West Point Prayer

Mikey Weinstein:
Mikey, I totally disagree with you on this point….and many others.  I’m a retired Army Colonel, Green Beret, my son is a USAFA grad and my Godson was a West Point football player, so I’m very familiar with your many attacks on prayer.  I’m aware that you, and your son are also USAFA grads.  I assume that you have never served in combat, or you might have a different view of prayer.  There are no atheists in the foxhole, so to speak.  Sometimes, SF Chaplains need to be armed, sometimes soldiers need to pray. What is wrong with a football team being thankful for a win, a good game, no one being hurt?  After all this country was founded on freedom OF religion, not on freedom FROM religion!  Trying to wipe out prayer from the military is terribly misguided – you should be ashamed!
(name withheld)

Response from Special Assistant to the President, Director of US Army Affairs, Blake Page
 A half century of jurisprudence totally disagrees with your point of discernment between freedom of and freedom from religion.  Reality is that you cannot have one without the other.  Freedom of religion, or the freedom to choose whichever religion you might desire naturally results in freedom from religion, freedom from one religious view being bolstered with the strength of the governing body. The family of Pat Tillman is a very good place to start debunking your exhaustively falsified rallying cry of there being no atheists in foxholes.  If you’d like more examples I’d only ask that you open the door to your mind-deadening echo-chamber and introduce yourself to the world wide web.  Try using the popular website “google.com” and search for terms like, “atheists in foxholes”.  You can call all of these men and women liars and frauds if you’d like, but if that’s the level of respect you have for our combat veterans, I have to question your character.
No one is trying to wipe prayer from the military.  You can fight that straw man all day long if you’d like.  You’ll just continue to look silly rolling around in the hay.  Read the findings of Lemon v. Kurtzman.  Ask yourself why it is that we no longer have faculty led and organized prayer in public schools.   Really, please do read the finding now. if you haven’t already.  I’m sure if I asked you why you think the SCOTUS developed the Lemon Test you’ll say something along the lines of “because satan is waging a holy war and gaining ground!”  I ask that you muster what strength you have left and consider the views of another.  Let’s say a non-Christian.  How about a Jewish student, in class at a public school.  Let’s say that the morning prayer ritual is about to begin and every day that young boy or girl fails the religious test of conformity by refusing to participate.  Now we have a totally unnecessary, un-American, separation between in- and out-groups orchestrated by all taxpayers (not just the bible believers).   What affect do you think that will have on the way those delightfully prayerful students’ view people who aren’t like them?  Fast forward into the future just a bit.  Let’s say we have a Muslim soldier, who declines to participate in the mandatory prayer ceremony in formation and is immediately identified by his peers as spiritually deficient.  There have been more than enough documented instances of Boykin-esque acts of violence and harassment towards non-Christians in our modern history.  Read Mikey’s book, No Snowflake in an Avalanche, if you’d like to hear some dozen or so examples.  And that’s only a fraction of the tip of the iceburg.
It’s literally impossible to wipe out prayer.  Anyone who claims that as their goal is a fool.  Private or voluntary group prayer can be a wonderful thing for those who choose to opt-in. It is possible to stop state-sponsorship of religion.  Anytime a service member is given a religious test and must opt-out of participation in a religious ceremony the lemon test has been failed.  I hope that has cleared everything up for you, if not keep reading my friend.
Cheers,
Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs

After reading your sarcastic reply, would you please comment on why we are allowing Muslim prayer areas in our public schools, i.e. school lunchrooms, etc.?  Seems that Jewish folks would be offended, as well as Christians if not allowed to do the same.  If you ever hope to win anyone to your obviously liberal, progressive or whatever point of view, you should skip the sarcasm and provide information.  Google that!
Cheers,
(name withheld)

Response from Blake Page, MRFF’s  Special Assistant to the President, Director of US Army Affairs
I’m happy to answer that for you.
It’s for the same reason that we have programs like the ubiquitous Fellowship of Christian Athletes which are given facilities and resources to practice their religion as an opt-in, and thereby entirely legal, program.  It’s the same reason we have “see you at the pole” events at nearly every public school across the country which go uncontested by people like myself.  Because those events are opt-in and not opt-out.  Those events and programs are extraordinarily well advertised and funded.  They have high attendance.  And they are examples of prayer and religious activity on government property which are perfectly fine and pass all legal standards, again because they are opt-in and not opt-out.  Now, if these Muslim prayer areas have earned your ire, my only question to you is, do the students who use them opt-in, or is every student brought into the prayer area, told by the faculty or some other government appointed leadership at the institution that they need to kneel in prayer to Allah or opt-out?
 
There’s no religious test in a voluntary program which requires volition and intent to join in.  From your e-mail here, I take it you didn’t read the findings of Lemon v. Kurtzman.  I’m sure you picked up on my redundant use of the distinction between opt-out/opt-in.  If you’d read the findings top to bottom you’d likely have picked up on the origin of the distinction.  Alas, you’ve dashed my hopes and dreams again my friend!
 
Sincerely,
 
Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs
p.s. – I’ll keep my sarcastic witticisms and use them as often as I like, not for your entertainment, but my own.  Anytime I get an e-mail that opens discourse in a fashion similar to yours (exclamation marks!!, calls for shame, no clear civil desire to come to an understanding, unrefined rallying cries with no basis in truth) I don’t feel the need to abide by strict professionalism.

 Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Dear (name withheld),

Your disagreement is noted, as are your assumptions and your tendency to rely on tired adages.

Perhaps you might choose to take your argument to the top? See below:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/09/10/top-west-point-general-valid-concerns-raised-about-prayer-after-army-football-game/

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General Corps, US Army (Retired).

Dear (name withheld),

Attached please find a rational explanation in plain language of the lawful relationship between our Constitution, any religion and the military. Hopefully, it will be helpful for you. Best wishes.
 
John Compere
Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General Corps, US Army (Retired).
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Blake, nothing has “earned my ire” – I’m just questioning the differences between various religions and the “accommodations” made for some and not others.  I understand opt in and opt out, but I don’t understand why we have a separate area for Muslin prayer and not separate areas for Jewish or Christian prayer.  Why don’t the Muslins have a “see you at the pole” as you state?  I don’t have a chance to opt out of my taxes providing a separate area for them.  And please, keep the sarcasm to yourself – I’m trying to see why you guys do what you do and you’re not helping much.
(name withheld)

Response from Blake Page, MRFF’s  Special Assistant to the President, Director of US Army Affairs

Dear (name withheld),
If you want civil discourse, we can absolutely do that.  To start down that road, I’ll first need an apology for the manner in which you first reached out to the foundation.  As I’m sure you would expect the same had I first introduced myself to you by saying you should be ashamed of yourself, then later asked for your respect.
Blake

 

 

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