Cadet quits due to overt religion at WP

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by educ8, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. educ8

    educ8 Member

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  2. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

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    Son and his classmates were discussing this a few days ago. They didn't have too kind of opinions on the matter, not surprisingly.

    Having read this new article makes me think there might be more going on than his diatribe about religion at the Academy. He's making a mountain out of a molehill with his opinions, but down further in the article it mentions that his father committed suicide last year. I would bet he's dealing with a lot of emotional issues and it's all boiling over for him.

    I think the Academy did the right thing by not requiring him to repay the debt, which they had every right to pursue. But he's prior service and had no bad marks on his record.

    It's definitely going to receive a lot of opinions pro and con, that is for certain.
     
  3. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    there is another thread about this in the academy news section

    I think it's pretty obvious that his claims are at best exaggerated and at worst downright lies.
     
  4. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

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  5. xenarian

    xenarian Cadet, Class of 2015

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    I knew that guy!

    I was in the same company as that guy last year. He wasn't the nicest guy, and although I can understand where he is coming from, the way he went about expressing his concerns is completely inappropriate.
     
  6. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    My son and his roommates were talking about this. Some of them go to church every week. Some do not go at all. They acknowledged that there are times when the benedictions at formal dinners or selected events go on and on and on and even the religious cadets are like “enough already” . They see it causing no real harm but can see how some would be bothered by it. There is a small element of very religious people cadets and faculty that would like all to be more religious (of their religion). They said, learn to ignore them. Be who you are. My son then recounted the story from Beast for Chaplains time. If you go, you get food and some religion. The first time he was protestant. Then he realized that you could go to more than one. The next time the squad leader said” You are all Jewish now???” They answered that they were exploring religions. Over the course of Beast they were catholic, protestant, jewish, morman and even muslim at one time or another.

    Now they are at their steady state and some do not go at all. As for the club the cadet founded, it needs active participants to get traction and funding. There were plenty of other clubs for one to pour what little free time they had into rather than this one. They didn’t object to it, just that they would rather go skiing, rock climbing, play music, work out, etc…

    There are plenty of opportunities for cadets of all different types. There is a huge Officer Christian Fellowship group and other groups for Cadets who are strongly faith oriented as well as others for other religions. There is plenty to do if you want nothing to do with religion.
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Sorry, but this is disgusting. I could care less the reason this kid left.

    He plans to write a book about what he's done.
    He is heading home to continue the "Work he started"

    He has succeeded in having the spotlight placed squarely on him.

    West Point just let's him walk?, gives him an honorable discgarge?, and doesn't charge him a dime? Give me a break.

    Show me one student that could pull this and then tell whoever they received their student loans form that "Hey, can I just not pay you back...I kinda felt bad at school and want to quit"

    This kid should be on the hook for every dime, as should any cadet that thinks it's wise to make a political or religious statement by walking out the door and making a spectacle while doing it.

    So I guess we are stuck with the bill because WP decides they don't want a fight on their hands. Kind of Ironic.
     
  8. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    While I agree with your sentiment, it seems he was already being discharged because of chronic depression, then he chose to "quit"
     
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I guess that will make a compelling chapter in his book, if he's not to depressed to hit all the talk shows.
     
  10. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    In spite of being slightly to the right of Attilla the Hun, I say let this kid go, let him have a bunch of free college credits but no degree, and thank our lucky stars the Army called it right this time and gave him a discharge before he got commissioned.

    The fact he is getting a medical discharge says it all. Unless you have a friend or family member live with medically designated depression, you have no idea of the hell that the afflicted live in. Suicide, black abysses of despair, profound emptiness, hopeless and helpless feelings all grind a normal person into the cold ground. Words cannot describe the torment a truly medically depressed person feels. It is not just feeling bummed out----it is a debilitating disease that is the match of cancer. The Army said this guy was so mentally and emotionally damaged that they did not want him in front of troops and gave him a medical discharge. This kid's problem is not religion....it is a lot deeper than that. He has got a hard row to hoe ahead of him.

    That means anything he says or does has to be taken in the context of a mentally ill person. Let him go, you'll hear nothing about this ever again.

    What really should enrage every taxpayer is the guy who got commissioned and the Army let him play NFL ball. What a miscarriage of justice THAT was.
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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  12. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    There's come interesting cadet perspectives on this that we could all learn from. Apparently this has been discussion topic in the American Politics sections etc.

    Yes, the benedictions can get uncomfortable for the non-believers.

    In the same way, believers who have to put up with offensive language, jokes, etc from RA staff, Cadre, upperclassmen, etc.

    IE: it cuts both ways, there is no perfect system.

    USMA does try quite hard to make sure systematic bias does not occur and try for equal protection/opportunity.

    Even the cadet in question acknowledged that the Comm agreed with some of the concerns and committed to address them. Change can happen within the system.

    That said, there are still situations where equal protection does not result in "identical treatment".

