Sometimes I forget just how backwards a time we live in. I, as well as much of the country, share certain values and beliefs that I see as completely rational and logical. Then I read the news. After reading my daily dose of political muck, I feel like I’ve chased a white rabbit into Wonderland. Up is down; black is white; left is right; and stupid is smart. Well, after reading the news today, I once again feel the wonder.
According to Michael Hill, of the Associated press, a cadet at West Point is dropping out just six months shy of his graduation because of what he says is an overly religious environment. Blake Page, who served in the army prior to attending West Point, said this:
“I don’t want to be a part of West Point knowing that the leadership here is OK with just shrugging off and shirking off respect and good order and discipline and obeying the law and defending the Constitution and doing their job.”
And according to the Associated Press story:
“Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called “heathens” by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he’d never be a leader until he filled the hole in his heart….Page said he hears about the plight of other nonreligious cadets in part through his involvement with the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The founder and president of that advocacy group said Page’s action is a milestone in the fight against ‘fanatical religiosity’ in the military. ‘This is an extraordinary act of courage that I do compare directly to what Rosa Parks did,’ said Mikey Weinstein.”
In addition to this, Page says he would like this to be a defining moment; a move he makes to publicly decry this type of discrimination in the military. However, this is not the whole story. The academy has denied that it creates an environment of intolerance for the non-religious. It has also denied the allegations made by Blake Page.
In addition to that, other secular cadets and teachers contradict what Page has to say. According to Major Nicholas Utzig: “I think it represents his own personal experience and perhaps it might not be as universal as he suggests.”
Fellow secularist cadet Andrew Houchin said this: “I think it’s true that the majority of West Point cadets are of a very conservative, Christian orientation…I don’t think that’s unique to West Point. But more broadly, I’ve never had that even be a problem with those of us who are secular.”
Now, I’m not annoyed because Mr. Page decided to drop out; what annoys me about this is the backwards nature of the situation. Christians and Christianity in general are mocked, derided, and pushed aside so often that I almost don’t notice it anymore. Between Leftist politicians and Hollywood, it’s pervasive. So, forgive me if I’m not weeping over Blake Page’s tragic situation.
In addition to this, Mikey Weinstein comparing Page’s stunt to Rosa Parks is disingenuous at best, and disgusting at worst. In what world is a secularist’s resignation from a military academy due to “intolerance” of his non-beliefs comparable to Rosa Parks?!
Given the comments from fellow cadets and teachers; given that other secularists have not taken the same action; and given the overwrought comparisons to an actual civil rights figure; I am irked. There is so much religious intolerance in the world right now; in America, China, and especially the Middle East, that to make a big deal out of the religious environment of your military academy is unnecessary. Christians live with this kind of discrimination every day, but they push through. In my experience, those who overreact don’t have much security in themselves, or in their beliefs.