by Chet Hardin
A senior cadet's decision to withdraw from the distinguished, New York-based West Point has made national news.
According to U.S. News, Blake Page has quit over "what he sees as the illegal infusion of military procedures and events with fundamentalist Christian proselytizing."
The article points to Page's opinion piece published by Huffington Post. In it, Page details his decision:
As I write this, I am five months from graduation. After nearly three and a half years here, there is no reason to suspect that I would be in any way incapable of completing the final requirements and walking across the stage in Michie Stadium with diploma in hand in another 174 days.
While there are certainly numerous problems with the developmental program at West Point and all service academies, the tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless 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 U.S News article also quotes Mikey Weinstein, the local Air Force Academy graduate who runs the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, (whose own battles over religious freedom we have written about extensively).
"This kid just torched his career in the Army, and his degree at West Point," said Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for total separation of church and state. He likens Page’s move to those of Rosa Parks in the civil rights movement and monks who light themselves on fire to protest Chinese policies in Tibet. "People should recognize courage when they see it."