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Thread: West Point Academy cadet quits months before graduation in protest of religious practices

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    West Point Academy cadet quits months before graduation in protest of religious practices

    Citing overt religiosity on campus, a West Point Academy cadet publicly quit this week just months before graduation. This is not the first time the military has come under fire for practices that nonreligious students see as aggressively evangelical.
    “I do not wish to be in any way associated with an institution which willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America by enforcing policies which run counter to the same,” Mr. Page wrote in his letter of resignation to the US Military Academy at West Point, in New York. He cites, among other things, routine prayers at mandatory events for cadets and the practice of awarding off-campus passes and credit to students who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs. These activities, in turn, foster “open disrespect of non-religious new cadets,” Page argued, adding that he had been told at West Point that it was not possible for
    During his time at West Point as the head of the Secular Student Alliance, Page helped to establish “nontheist chapel time,” an alternative for nonreligious cadets. “Before [that, if you didn't go to chapel] you could either go back to your room or have cleaning detail,” Blake recalls. “A friend of mine was made to sing and dance and recite knowledge and do all sorts of embarrassing things while everyone else went to church.”
    Too much religion at military academies? West Point cadet revives charge. - CSMonitor.com

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    If he really felt that strongly about it, he would have left the Academy within the first two years. Instead, he came to this realization just a few months before graduation after he was given a medical waiver because of clinical depression and learned he would not be commissioned. That worked out quite nicely for him, he doesn't have to pay for his West Point education or serve additional time in the Army.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    That worked out quite nicely for him, he doesn't have to pay for his West Point education or serve additional time in the Army.
    Sounds to me like he was trying to suck it up- an Atheist in a religious environment- so that he could graduate and become an officer. However, since he learned that wasn't going to happen, he would speak up about the non-secular practices of the school to try and make the climate better for Atheists that are still there or ones that will be there in the future. I think it's very brave of him to come forward.

    The reason it's wrong, in my opinion (and I assume Page's), is because there is no "paying for" a West Point education. It's funded by the military. Which means taxpayers. Which means it should be secular.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    Sounds to me like he was trying to suck it up- an Atheist in a religious environment- so that he could graduate and become an officer. However, since he learned that wasn't going to happen, he would speak up about the non-secular practices of the school to try and make the climate better for Atheists that are still there or ones that will be there in the future. I think it's very brave of him to come forward.

    The reason it's wrong, in my opinion (and I assume Page's), is because there is no "paying for" a West Point education. It's funded by the military. Which means taxpayers. Which means it should be secular.
    I'm not sure about the terms anymore, especially since it seems he was subsequently medically disqualified (one does wonder why that wasn't discovered early, or he wasn't separated earlier), but midshipman and cadets at the service academies do incur financial obligations if they leave early, or they have in the past. In many cases, they had to enter the service as enlisted personnel for a period of time.

    Here's one case where a Naval Academy midshipman who resigned has to repay some of the costs...
    Though on the brink of graduation, Proctor said he chose to resign from the academy rather than fight the honor-code violation because he wanted to start working toward a career as a college football coach and didn't want to become a Navy pilot. Proctor will have to repay the Navy the cost of his college education, approximately $160,000.

    "If I didn't have to pay back that check, I would have had to pay back a life's worth of regret of not doing what I love," said Proctor, who is taking a full load of classes to get his undergraduate degree in political science from Boise State next spring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    Sounds to me like he was trying to suck it up- an Atheist in a religious environment- so that he could graduate and become an officer. However, since he learned that wasn't going to happen, he would speak up about the non-secular practices of the school to try and make the climate better for Atheists that are still there or ones that will be there in the future. I think it's very brave of him to come forward.

    The reason it's wrong, in my opinion (and I assume Page's), is because there is no "paying for" a West Point education. It's funded by the military. Which means taxpayers. Which means it should be secular.
    I respect the fact that he's an Atheist and that he's taken a stand to try and improve the climate for Atheists at West Point. I read his letter as well as other articles, and prior to his admission to the Academy he'd served in the Army. At West Point, he was the president of the on-campus Secular Student Alliance Club as well as being active in other organizations including the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, so he was very active in taking a stand against the religious environment while he was a cadet. It's not like he all of a sudden decided to become vocal about his beliefs and try to change the climate.

    I guess I just wonder why he didn't leave sooner or stay and continue to try and effect a change.




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    On the secular/religious note... I absolutely agree that the cadets not attending religious services shouldn't have been stuck doing clean-up or being confined to their room, let alone be harassed or otherwise punished for not attending services. Or, as was apparently happening for several years at the Air Force Academy, subjected to mandatory evangelization at official functions. But an invocation or opening prayer before formations or events, and that sort of thing? Be quietly respectful of the folks praying, just like you would for another country's national anthem during a sporting event. Not endorsing religion is not the same thing as eliminating religion from public life and events.
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    He's getting a free education at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, and he doesn't agree with the way it's run, well, Shut The Front Door! He should have gone somewhere congruent with his beliefs or lack thereof and saved the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, while giving the spot at the academy to someone else.
    For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.

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    Yes, but it's being run unconstitutionally. Hey, slaves got free meals and housing. Why were they complaining?
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    Yes, but it's being run unconstitutionally. Hey, slaves got free meals and housing. Why were they complaining?
    I beg your pardon? You are joking right? The only thing slaves were getting was hard work. The person of interest here was getting an excellent education. I don't see the comparison. Slaves also did not have the freedom to leave.
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    good riddence to bad rubbish. He worked the system and got a free education... Hope he puts it to good use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lewisipso View Post
    I beg your pardon? You are joking right? The only thing slaves were getting was hard work. The person of interest here was getting an excellent education. I don't see the comparison. Slaves also did not have the freedom to leave.
    Well said. No one was forcing him to go there. I hope they make him pay for the education he received.
    For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.

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