West Point cadet quits, cites 'criminal' behavior of officers

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West Point cadet quits, cites 'criminal' behavior of officers

A West Point atheist cadet publicly announced his decision to quit the prestigious military academy just months before graduating to protest what he sees as the illegal infusion of military procedures and events with fundamentalist Christian proselytizing.

"Countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution," wrote Page, who was slated to graduate in May. "These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation."

----

When I went to join the USMC I my recruiters ask me, "So what are you Catholic or Protestant?" My response was, "I'm an atheist".

The two recruiters looked at each other then shook their heads. "You need to be Catholic or Protestant, there are only two choices".

I looked at the paperwork and saw, "Other".

I said, "Other".

"No no no, you don't want to draw attention to yourself. If you put "other" you will be singled out. What religion were your parents?"

"Catholic"

"Good. You're going to be a Catholic"

----

I was happy I picked Catholic because we got to get out of the squad bay for a few hours and away from our drill instructors. I was use to the "mass" stuff so I usually just mumbled my way through and sang the songs "Onward Christian Soldier" and "From the halls of Montezuma".

There were two guys who did put "other" and did they get the worst shit details. They were always on firewatch or cleaning the head. The DI's beat the fuck out of them mentally.

In the FMF people who claimed to be atheists or "other" were constantly bashed for their beliefs if it wasn't christian. I remember constant harassment from all angles all day long from mostly the officers towards several friends. I also worked in HQ and recall several high ranking officers mistreating a few marines who claimed their were agnostic.

The mistreatment was really more of a form of hazing and the mental attacks were unrelenting to the point that one marine quit. I mean, literally quit. He sat down on the floor and refused to move. When asked by a superior what he was doing, he told them he "refused to train any more" and that "he was tired of the harassment".

The MP's came and took him away to the brig and he was court martial, stripped of his rank and dishonorable discharged.

The next time I saw him he was getting a "last meal" before going home. He had let his hair grow out, had a beard and was wearing civilian clothes. As I caught up on what happened to him an officer who I guess knew of him walked up behind me and bumped me.

"What are you doing talking to this shit bird?"

"We went through basic and infantry training together. He's my friend and I'm saying 'good bye to him'"

"Well make it quick"

"You aren't my commander nor are you part of my platoon so take a hike, sir"

He continued to give me a hard time when from behind him was my Gunny.

This Gunny was a hard nosed, NCO who put up with no shit from any officer.

"Sir, why are you fucking with my marine? don't you have something better to do?"

It didn't take long for the Lt. to get his ass handed to him by a kick ass Gunny who then told me finish it up and move on.

Right before he left, Gunny looked at the guy who was leaving for home. He said, "Sorry this all happened. It's bullshit and you were a good Marine. We need to change this bullshit"

----

In the military it's really a bunch of bullshit. There are christian fundamentalists who go in to the military to promote their 'god like agenda' because 'jesus would do this'. They actually consider theirselves "soldiers of christ".

It's bullshit and the military should promote equality for all beliefs, not just christians.

 

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Forgot the article...

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Definitely

Definitely needs to be addressed and I applaud his courage.

But, leaving Atheism out of the equation for the moment, why is their a dichotomy on Catholic/Protestant ?

What if he had said he was Jewish ?

What if he had said he was a Scientologist ?

What if he had said he was a Buddhist ?

What if he had said he was a Wiccan ?

Why were the only two choices Catholic/Protestant ?

I wasn't aware that the military had the same attitude as Northern Ireland.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Definitely needs to be addressed and I applaud his courage.

But, leaving Atheism out of the equation for the moment, why is their a dichotomy on Catholic/Protestant ?

What if he had said he was Jewish ?

What if he had said he was a Scientologist ?

What if he had said he was a Buddhist ?

What if he had said he was a Wiccan ?

Why were the only two choices Catholic/Protestant ?

I wasn't aware that the military had the same attitude as Northern Ireland.

I was in the Marines during the 80's so things might have changed since that time. If you were of jewish faith then you were classified as 'other'.

I remember Jewish practitioners who were in my platoon and they had a rabbi on base along with services, but they didn't do it on Saturday. They had their one hour to pray on Sunday along with the rest of us.

The issue is that the military is still biased on religious preference. While it isn't every where in the military, there are areas which it would suck if you were under a fundamentalist christian Lt or Capt who treated you like shit because you had a different belief.

 

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digitalbeachbum wrote:I was

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I was in the Marines during the 80's so things might have changed since that time. If you were of jewish faith then you were classified as 'other'.

I remember Jewish practitioners who were in my platoon and they had a rabbi on base along with services, but they didn't do it on Saturday. They had their one hour to pray on Sunday along with the rest of us.

The issue is that the military is still biased on religious preference. While it isn't every where in the military, there are areas which it would suck if you were under a fundamentalist christian Lt or Capt who treated you like shit because you had a different belief.

