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West Point Military Cadet's Unsettling Story of How Christianity Dominates the Academy and Drove Him to Quit

A Q&A with Blake Page on religious discrimination at the US's most prestigious military academy.

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Traditionally, it’s been accepted to push the needs of the non-religious to the side. Not anymore. The SSA has some great folks who will carry forward the mission that myself and others before me have started. From the talent pool we have, and the motivation I’ve seen in each of them, I am absolutely certain that the leaders left behind will fill my role and continue to develop the club and community it supports in a meaningful way.

Do you plan to stay involved?

Page: Yes, I will stay in contact through the Secular Student Alliance Facebook group. I hope to provide guidance to cadets here, perhaps as a representative of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, helping them communicate with command if they don’t know how to go about it effectively. I thought the things that happened to me were irritating. But the things that happen to other people are heartbreaking. Cadets have told me, “The chain of command doesn’t want me to go to SSA meetings because being an atheist is bad for you.” A group member quit a project because he said, “I can’t work with an atheist.” Cadets are being shown that they are not good enough. I think that is bullshit and I plan to continue to do whatever I can to see it resolved on a cultural level.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of "Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light" and "Deas and Other Imaginings." Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.