Navy Employee Told He Can’t Get Married in a Government Chapel Because He’s Not a Christian

Ensign Sean A. Cruz is an active-duty officer who graduated last year from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He likes the place so much that he asked for permission to get married there. To be precise, he would like to tie the knot in the Naval Academy’s Main Chapel:

U.S. Naval Academy Chapel (Image via Jeff Milsteen)

The Chapel’s wedding coordinator, Claire MacCallum, asked Cruz to submit an application, and eight weeks after he did, she turned him down. The reason? Cruz, his name notwithstanding, is not a Christian. He had told MacCallum that he had chosen Jason Torpy to do the ceremony; Torpy is the president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and a registered Humanist celebrant in Maryland (as well as an occasional contributor to this site). Cruz is also a MAAF member and a Humanist, so the request makes a lot of sense.

According to a letter (PDF) written to the Naval Academy by lawyers at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC) in Washington D.C., MacCallum notified Cruz over the phone that

… his application had been denied because it would be inappropriate to hold a non-religious wedding ceremony in the Chapel.

MacCallum appears to base her ukase on an official Navy “instruction” which says

“Christian weddings are celebrated in the Main Chapel by duly ordained and endorsed Christian Chaplains or clergy.”

Fine, but that’s a far cry from a policy forbidding non-Christians to get married there. Cruz’s lawyers reckon with the possibility that MacCallum simply didn’t interpret (or read) the rule carefully enough — which is a helluva lot nicer than accusing her of pettiness and/or bias. The AHLC’s position is that MacCallum’s nixing of Cruz’s request is a violation of both the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, and of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

Bill Burgess of the AHLC noted:

“Weddings performed by humanist celebrants are legal everywhere in the country, as are weddings performed by many other non-Christian officiants… There is no valid reason the U.S. Naval Academy’s chapel can’t be used by all of them.

We’ll keep you posted.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Craig

    “Government chapel”… Ugh.

    • Art_Vandelay

      Because it’s not enough that we have to bear the burden of all those churches not having to pay taxes. We also have to directly fund the building of churches. The 1st amendment weeps.

      • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

        To be fair, this was built quite a while ago, which probably accounts for both its existence and the heavy Christian iconography. I found this on a website about its history:

        “At the front of the chapel, over the altar area, is the stained glass window of Jesus walking on the water. This spectacular window was in the original Naval Academy Chapel built some time after the Naval Academy was founded in 1845, but was relocated to the current chapel in which construction began in 1904.”

        http://www.usna.edu/Chaplains/main_chapel.htm

    • C Peterson

      I don’t have a big problem with the existence of this chapel, since it is the product of a different time, when such things were accepted as normal. I see it as no different from old monuments on government property, which even with religious symbols aren’t necessarily a problem. We don’t have to tear down or hide our history.

      I would very much have a problem with any such chapel built today, however, unless it was without religious symbols and completely non-denominational. I’ll tolerate the symbols on old structures like the chapel here, but in usage the building should be non-denominational (which includes non-religious as well).

      • Art_Vandelay

        The problem is that the dominionists who’d like nothing more than to see this country turn into a Christian theocracy don’t look at it and say that it’s a product of a different time. They look at it and say, “See…I told you this country was built on Christian values…now let’s use more taxpayer money to drag us even further back into the dark ages.”

        • C Peterson

          Sad, but true.

      • Bernard Rieux

        I don’t have a big problem with the existence of this chapel, since it is the product of a different time, when such things were accepted as normal.

        JFYI, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868. The First was adopted in 1791. Meanwhile, construction on the chapel in question began in 1904. Exactly how could something that had been blatantly unconstitutional for more than 100 years be unproblematic because “such things were accepted as normal”?

        • EvolutionKills

          Good question, and it places military chapels right alongside military chaplains, government chaplains, our revised national motto that’s printed on our currency, inserting ‘god’ into the pledge of allegiance, and a slew of other violations. There is a difference between what is legal, what is just, and what is socially acceptable. The three do not all agree with each other at all times.

        • C Peterson

          It wasn’t blatantly unconstitutional in 1904, because constitutionality isn’t determined by the Constitution, but rather by the legal interpretation of the Constitution.

          It only appears unconstitutional in 1904 because we are viewing it from a 2013 perspective.

    • Mira

      Yeah I get what you mean but omfg the USAFA chapel is STUNNING. And it’s not just for Christians, either. They hold lots of different faith services there, and plenty of generic ones.
      I get the ugh though, trust me.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        It is beautiful. A lot of religious architecture is, just look at the old cathedrals in Europe!

