Army Wants Cadet Who Resigned from West Point Due to Anti-Atheist Discrimination to Pay Up

The last time we heard about Blake Page, the president of the West Point Secular Student Alliance, he was resigning from West Point six months prior to graduation because he “could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets.”

Blake Page

At the time one of the bright sides to his leaving was this:

West Point has accepted Page’s resignation and given him an “honorable discharge,” which means he won’t have to pay the school for the cost of his education.

That was two months ago.

Now, the Pentagon — despite letting Page keep the “honorable discharge” — wants their money back, adding insult to injury:

The amount varies from one case to another. But the estimated cost of attending four years at West Point is estimated at $200,000-$250,000. The military could also order Page back to active duty.

Asked why [Superintendent of West Point Academy, Lt. Gen. David] Huntoon’s recommendations on Page’s behalf were rejected, [Army liaison Maj. Scott R.] Johnson said:

“We are an impartial third party. We review each individual packet… There’s merit to an organization such as the academy and a three-star general making a recommendation. But if it were always in their favor, there would be no reason for us to review the packets.”

Asked what will he do if the military sends him a bill for $200,000, [Page] responds: “File for bankruptcy, I guess.”

Unbelievable. The Army did nothing to stop the active proselytization and anti-atheist discrimination that was occurring under their watch, and when someone finally called them out on it, they punish him by making him pay for the tuition most other students would not have had to pay.

[Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey] Weinstein is threatening legal action.

“My message for the Army is they better be ready to face a whistleblower lawsuit,” he said. “If they are not going to fairly state why they are doing this, they can tell it to the 12 members of a federal jury.”

I’m glad Mikey’s defending Page, but it shouldn’t have to come to this. This is revenge on the Army’s part — they should be apologizing to Page, not making him pay for their indiscretions.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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