Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has called on the US Military Academy at West Point to “stop including prayer during official events.”
In a letter to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon and other officials, Americans United asserted that the academy’s prayer policy runs afoul of the Constitution and violates the rights of cadets.
West Point responded simply by saying there are no mandatory prayers at the Academy. Americans United seems to believe the First Amendment was written to protect offended ears, not speech. Their letter supports — unwittingly or not — the stereotype that merely being exposed to a ‘religious act’ is offensive and therefore illegal [emphasis added]: Read more
White House photo.
US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Larry Bazer, Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard, was on hand December 13th at the White House to light a 90-year-old menorah. (It turns out he was invited to do so last year, but was unavoidably detained: He was deployed to Afghanistan.) President Obama gave a history of Hanukkah and explained the application of its values to all.
Jews in Green notes that the Marine Band played Read more
Update: A local news report seems to verify conclusions former Cadet Page was coached by Michael Weinstein on how to leave West Point with a splash.
Update: World notes “other issues” influenced Cadet Blake Page’s decision, which “may have had little to do with the academy’s religious climate.” The faculty advisor for Page’s group is cited as saying ‘he doesn’t believe systematic discrimination against nonreligious cadets exists.’
The FRC notes Page’s clinical diagnosis requires “help,” not being used for “publicity and exploitation” by “professional anti-religionist” Michael Weinstein.
According to an update at NBC, Senior West Point Cadet Blake Page — who publicly resigned while accusing US Military Academy officers of being “criminals” — will be discharged without having to serve as a Soldier or reimburse the government for his education.
Page’s decision to resign and — presumably — decline to be an Army officer has been almost universally panned in the comments on the media articles on his resignation, even from those claiming to be fellow atheists and cadets. Some have said he should have stayed and “changed the Army from within;” others, that his charges did not seem to be supported or supportable. Insinuations have been made that he may have been struggling to graduate anyway, and that his announcement (as well as his announced book plans) were little more than a publicity stunt to take advantage of an inevitable outcome.
A new ABC article may bear that out, where the AP reports Page admits Read more
Senior West Point Cadet Blake Page announced his resignation from the US Military Academy on the internet, calling his superior military officers “criminals.”
As reported on NBC:
“Countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution,” wrote Page…”These men and women are criminals, Read more
Multiple news outlets carried the Associated Press report on a homosexual ceremony conducted in the Cadet Chapel at the US Military Academy at West Point (though the Stars and Stripes probably wins for the most interesting comments).
Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain…
It was not the first such service at West Point, though Read more
Jews in Green recently announced LtGen Howard Bromberg, US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, and Col Glenn Goldman, Director of Military Instruction at West Point, will be speaking to the Aleph Institute’s 2013 “Military Training Course” in January. (Gen Bromberg has spoken there before, and prior speakers have included Speaker of the House John Boehner.)
The annual conference is intended for Jewish members of the military who Read more
Dr. Don Snider (Col, US Army, Retired), a Political Science instructor at the US Military Academy at West Point, responded to USAFA law instructor David Fitzkee’s (Maj, US Army, Retired) prior Parameters article on religious freedom with a commentary criticizing the analysis of command involvement. Regarding the memorandum on religious neutrality issued last year, Snider said
It seems fair to say that the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force does not trust some of his Commanders to correctly fulfill their responsibilities to “support individual Airman’s needs and provide opportunities for the free exercise of religion.” So, he has withdrawn autonomy from all of his Commanders to do so, turning it over to their Chaplains.
Snider accurately notes that this singles out issues of religion for separation from command guidance: Read more
Michael Weinstein, of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has threatened to “file a federal lawsuit” if the US Military Academy at West Point doesn’t stop using a survey that “violates…constitutional protections.”
West Point is currently in direct violation of Clause 3, Article 6 of the United States Constitution’s absolute prohibition against the utilization of any “religious test”…
West Point has grievously transgressed against and is in clear violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, period.
You know its serious when he spells out “period.” Further, Weinstein asserted that his “clients” were anonymous because they “gravely” feared reprisal:
Our 42 MRFF clients at West Point gravely fear the distinct possibility that they could be the target of nontrivial direct or indirect reprisals and/or retribution if they were to voice their concerns and demands to their superiors at the Academy…
Weinstein’s main points — West Point violated the Constitution and its cadets and faculty are cowering in fear — are fairly easy to debunk:
“West Point Violated the Constitution”
Most honest Constitutional historians would likely admit Weinstein is misusing the “no religious test” clause. (Even Weinstein’s own research assistant, Chris Rodda, Read more