Thursday, December 06, 2012

West Point Cadet Resigns Over School's Promotion of Religion

In a Huffington Post essay on Monday, West Point cadet Blake Page announced that he is resigning from West Point 5 months short of graduation in protest of the school's promotion of religion. He wrote in part:
... [C]ountless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution. These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation. These transgressions are nearly always committed in the name of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. The sparse leaders who object to these egregious violations are relegated to the position of silent bystanders, because they understand all too well the potential ramifications of publically expressing their loyalty to the laws of our country.
AP reported yesterday that  despite Page's concerns to the contrary, he has now received an honorary discharge and will not have to reimburse the military for the cost of his education. A spokesperson for West Point disputed Page's claims, saying that prayer is voluntary where invocations are offered, and that Page served as president of the school's Secular Student Alliance. Page had recently been disqualified on medical grounds from receiving a Second Lieutenant commission after graduation. He suffers from clinical depression and anxiety which have gotten worse since his father committed suicide last year.