Way off Base (with replies from foundation voices)

Your billboard is so offensive that words don’t begin to describe it.   As I understand it,  the Academy sent a link regarding Judiasm in connection with a jewish holiday.   The Academy has a history of doing similar things when other religious holidays come up.   But somehow,  you’ve decided to take issues of homosexuality and theft, combine them, and put up a confusing and damning billboard?   Perhaps I’m missing the connection here, but I’m not missing the fact your billboard is inflammatory, deceptive, fraudulent, and may well incite people to take action against your organization.    If you have a point to make, something less obtuse and less offensive would be the way to go.   For now,  take down the billboard.

(name withheld)


The following is a response to the above email from
MRFF Special Assistant to the President, Blake Page

Good evening Mr. (withheld),

I suppose being offended is a very uncomfortable position to be in, and I am terribly sorry that you are experiencing such malcontent.  Although I do not enjoy inflicting conscientious harm on any individual, there are often times when such a tactic is quite necessary in order to increase the probability that this theoretical “other” comes to a state of heightened understanding about the world around them.  I would like to borrow some words from a prominent Christian man who spoke and wrote much more effusively than myself, George Whitefield:

“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.”

This words express a thought that need some time to digest.  What is the value of a banal statement?  What worth would there be in us producing a billboard that expressed our organizational mission of defense of the constitution?  Who would care to notice such a thing?  The answer is quite simple.  No one would care.  Neither yourself, the leadership of the military or, most importantly, the nearly 400 clients of ours at the Air Force Academy that requested our help.  There is value in offense at times.  It can be a tool used to draw attention.  Do we have yours?

Although on the point of the potential offensiveness of the billboard, I agree with you, (it certainly may have hurt the feelings of small men and women lacking in empathy) however on the point of it being deceptive or fraudulent, you are laughably ill-informed.  The website in question explicitly drew a comparison between homosexuality and kleptomania.  It described each as “morally irresponsible.”  The moral failure of this philosophy is very easily and readily dismissed by the briefest introspection.  I do not know how much training you have in philosophy, but consider the first tenet of Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

“Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

By applying this to homosexual conduct, you will find that in fact, any person could take part in such behavior, in mutually consenting relationships, and never cause harm to a third party.  Therefore acting on a maxim of freedom of sexual orientation should become a universal law.  In laymen’s terms, gay people don’t hurt anyone, so there is no justification for identifying them as universally immoral.

In contrast, by applying this to kleptomania you will find that the behavior associated with that disorder does in fact cause significant harm to third parties.  Acting on the maxim of acceptance of kleptomania would lead to the violation of the rights to property of non-consenting third parties, therefore negating its potential viability as a universal law.  In laymen’s terms, stealing hurts people, and is therefore justified in being called immoral.

This argumentation clearly shows that the analogy utilized on jewfaq.org was a false analogy, written in the foundations of bronze age morality which also excluded you or I from consuming shellfish, wearing polyester, or having a conversation with a woman on her period because these things are all “abominations in the eyes of [insert arbitrary deity, because they all say the same nonsense].

Now, as you are so convinced that we ought to remove our billboard, I would ask you why you are not offended by the thousands of “Celebrate Jesus” billboards and signs which are scattered about Colorado Springs.  There are countless millions of people who identify the character of Jesus to be a bane to our species’ progress.  The Christian ideology is deeply offensive to many sects of many faiths, and many members of the secular community.  So should the churches sponsoring such propaganda capitulate to the whims of malcontents?  No.  They shouldn’t.  We have in this country, constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press.  It is the right of any organization to advertise their ideology as they see fit, so long as it does not advocate hate or violence (although it is quite easy to argue that the teachings found in the overly advertised religion of Christianity in all of its forms is a message of hate).  Our billboard neither advocates or expresses hate or intolerance, unless you consider the intolerance of intolerance intolerable, in which case you are beyond the point of remediation through civil discourse.

I hope you’re enjoying another beautiful California day out in Sacramento.  It’s a beautiful part of the country, and one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived.

Cheers,

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of West Point Affairs

“Constitutional rights are not awarded to those who patiently await their award, rather to those who passionately demand them en masse.”

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2 Comments

  1. Chris P

    Apparently he didn’t do too much research before typing his response. Unaware of the USAFA’s strangeness.

    I’m still trying to get them to let me use the student library again. The Naval Academy is fine with me using their’s – show driver’s license, walk around. Air Force Academy has the doors firmly locked. More like a prison camp.

  2. Ruben Castillo

    As a result of Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s participation in Huffington Post Live’s piece entitled ‘Bombing for Jesus’ and YouTube video named ‘U.S. Military Being Used as Government Paid Missionaries’, I began a White House petition to have the Executive investigate the claims made in both videos. As a retired Marine combat veteran and Roman Catholic who defended our Constitution and way of life I was deeply troubled by what was presented. I wore my uniform proudly to defend the rights of all citizens, not just those of the Evangelical or Jewish faith; not just the heterosexual; not just White America; not just Affluent America, but for all Americans! I am offended at the activities commanders portrayed in the aforementioned videos; this is not the American Dream I fought for, my friends died for, and my fellow Warriors believe in! I support your efforts in identifying and rooting out hate, bigotry, and religious persecution not only in our armed forces, but in our national character!

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/investigate-claim-made-military-religious-freedom-foundation-military-indoctrinating-religious/vv9H91Tb

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