 

Yeah, I can see how someone with a position of total authority, like a Captain, Lieutenant or Sargeant, could use their position to carry out idealized aggression.

Tragic.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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 I was in the Marines in

 I was in the Marines in the late '90s and I didn't have too much of an issue. As an atheist I was definitely a minority but I didn't feel that I was discriminated against outside of the usual "which religion are you" question. In basic, I was offered the choice of either going to church or sitting with the DI all day and the DI made it very clear that he would be very unhappy sitting with me all day- so I went to church because going was a hell of a lot better than being around the DI when he was happy, let alone when he was pissed off that I fucked up his one day off a week. So that was slightly coercive, but imo, tolerable and understandable (if I was the DI I would want everyone going to some church service so I could enjoy my morning too).

Once I got out of basic, religion was not an issue at all outside of the voluntary arguments I got in while we were pissing away time and I never personally experienced discrimination from my superiors who at most  might show a moment of surprise when I told them I was atheist but never pursued the subject. However, I did meet many people in the Corps that were uber religious and if they ever reached positions of authority I could imagine them abusing it so I can't discount the testimony of anyone who feels they were discriminated against. Discrimination simply didn't occur in my personal experience. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote: I was

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I was in the Marines in the late '90s and I didn't have too much of an issue. As an atheist I was definitely a minority but I didn't feel that I was discriminated against outside of the usual "which religion are you" question. In basic, I was offered the choice of either going to church or sitting with the DI all day and the DI made it very clear that he would be very unhappy sitting with me all day- so I went to church because going was a hell of a lot better than being around the DI when he was happy, let alone when he was pissed off that I fucked up his one day off a week. So that was slightly coercive, but imo, tolerable and understandable (if I was the DI I would want everyone going to some church service so I could enjoy my morning too).

Once I got out of basic, religion was not an issue at all outside of the voluntary arguments I got in while we were pissing away time and I never personally experienced discrimination from my superiors who at most  might show a moment of surprise when I told them I was atheist but never pursued the subject. However, I did meet many people in the Corps that were uber religious and if they ever reached positions of authority I could imagine them abusing it so I can't discount the testimony of anyone who feels they were discriminated against. Discrimination simply didn't occur in my personal experience. 

Don't you think religion is a big part of military training. To not question authority. To get soldiers to be willing to sacrifice their lives without questioning the reason why they are doing so.

Seems we'd have a lot less war for all the wrong reasons if soldier were allowed to question the rationality behind the war. This is why we need to get religion out of the military. Get rid of chaplins and religious services on base.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I was in the Marines during the 80's so things might have changed since that time. If you were of jewish faith then you were classified as 'other'.

I remember Jewish practitioners who were in my platoon and they had a rabbi on base along with services, but they didn't do it on Saturday. They had their one hour to pray on Sunday along with the rest of us.

The issue is that the military is still biased on religious preference. While it isn't every where in the military, there are areas which it would suck if you were under a fundamentalist christian Lt or Capt who treated you like shit because you had a different belief.

 

Yeah, I can see how someone with a position of total authority, like a Captain, Lieutenant or Sargeant, could use their position to carry out idealized aggression.

Tragic.

I believe that religious and political discrimination was common during my tour. How ever christians were the worst offenders.

Yeah it happens in every way possible, including the political formats.

(sorry for the previous message. I tried accessing the RRS site with my Note2 and was using the stylus to write my reply. I still need more practice with the gadget).

 

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EXC wrote:Don't you think

EXC wrote:

Don't you think religion is a big part of military training. To not question authority. To get soldiers to be willing to sacrifice their lives without questioning the reason why they are doing so.

Religion didn't have a noticeable part of my training. Every soldier thinks about the reason they are willing to risk their lives, religious soldiers often have religious reasons and non-religious soldiers have other reasons. I don't think most soldiers give a flying fuck why the soldier sitting next to them is willing to back them up, as long as they have the confidence and trust that they will.

 

 

EXC wrote:

Seems we'd have a lot less war for all the wrong reasons if soldier were allowed to question the rationality behind the war. This is why we need to get religion out of the military. Get rid of chaplins and religious services on base.

Whether soldiers think a war is a good idea or not is irrelevant. Many of our soldiers who served in Iraq did not support the war but when you go to a war zone idealism can get you and your friends killed. Soldiers go where the government commands them to and that is purely in the hands of our civilian politicians, the generals they appoint and the voters that elect them. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:EXC

Beyond Saving wrote:

EXC wrote:

Seems we'd have a lot less war for all the wrong reasons if soldier were allowed to question the rationality behind the war. This is why we need to get religion out of the military. Get rid of chaplins and religious services on base.

Whether soldiers think a war is a good idea or not is irrelevant. Many of our soldiers who served in Iraq did not support the war but when you go to a war zone idealism can get you and your friends killed. Soldiers go where the government commands them to and that is purely in the hands of our civilian politicians, the generals they appoint and the voters that elect them. 

