West Point Football Prayer

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by 5Day, Sep 8, 2016.

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  1. 5Day

    5Day Member

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  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Just do an internet search on Michael Weinstein.
     
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  3. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Why would it not be a violation? A representative of the government, in a position of authority, should not "ask" people to pray. It's inappropriate.
     
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  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    That's for the court to decide. We are entitled to our own opinions.
     
  5. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    So I watched the video and didn't see the part where he asked someone to pray or the prayer itself. But if he asked to join in prayer that means they had the right not to participate if they didn't want to. Also heard a couple of damns and hells in there. Anyone complain about that?
     
  6. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    See now, you're just speaking common sense. We don't apply that here.


    Semi-sarcastic replies aside (despite fully supporting this reply in particular), I understand the need for a chain of command to demonstrate respect for all subordinates' beliefs. That includes those that are made uncomfortable if they are not clearly given an "out" to not participate in events that may not be belong to their beliefs. The flip side though, of course, is that every individual has the right to their own beliefs and practicing them. You should not be insulted because the person next to you decided to pray (well unless they're praying for you to go to hell or something) because it does not fall into your beliefs. You're showing as much lack of open mindness and respect for their rights as you are claiming they are showing for yours. If there's a group that will perform better because they can adhere to their beliefs through something like prayer or long standing traditional words at formal events, and it impacts you by nothing more than a few minutes of your time standing patiently, why not allow it to happen?

    The issue comes when people do not believe they have or are not given the ability to opt out (i.e. peer pressure, direct command, etc.). Unfortunately this has happened in our military in the last decade, even if it just was out of perception, that has made instances like this an immediate red flag for organizations such as MRFF, in all of its glory, to seize on to bring attention to their views (which in some cases have not been met well in our military's history - compulsory chapel attendance until 1972 at USMA as an example). When this happens, prayer becomes divisive and exemplifies undue command pressure that has overstepped its bounds. That's a very real concern that military leaders need to be aware of and be careful not to cross.


    Knowing the Monkens personally, I feel pretty comfortable saying that this is not the case in the culture he has been building with the team. I have full faith that USMA and the Army will take the appropriate action to ensure all members of the West Point and Army community rights are not infringed upon. There's a real conversation to have here about cultural awareness for young leaders I appreciate. Do I respect the way that this has been brought about and the main proponent in the MRFF? Google MRFF, Weinstein, and Blake Paige, and maybe most people would understand my dislike for this particular organization and its methods.
     
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  7. New Kid

    New Kid Member

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    A head coach leading a collective, religious prayer seems like a clear-cut boundary being overstepped, especially if it immediately kicked up 6 complaints from team members.

    No one is arguing that the coach can't pray or that individual members of the team can't pray -- that's a red herring -- but the courts are fairly clear that individuals in positions of authority at public institutions should not lead explicitly religious activities in a collective environment. At least from the description in the Army Times article, this is a fairly straight-forward example of that.

    The coach's intentions may have been benign, but that doesn't make it okay.

    As a thought experiment: Would you be comfortable if the coach, in this closed environment and commanding attention and authority, had presumptively defaulted into a Pagan ritual invoking witchcraft and denying the existence of G-d?

    Might that reasonably make a participating student/solider uncomfortable? And what function would it serve?
     
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  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I had Chaplins of numerous denominations ask me to pray. I never thought it was against my Constitutional rights because they were not of my persuasion. He "asked" them not (ordered) them. Get a life and leave the room if you feel so uncomfortable. I wouldn't care if he invoked Odin or the Druids if we won.
     
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  9. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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  10. Ice64

    Ice64 Member

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    All coach Monken needs to do is have a player lead the prayer as he closes his part of the meeting. Nothing wrong with student lead prayer. Here in the liberal mecca of California, student lead prayer is fine. If my student leads a public prayer, then he always starts out with the innocuous "if you choose to now join me in prayer".
     
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  11. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Funny how some people feel so free to cherry pick the parts of the constitution they're willing to uphold and defend.
     
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  12. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    College age kids know they don't have to fully participate. I bet most of them were just going through the motions. Probably thinking about the cheerleaders.

    When someone says grace, should a non-believer cause a disruption, or get up and leave? (Kaepernick style)

    It's no big deal. Save the protesting for your right to go into the opposite gender's bathroom.
     
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  13. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    ...in full pads.
     
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  14. New Kid

    New Kid Member

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    It might not be a big deal to you, but you aren't the arbiter of what is and isn't okay when it comes to authority figures in public institutions invoking their religious beliefs. The courts are and this is a settled matter.

    As added context: I'm in a religious minority and I'm not at all bothered by common prayer personally. I have been in many, many situations where I was the lone non-Christian, there was a presumption of Christianity, we all prayed together as led by an authority figure (boss or teacher), and it was fine by me. This includes public school and public work environments in which officially it wasn't allowable. It's not something I'd choose to protest for my own reasons. But my personal inclination toward not caring -- or even finding it nice -- has exactly zero to do with this issue. Same with yours.

    If the issue is flagged, as it was, especially by people who were there in a subordinate position -- as appears to be the case -- it's a fool's errand to try to argue it on any rational or legal ground. The coach made a mistake.
     
  15. Wishful

    Wishful Parent

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    "Nothing to see here, move along..."
     
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  16. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    But this is not what the supreme court said was unconstitutional. It was not a bible reading. It was a celebration of winning a game the were not supposed to win. Could he have done it in a more denominational way, sure. Would he have been offended if players did share his religious views, I doubt it. He would have been offended if the players were not grateful for the win.

    Would I have lead a religious prayer for a hard fought win, no. But if someone else did I would listen, thank my own god, my parents, or coaches and moved on. It is just so blown out of proportion.
     
  17. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    To hear people talk about West Points "New" game seems like Navy should be the ones praying!
     
  18. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    There should have been a number of stop gaps to prevent the flash light shining on WP.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  19. New Kid

    New Kid Member

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    It's only drawn publicity because the athletics department chose to post the video. That athletics staffers didn't think about the potential response from some members of the community speaks more than a bit to the core point, which is the normative nature of authority figures leading Christian prayer in that environment. Frankly, they could've easily anticipated the responses they got before they posted it.
     
  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Reread my post, as I took no position on this matter, so you cannot say my "opinion does not trump the law." I have been this forum long enough to know what not to say.

    Anything is defensible and as far I as know Coach Monken did not make any statement concerning what his position is.

    From your previous posting "A representative of the government, in a position of authority, should not "ask" people to pray, " but I have been to a plenty of military ceremonies where a military chaplain ("a representative of government") that a Colonel ("a position of authority") ask people to pray. So there are some exceptions to the separation of religion and government. I am not a lawyer and I don't play one on the TV, but some of the questions that need to be answer are if Coach Monken or someone on his staff was acting as "a representative of government" and what "real" authority did they have, and any mitigating circumstances exist.

    The Abington School case is about a law requiring bible reading, not a coach asking football team to join a prayer.

    One more thing, he is innocent until proven guilty, so why apply the religious freedom so quickly but ignore the due process part.

    I suspect, in today's political correct world, Coach Monken will issue an apology and West Point will publish or update some sort of policy of prayer before and after activities.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016

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