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Bay Area Atheists/Agnostics/Humanists/Freethinkers/Skeptics Message Board › "CFI Condemns Military’s Discriminatory Refusal to Support Nonreligious

"CFI Condemns Military’s Discriminatory Refusal to Support Nonreligious Event"

Miltown H.
Vinny832
Pittsburg, CA
Post #: 3
FYI in case any of you haven't heard of or been following this story:

http://www.centerfori...­

"The organizers of the upcoming Rock Beyond Belief concert at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, have been forced to cancel the event because military authorities, led by Col. Stephen J. Sicinski, garrison commander at Fort Bragg, have withdrawn their support for the event.

"The event was planned in response to Fort Bragg’s sponsorship, endorsement, and overwhelming support of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s Christian evangelical concert, called Rock the Fort, held last year. When atheists and secularists around the country protested the government’s support of this event and requested that it be canceled, officials at Fort Bragg tried to justify their support by stating the same level of support would be provided to anyone who organized a similar event. That pledge has proven to be untrue.

"Until last Thursday, Rock Beyond Belief was shaping up to be an outstanding program of secular speakers and musical entertainment, including the likes of Richard Dawkins. It was scheduled to take place April 2.

"Fort Bragg officials made it impossible for Rock Beyond Belief to see fruition by denying the use of an outdoor venue and financial support. Planning for Rock Beyond Belief has been halted, and it is unknown if it will ever take place.

"Responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the U.S. Army disclosed that it spent $52,475.80 in support of Rock the Fort.

"The support by military officials of the evangelical efforts of a Christian organization while denying support to Rock Beyond Belief represents a flagrant misuse of power and vividly illustrates prejudice against the nonreligious, in particular nonreligious military personnel who are serving our country.

"The discriminatory actions by military officials at Fort Bragg are not only outrageous but probably illegal as well. Department of Defense directives prohibit distribution of benefits on a selective basis. In fact, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an advocacy group that watches for signs of religious bias in the military, is planning a lawsuit over the cancellation, arguing that Fort Bragg leaders have shown clear favoritism toward evangelical Christians at the expense of other groups. "

Miltown H.
Vinny832
Pittsburg, CA
Post #: 4
Addendum: outrageous quote from NC state legislator about "church and state" in letter to constituent addressing this topic:

http://rockbeyondbeli...­

"Ms. [name witheld] – This is a Federal issue not a State issue. With that said I would like to point out that the Constitution States that the federal government cannot establish a religion and cannot prevent the free exercise of a religion. There is nothing in the Constitution that addresses church and state, in fact for over a hundred years the Capitol building was used as a church. This was initiated by Thomas Jefferson. The idea of separation of church and state started in the twenties by secularists who did not want prayer in the public space. They have been quite successful in redefining the Constitution on this issue. I personally believe that the Country would be better off with prayer in the public space."
A former member
Post #: 269
Thanks for posting this article.

It thrills me to see the fundamentalist bible believers dragged into the national spotlight. Exposing the actual beliefs of Evangelical Christians is exactly what needs to happen in order for things to improve in the world of cultural (American/World) politics.

It took me 30 years to find the guts to put my own (former) beliefs under the microscope....it's time that everyone in this country do the same.

In closing: THANK YOU to all GLBT folks who have courageously faced the battle alone for so many years. As a member of the "most hated minority in America", I salute your efforts towards making this a better world.
Wendy
user 9892369
San Ramon, CA
Post #: 210
FYI in case any of you haven't heard of or been following this story:
. . . .
"The support by military officials of the evangelical efforts of a Christian organization while denying support to Rock Beyond Belief represents a flagrant misuse of power and vividly illustrates prejudice against the nonreligious, in particular nonreligious military personnel who are serving our country.

"The discriminatory actions by military officials at Fort Bragg are not only outrageous but probably illegal as well. Department of Defense directives prohibit distribution of benefits on a selective basis. In fact, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an advocacy group that watches for signs of religious bias in the military, is planning a lawsuit over the cancellation, arguing that Fort Bragg leaders have shown clear favoritism toward evangelical Christians at the expense of other groups. "



I did not know about this. This kind of stuff happens all the time in public schools. Where's the activism to counter it? Who's leading the charge? How can we support them?: What should we in this group do, besides talk about it among ourselves?
Miltown H.
Vinny832
Pittsburg, CA
Post #: 6
>What should we in this group do, besides talk about it among ourselves?"

Here's an online form letter and a list of names to send it to:

https://secure3.convi...­

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has more links to information and ideas about how to take action:

http://www.militaryre...­

So does the No god Blog:

http://atheists.org/b...­

Miltown H.
Vinny832
Pittsburg, CA
Post #: 7
One more link in case anyone is still reading. :-)

http://rockbeyondbeli...­

This is the ad-hoc organization that was/is actually planning and organizing the festival. They've been doing a good job of documenting what is going on and i think that it behooves us all to follow.

The bizarre word games being played by the religious radicals (both military leaders and government officials) who are opposing this effort are really quite offensive. I'd say that they are shocking but unfortunately they're all too common, I'm sure.
Miltown H.
Vinny832
Pittsburg, CA
Post #: 12
FYI, the ACLU has sent a FOIA request to Secretary of the Army John McHugh for more information pertaining to the military's support and funding for the concert previously held by evangelicals.
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