.

The US military facility known as “Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain” has held an annual Christmas tree lighting for years.  As part of that activity, carols have been sung, Santa has found his oversized chair, and excessive amounts of cookies and Christmas drinks have been consumed.  In addition, the event has featured a “live nativity,” composed of base children and local animals.  The event even included a photogenic camel.

Jason Torpy, a former Army captain and current atheist activist, considers “a Christmas tree, presents, some [non-Christian] songs, and even Santa Claus as trappings of secular Christmas.”  The nativity, then, had to go.  So an IG complaint was filed [emphasis added]:

This [Nativity] violates the Constitution and the mandates of the command to support all belief while privileging none. The event is billed as a ‘holiday’ event but it is nothing but a Christian activity…it is…clearly and exclusively biased toward Christianity. Also of concern is the likelihood that the predominantly Muslim local population will see the US military as a Christian force…This event threatens US security and violates the Constitution as well as command policy.

So, just to be clear — a party that involves a 30 foot tall Christmas tree, Santa, singing, food, raffles, etc, interrupted by a five minute display of 7 children and a few animals is a “biased Christian activity.”  And removing only the nativity away makes everything ok?  Somebody woke up a little sensitive.

Photo courtesy of NAS Bahrain MWR.

“Upon further review,” NSA Bahrain chose to pull the “live nativity” from the event (though the camel got to stay).  Torpy claims victory:

This is an outcome that provides an affirming and enjoyable private Christian celebration for those interested as well as a religiously-neutral and enjoyable secular “holiday” celebration for other installation personnel.

He fails to explain how the “predominantly Muslim population” will feel now that the nativity is gone.

NAS Bahrain’s Christmas tree lighting announcement, pre- and post-atheist intervention.  Muslim offense averted!

To be clear, nothing in the Christian faith requires kids to dress up as shepherds or wear a blue headband and hold a plastic baby while fidgeting during Christmas pageants or in “live nativities.” In that strict respect, the US Constitution’s prohibition on the undue restriction of free exercise of religion is not relevant.

On the other hand, should the US government take action against something solely because of its religious content, it may violate its own policies on discrimination on the basis of religion — something expressly forbidden by military regulations.

Still, it does not appear any official “order” was necessarily given.  Torpy quotes the IG response saying

the CRP (Command Religious Program) will be removing the Living Nativity Program from the general base secular holiday festivities…

In other words, whether under the advice of a commander or of their own volition, it seems the local chaplains chose to end the event.  Despite Torpy’s claims, there was no reason for them to do so.  At least one family stationed at Bahrain expressed disappointment at the removal of the previously announced “live nativity.”  The reason their holiday celebration was sterilized?  Jason Torpy is an atheist.

And the chaplains granted Torpy a heckler’s veto from 7,000 miles away.

Just wait until Spring, when Torpy will get to complain about NSA Bahrain’s Easter celebration, which Michael Weinstein’s MRFF has unsuccessfully targeted in the past.

While US troops and their families in Bahrain have now experienced the friendly influence of atheism on their holiday, the story isn’t done for the rest of the world.  In just one example, it seems Travis AFB has learned from their experience last year:  They previously allowed atheists to erect a display mocking religion (rather than “celebrating reason”), which generated controversy and an Equal Opportunity complaint.  However, since only Travis AFB units can sponsor holiday displays, this year no individual or private organization can put one up — whether they’re atheist or not.

*As an aside, atheists last year tried to say the Air Force was attempting to mask its Christian privilege by erecting a “token” Menorah next to the Travis nativity.  A point of education was in order:  Christmas trees go up because it’s Christmas time.  Stay with it now:  Menorahs go up in recognition of Hanukkah.  Those two separate events happen to occur around the same time each year, thanks to the way the calendar works.  It’s not that complicated of a conspiracy, really.

17 replies to “Atheists Force End to US Troops’ Nativity Tradition Overseas

  1. Rosebudrae

    You can take away all the public show you want but you cannot take Jesus out of their hearts. Once you accept Him that it and He is with you always. So do you really have a victory?

  2. Pingback: Navy Bans Live Nativity on U.S. Base Following Atheist Group’s Complaint: ‘Unconstitutional’ & ‘Dangerous’ — Chris Jones Media

  3. Pingback: Navy Bans Live Nativity on U.S. Base Following Atheist Group’s Complaint: ‘Unconstitutional’ & ‘Dangerous’ |

  4. Richard Gump

    The best thing about Jason Torpy is the he his a FORMER officer.
    The biggest problem with atheists is that they are an unhappy group and want others to be unhappy.
    Interesting thing is I have never seen them go after Jews or Muslims. Did they not learn enough to know that they also believe in a God.
    I guess you have to feel sorry for those who have nothing to believe in. Sad how one person can ruin it for so many, and then not feel anything. So sad, So sad

  5. V. Adams

    Our service men and women are serving our country and attempting to keep our freedoms and rights; however, it appears that they do not have one of the freedoms upon which our country was founded: freedom of religion. Why are they being punished? This makes no sense at all.

  6. K Lewis

    Thank you to the christianfighterpilot association from a long time Navy wife. Thank you for all you do and the sacrifice you and your families. Please keep standing up for the faith and for our Lord.

  7. Namsquid

    The old Navy had a backbone. Now it’s neutered, feminized and sodomized… and it has the backbone of a jellyfish. The purpose of the organization is to win wars, not play politically correct games and placate politicians and dissenters. Let’s get back to basics.

  8. Pingback: Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint - ALIPAC

  9. Glen Davis STG1(ret.)

    This is disappointing news. While I now celebrate Hanukkah, it was nice to have a Christmas celebration when overseas on sea duty. I cannot see how a living nativity on a U.S. Navy base is any business of the population outside. I just cannot believe it.

  10. Pingback: Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint

  11. Pingback: God and Country » Update: Navy Cancels Nativity after Atheist Complains

  12. Pingback: Atheists Attack Military from Afar « 2 Worlds Collide

  13. B. Triplett

    Why do Christian Americans continually allow our rights (freedom of religion) to be denied? Our constitution was founded upon christian principles. There should be no interference from the atheists who don’t believe. Christmas is a christian holiday. We as Christians do not complain about other religions when they celebrate their holidays. The whole meaning of Christmas is Christ our savior being born. We should be allowed to celebrate this freely without flack from the atheists or our so called government. The Christian men & women who are serving our military should not be denied their rights of observing Christmas how they see fit. Their rights (men & women serving our military) should be honored, not the atheists or political popularity interests.

  14. Pingback: RightMarch.com | Navy Cancels Nativity Over Atheist Complaint

  15. Priscilla Parker

    This is not what MAAF is reporting and I don’t think it’s fair to present this situation in a false light. MAAF asked that the nativity scene not be presented to a general audience. The scene is being held in a chapel on Christmas Eve, it wasn’t cancelled. Give Mr. Torpy the benefit of the doubt here because he is trying his best to show respect for both sides.

    http://militaryatheists.org/news/2012/12/three-christmases-bahrain-schofield-belvoir/

  16. JD

    @Priscilla Parker
    Respect? Torpy said the kids’ “live nativity” threatened US security. That kind of hyperbolic hogwash is worthy of Michael Weinstein.

    Please explain what is a “false light” about this topic. You might find it helpful to read the update here.

  17. Pingback: God and Country » Update 2: Atheist Ends Military Nativity in Bahrain

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