I agree with Beyond. Many of the marines I served with had the attitude that they had "a job to do" and while many of them didn't like it or agreed with it they did it any way.

Many of them who could get out, did so when they could, if their convictions were strong enough. Others stayed in because they had a wife and kid at home.

 

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Beyond Saving wrote: I was

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I was in the Marines in the late '90s and I didn't have too much of an issue. As an atheist I was definitely a minority but I didn't feel that I was discriminated against outside of the usual "which religion are you" question. In basic, I was offered the choice of either going to church or sitting with the DI all day and the DI made it very clear that he would be very unhappy sitting with me all day- so I went to church because going was a hell of a lot better than being around the DI when he was happy, let alone when he was pissed off that I fucked up his one day off a week. So that was slightly coercive, but imo, tolerable and understandable (if I was the DI I would want everyone going to some church service so I could enjoy my morning too).

Once I got out of basic, religion was not an issue at all outside of the voluntary arguments I got in while we were pissing away time and I never personally experienced discrimination from my superiors who at most  might show a moment of surprise when I told them I was atheist but never pursued the subject. However, I did meet many people in the Corps that were uber religious and if they ever reached positions of authority I could imagine them abusing it so I can't discount the testimony of anyone who feels they were discriminated against. Discrimination simply didn't occur in my personal experience. 

So in other words you were unwilling to stand up for your own rights and the rights afforded by the Constitution . SO WHAT if he gets pissed at you. It is coersion PERIOD.  I'd rather do KP and have the DI pissed at me than to bow to his intollerant attempt to shame me. If it means "freedom of religion" they YOU did a disservice to yourself and to the very uniform you put on just to placate the emotions of some guy with a power trip.[

Quote:
I never personally experienced discrimination

What did you just discribe here? You went out of fear of a higher up taking it out on you. That is discrimination. NO ONE has the right to even imply you should go or imply punishment if you don't. Otherwise you wouldn't have been concerned about him getting pissed off.

 

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Brian37 wrote:Beyond Saving

Brian37 wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I was in the Marines in the late '90s and I didn't have too much of an issue. As an atheist I was definitely a minority but I didn't feel that I was discriminated against outside of the usual "which religion are you" question. In basic, I was offered the choice of either going to church or sitting with the DI all day and the DI made it very clear that he would be very unhappy sitting with me all day- so I went to church because going was a hell of a lot better than being around the DI when he was happy, let alone when he was pissed off that I fucked up his one day off a week. So that was slightly coercive, but imo, tolerable and understandable (if I was the DI I would want everyone going to some church service so I could enjoy my morning too).

Once I got out of basic, religion was not an issue at all outside of the voluntary arguments I got in while we were pissing away time and I never personally experienced discrimination from my superiors who at most  might show a moment of surprise when I told them I was atheist but never pursued the subject. However, I did meet many people in the Corps that were uber religious and if they ever reached positions of authority I could imagine them abusing it so I can't discount the testimony of anyone who feels they were discriminated against. Discrimination simply didn't occur in my personal experience. 

So in other words you were unwilling to stand up for your own rights and the rights afforded by the Constitution . SO WHAT if he gets pissed at you. It is coersion PERIOD.  I'd rather do KP and have the DI pissed at me than to bow to his intollerant attempt to shame me. If it means "freedom of religion" they YOU did a disservice to yourself and to the very uniform you put on just to placate the emotions of some guy with a power trip.[

Quote:
I never personally experienced discrimination

What did you just discribe here? You went out of fear of a higher up taking it out on you. That is discrimination. NO ONE has the right to even imply you should go or imply punishment if you don't. Otherwise you wouldn't have been concerned about him getting pissed off. 

When you join the military you give up many of your constitutional rights such as the right to free speech (1st amendment), unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment), due process (5th amendment), speedy trial (6th amendment), and trial by jury (7th amendment). Although the UCMJ has similar protections during peacetime, you hardly have the protections afforded to civilians, especially during wartime. (hence the big deal over the question of whether the detainees in Cuba should be tried as prisoners of war under the UCMJ or tried in the US as civilians). On the plus side, you get to practice the 2nd amendment on steroids.

And you do have the option of sitting behind. You can sit your ass on your footlocker for four hours polishing your boots and folding your underwear with the DI sitting there watching you to make sure you don't try to kill yourself. Going to church was the much more pleasant option, it was damn near like a vacation. Making a big deal of it is simply fucking petty. Especially since when you get into the more advanced training the religious folks often have to forego their practice of going to church- the military tries to accommodate as much as possible but the reality is that war zones are a place for practicality not idealism and political correctness.

Suffice it to say that even when attending church I didn't feel pressured or like anyone was trying to force anything on me and I was quite open about my atheism. And honestly, if you can't handle going to church for a couple of months you sure as hell are not the guy I want next to me when the shit hits the fan. 

  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X