Contact: Justin Griffith
MARINE CORPS’ DISTURBING RELATIONSHIP WITH CONTROVERSIAL DOOMSDAY SECT
Camp Pendleton Shows Costa Mesa Extreme Favoritism Despite History of Sex Crimes and Scandals
SAN DIEGO, CA – Over the past decade, the local Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa has had unprecedented access to Marines at Camp Pendleton. Despite their controversial end-times message and history of sex scandals, the group has co-sponsored several high-profile concerts and other events with the approval of local Navy and Marine Corps commanders.
Comprised of hundreds of congregations, Calvary Chapel is a large organization in crisis. Their founder, Chuck Smith, famously predicted the end of the world to be 1981, and still expects the end any day now. Smith also presides over the San Diego area congregation, the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. His former colleagues have described cover-ups of sex scandals, including those involving minors as young as 12 years old. Smith had famously re-hired John Flores, a twice-fired pastor who was finally arrested and convicted of having sex with the 15-year-old daughter of another Costa Mesa pastor.
None of these incidents affected Costa Mesa’s influence at Pendleton. No other religious group has a presence on this scale. In fact, other groups are beginning to cry foul at unfair treatment, citing the special privilege that Costa Mesa has enjoyed for a decade.
Back in April, so-called ‘foxhole atheists’ in the Marine Corps filed paperwork with Camp Pendleton for equal treatment, in the form of an upcoming festival. Called Rock Beyond Belief 2, it’s the follow up to this year’s massive atheist festival on Fort Bragg, a US Army installation in North Carolina.
Camp Pendleton has not been receptive to their request. Co-organizer and American Atheists Military Director, Justin Griffith said, “All we want is equal treatment compared to Costa Mesa. We were stonewalled, and we even had to submit a Freedom of Information Act request. Their response was a slap in the face that ignored 99% of our request, and half of it consisted solely of pages of garbage text and blacked out names. We wonder what they are hiding, or who they are protecting.”
Griffith contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for additional support. Collectively, they issued demands for transparency and equal treatment. They addressed several military commanders, including Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus.
The organizers have stated that their contact at Pendleton stopped returning messages weeks ago, but they remain optimistic about the future.
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American Atheists | FFRF | MRFF Joint letter to the Secretary of the Navy
Joint Ethics Regulation 3-211 (law that requires them to provide equal treatment)
Camp Pendleton’s Inadequate FOIA Response:
Our Original FOIA Request (With missing portions highlighted in yellow):
POINT OF CONTACT
Primary: Justin Griffith: (239) 689 0323 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alt: Christopher Herr (760) 401 3600 | email@example.com
If both POC’s are unavailable, our media coordinator will ensure we get back to you as soon as possible. Debbie Allen: (619) 230 8441 | SanDiegoCoR@cox.net
Justin Griffith and Christopher Herr are active duty service members, but they do not speak on behalf of the Army, Marine Corps, or the DoD.
CAMP PENDLETON CONTACT INFORMATION
Official Camp Pendleton employee assigned to us (good luck with this one):
Ian Cherry – (760) 763 9591 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Statements about the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa can be cross-referenced in several mainstream news articles. This one from the Christian Post is a good start. Advocates and victims of sexual abuse in the Calvary Chapel have started compiling their own stories.