    Real world Example: Cadets are allowed to miss certain mandatory formations & other events to attend religious services or similar.

    But the cadet not of that faith, or a non-believer does not get to miss those formations. Nor do they get alternate passes. IE: You can't get an exemption for a non-belief. "I should not have to go to evening formation because the Jewish/Islamic/Catholic cadets are able to miss theirs"

    Regarding clubs and funding:
    - Many clubs receive no funding

    - The USMA DCA clubs largely are "for" something.... golf, chorus, skeet, strategy games. To my knowledge, there are no "Anti" clubs. And not really any purely social or political clubs. I'm not aware of any protest clubs

    - I've been told that OCF receives no DCA funding and is self supporting. If I can find my DCA briefing notes I may be able to confirm that.

    All that said.... the consensus I see is that if the cadet really wanted to change things he just walked away from the best opportunity to do so. And by politicizing in this way, has probably done more to raise questions about motives and sincerity than it will trigger change.
     
  13. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Do WHAT? I agree with the prior poster that a clinically depressed person should be given some slack, but now he wants to make a living from complaining about the treatment of non-religious people in the military? Talk about tilting at windmills...
     
  14. NJDAD

    NJDAD Member

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    When I think about people who don't believe, forming a group to share their "non-belief" I can't help but picture a room full of people watching Seinfeld (the show about nothing).
     
  15. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    The sad part is that if he is truly clinically depressed, his treatment will be set back by the enablers who reinforce the notion that his troubles are someone else's fault. He'll come to grips with it when the speaking tour ends, the checks stop coming in, and the last of the unsold books are run through the shredder.

    The world is full of lonely, sometimes messed up or legitimately aggrieved people who are vulnerable to smarter and more conniving operators. They are eventually discarded like yesterday's garbage.

    The list is long and growing:

    Paula Jones
    Tawana Brawley
    Bradley Manning
    That Jerk who accused Bain Capital of killing his wife
    Gloria Allred's client list
     
  16. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    I'm waiting for someone to start the "I don't think West Point should make such a big deal about football" club.....

    Far more than religion at USMA, football:
    - consumes much more time & resources than other religions
    - Is not directly related to USMA or Army mission
    - has mandatory (worship) events even if non-believer, including the wearing of ritual clothing, ceremonies (pre-game parades), chanting, and physical acts of devotion & penance (Pushups for plebes??)
    - Indicating non-belief, or protesting forced attendence would result in negative repercussions. As would anything but full support
    - Members are held in high esteem, and potentially get special treatment, if not privileges
    - Much of USMA cadence & structure is centered around football. Certainly accommodates football.

    :eek: All of this is tongue in cheek.... I'm not anti Army football. I'll be cheering on Saturday!

    Just making the point that you can build a case like the protesting cadet on things other than organized religion.
     
  17. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    Move to academy/military news?

    MODS,
    Since this post is also being discussed on the general discussion side of the house, can we move it there?
     
  18. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

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    So believers shouldn't be able to practice their religion because non-believers don't get to miss formation?

    What annoys me the most about all this story is that this is not allowing religious freedom, but exactly the opposite. Why can't we have benediction before dinner? No one is forcing anyone to bow their heads and say amen. Just because some people don't believe in something that means we can't demonstrate our belief? Hah. It's not getting in their way.

    They feel a little unconfortable during prayers? Well, I feel a little unconfortable due to SO many things. But you don't see me ranting about it in the Internet, because I know I am not the only person here with particular sets of beliefs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  19. navygirl89

    navygirl89 Member

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    I think people need to be able to accept that at a place with so much tradition, a school that's been around for a really long time, religion is going to be part of the tradition and I'm fairly certain this ex-cadet who had been at the Academy for over 3 years new about this, so clearly he is just using the grounds that he is leaving anyway (due to medical issues) to complain about something he didn't like.
     
  20. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    You are preachin' to the choir... (Pun intended)

    Point being there is a natural tension between "Equal Protection" and "Religious Freedom" that is hard to resolve.

    Equal Treatment, in an attempt to avoid discrimination, can result in disparate impact.

    So USMA making allowances for cadets to practice their religion results in a disparate impact to cadets whose religious beliefs do not require that allowance. Or a cadet which does not practice a religion at all.

    And ultimately, a law or policy which is designed to protect an affirmative act does not apply well to those who have no desire to perform that act. Except for not being able to make them do it against their will.

    Which leads to situations like the Federal holidays. You are too young to have experienced this, but some religious dates were Federal holidays in the past (Good Friday, etc). But wait, if you allow one, you have to (under religious freedom & equal protection) allow all religious holidays. Which is not practical. So they were largely abolished in the US, or secularized into floating holidays and seasonal breaks.

    I'm not a constitutional expert. But I do know this area is one that is very difficult to reconcile. Organizations (private & public) work to find a compromise. But it is exactly that, a compromise, and some people will never accept that.
     

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