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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › Another discrimination against atheists thingie . . .

Another discrimination against atheists thingie . . .

Anyse J.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 82
As you all know, I post pretty regularly about how the atheist community is doing nationally and internationally. I read a lot of stuff out there and this particular example of blatant discrimination by Fort Bragg is interesting for a few reasons.

As I recall, one of the leaders there was a believer and espoused the belief that the war in Iraq is a "Holy War," that the apocalypse would take place in the Middle East and that these "heathens" would all be sent to hell. There has been much going at Fort Bragg as well as the training academies in which superiors harrass non-believers as well as punish them with various duties and other things that other soldiers or cadets would not want to do at all.

In this case, the precedent was set by Fort Bragg administators that they would give any other group the same consideration as they did the Billy Graham Evangelical bash at Fort Bragg in 2010. So, a group of non-believers got a nice program together, calling it "Rock Beyond Belief." They eveg got Dawkins to be part of the speeches and festivities as well as a couple of non-believer bands to perform there as well. As the second largest group, non-belivers were totally in support of this function. Here is the rub: the military spent around $100,000.00 to help the Billy Graham organizers to put on thier function. Whild the "Rock Beyond Belief" festival asked for far less money, the military refused to fund the event and even cancelled it altogether.

Now, they are asking people to make non-believers heard on this issue and that they also contact certain people at Fort Bragg and so on to tell them that they should put on this festival in "good faith" (great place to use this expression, eh?) as well as to support it financially just as they said that they would fund similar functions by other groups. Well, they are not doing it and we should all get on the horn and tell them that they are being discriminatory as well as possibly violating the First Amendment.

Here is the letter I got today from The Secular Coalition for America:

The Secular Coalition for America: Representing Secular Americans In Our Nation's Capital

Demand Fort Bragg Support Nontheistic Festival

Army Garrison Commander Refused to Provide Event Support

“Rock Beyond Belief,” a festival of nontheistic speakers and musicians that was going to be held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on April 2, has been canceled after Fort Bragg’s garrison commander refused to provide adequate support for the event – even though Fort Bragg officials had made similar arrangements for a religious event just months ago.

Among those scheduled to appear at the festival were author Richard Dawkins; Dan Barker, copresident of the Freedom From Religion Foundation; “Friendly Atheist” blogger Hemant Mehta; Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation; and musicians Spoonboy and Roy Zimmerman.

Rock Beyond Belief’s organizers had asked for lesser or equal amounts of support for their event than the Army and Fort Bragg officials provided for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s “Rock the Fort” celebration in 2010. You can see a complete comparison of the more than $100,000 in government funds provided to the Rock the Fort event to the funds asked for by the Rock Beyond Belief organizers here.

According to Rock Beyond Belief’s chief organizer, Sgt. Justin Griffith, service members without any religious affiliation compose the second-largest “religious” group at Fort Bragg, after Christians. Griffith also points out on the festival’s website,, that Fort Bragg officially cosponsored the evangelical concert event in 2010 despite calls for the Christian event to be canceled. He states on the website that Fort Bragg officials explained that “[Fort Bragg] would be willing and able to provide the same support to comparable events.”

Fort Bragg officials have offered no reasonable explanation for denying a nontheistic festival the same level of support and accommodation that was provided to a Christian festival just months ago. Fort Bragg's actions give all the appearance of discrimination and religious privileging. The service members at Fort Bragg and all nontheistic service members need your help in being heard now.

Please send an email or letter to any or all of the following officials protesting the discriminatory actions of Fort Bragg garrison commander Colonel Stephen J. Sicinski, who has denied equal support and funding for this nonreligious event.

Col. Stephen J. Sicinski
Garrison Commander
XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg
2175 Reilly Road, Stop A
Fort Bragg, NC 28310

Ben Abel
Public Affairs Officer
Fort Bragg

U.S. Congressman Larry Kissell
8th District, North Carolina
Member, Armed Forces Committee
(202) 225-3715

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan
North Carolina
Email: http://hagan.senate.g...­

Lieutenant General Frank Helmick
XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg
2175 Reilly Road, Stop A
Fort Bragg, NC 28310

Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

If you are so inclined, please send SCA a copy of your letter or BCC (blind copy) us on your emails. Thank you for your support of the nontheistic community and for all of our service members.

Questions? Comments? Contact us.

We are giving you a place at the table. Support us with a monthly or single donation via credit card, PayPal, or check.

The Secular Coalition for America is the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. From our office in the nation's capital, our lobbyists and support staff engage public policy makers and the media on issues ranging from religion's influence on education and medical research to the privileging of faith groups by government. We are the first and only cooperative venture of freethought organizations coming together to improve the cultural and political situation of a previously unrepresented constituency: the tens of millions of atheists and agnostics in the United States.

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