Vindicated: USMA Officer Upholds Tradition of Christian Privileging in the Military
The following Op-Ed is by the valiant Blake Page, Director of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Blake also plays a pivotal role as Special Assistant to me, in my capacity as MRFF President. Blake’s revelatory visit to the hallowed grounds of West Point should serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat to the United States Constitution wrought by those who cloak their Christian fundamentalist agendas in the uniform of our nation's armed forces.
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
Founder and President,
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander." - Abraham Lincoln
Since my resignation from West Point, one of the most frequently asked questions sent my way has been whether or not I have any regrets. Certainly, I have spent a few minutes contemplating the potential alternative timelines that could have come to be if I had stayed. But, no, I do not regret my decision. Countless events, observations and conversations since then have left me vindicated. Time and time again I have been shown that many in our military suffer from dangerous ideological pollution in the form of Christian supremacy, Dominionism or intolerance in general. Every day as the Special Assistant to the President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point I see redundant and nauseating examples of the same old hat. Memorial Day weekend, MRFF sent me to West Point to see first hand how things have been developing since I left.
Friday evening, I was invited by a former classmate to meet his family at a pre-banquet reception that just happened to be going on around the same time I was visiting other cadets for other reasons. Understanding my reputation there, and not wanting to cause any disruptions, I was hesitant to accept his offer to go inside at first, but he persisted and ultimately I acquiesced.
After a round of introductions and few minutes of conversation, it was time for that friend to leave to attend the graduation banquet. We said our goodbyes, "nice to meet you"s, and then I left. While on my way out, I ran into two characters I had known since Plebe year: cadets (now lieutenants) Charlie Gerber and Oliver Flynn. They each looked quite nonplussed at my presence. We had a very short conversation, from which I gladly walked away once it became apparent that it would not be civil.
Gerber and Flynn followed a few paces behind me, but not so far that I could no longer hear what they were saying to one another. Flynn started an exchange by saying that upon seeing me he experienced a strong impulse to practice some punitive physical violence (although with a less palatable choice of words, imagine what you must). Charlie laughed, "Haha. I was thinking the exact same thing... " Finally they decided that they would not be following through with this fantasy beating because it would infringe their ability to graduate the next day.
Really gents? The only thing stopping you from resorting to violence against a non-violent civilian is fear of punishment? How wonderful to know that America's alleged best and brightest, on the night before graduation, are still making ethical decisions based on reward/punishment as children do. By their own words, the only thing stopping them from assaulting me was not that it would be wrong, criminal, and unjustifiable, but that it might possibly cause them some hardship later on. And people wonder why there are problems with assault in the military...