        Unfortunately, that beauty is tarnished by a lot of the bullshit that religion has spawned.

        • EvolutionKills

          I still think the Large Hadron Collider could use some stone gargoyles and some stained glass to spruce the place up a bit. I mean, there’s just so much metal and wires! Nobody is ever going to want to get married there.. well maybe Michio Kaku, but I can’t think of anyone else… :P

          • John H

            I would, if I didn’t categorically object to marriage. :-P

  • Brad dayag

    The armed forces isnt the place to make this kind of statement. He and the rest of the MAAF can take this political statement and cram it.

    • 3lemenope

      Explain why. While you’re at it you should include your explanation as to why arguing for racial desegregation of the armed forces wasn’t also an illegitimate political statement which doesn’t have a place in the military.

    • Gus Snarp

      I didn’t realize this was a statement being made in the armed forces. I thought this was about someone attempting to use a religious test to limit the use of a government facility. That’s blatantly unconstitutional. If you are, in fact, a current or former soldier as your icon suggests, I’m a little disappointed that you don’t seem to understand what you’re actually fighting for. Maybe we should have a class in understanding the Constitution taught as part of basic training. Just as long as David Barton has nothing to do with it.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Your comment highlights the massive problem with this country: Seeing peoples’ rights as a Fucking political stance.

      • Brad dayag

        He’s in the Navy now, he doesn’t have the same “fucking” rights that civilians have. If he didnt figure this out in his four years at the Academy, God help those he commands.

        • GCT

          He still has the right to religious freedom, even in the military.

          • Brad dayag

            No one is imposing anything on him. He doesnt attend services at the chapel and is therefore barred from using it.

            • Spuddie

              Yes they are. They are denying him a privilege available to anyone else in the same situation.

            • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

              Requoting from the info I posted below:

              “Use of the Chapel for weddings is limited to Naval Academy alumni, military staff and faculty members; active-duty military members assigned to Naval Station Annapolis and active-duty military personnel living in the immediate vicinity of the Chapel who also regularly attend Chapel services.”

              Alumni are allowed to use the chapel. The fact that he doesn’t attend services is irrelevant, according to the info on their own website.

            • cary_w

              How do you know he doesn’t attend services? Would a Humanist be barred from attending a Christian service? That sounds pretty outrages! Would a Christian be barred from using the chapel for a wedding because they didn’t attend services at the chapel? Your argument make no sense!

            • GCT

              Actually, they are imposing on him. They are imposing unequal treatment by elevating Xians above him and treating him as a second class citizen. Again, he still has the right to religious freedom. Also, the government does not have the right to impose a religious stance upon him or to violate the establishment clause.

            • Sven2547

              He doesnt attend services at the chapel and is therefore barred from using it.

              So that’s the requirement? You can only marry at chapels you attend?

              You have so very, very little idea what you’re talking about.

            • Bdole

              Attendance? Do they take roll call at the chapel every Sunday in order to know who can or cannot get married there? What if you’re deployed elsewhere for long periods but want to get married at the chapel when you get back?
              Are you sure about the things you’re saying on this blog in general because it sounds like they’re not the result of research but of your personal bias. Just putting up an avatar doesn’t prove you know anything.

        • Spuddie

          At what point did the Navy become Christ’s Navy?

          If you are or were in the military, you are a fucking disgrace. He understood the nation he served better than you ever have. You are defending bullying, discrimination and sectarian hatred. Not the behavior we expect or would chose to defend from our government

        • Gus Snarp

          He actually does have the same rights when it comes to religion. His speech rights are curtailed a bit, his due process rights are altered a bit, but not his religious freedom.

        • 3lemenope

          So cite regulation or UCMJ that shows he doesn’t have this right.

          Go on, now.

        • Baby_Raptor

          I did 4 years in the Army. I’m aware of what rights go out the window and what rights don’t.

          His right to access government funded buildings despite his religion or lack-thereof? Not restricted.

          And why the scarequotes?

          • 3lemenope

            And why the scarequotes?

            Fucking is an abstract thing whenever you aren’t doing it?

            /snerk

        • JohnnieCanuck

          Imaginary gods don’t help anyone. Your imaginary God included. It’s certainly clear it isn’t helping you much with your arguments.

    • cary_w

      He’s not trying to make a statement, he’s trying to get married.

      I doubt he even considered the possibility of his use of the chapel being rejected when he asked to use it. A chapel, particularly a government chapel, implies use by all religions, so my question to you is, what other religions would you exclude? Some people don’t consider Mormons Christian, so would you exclude them? Would you forbid Jews from using the chapel? What about Muslims? Or Buddhists? The purpose of a military chapel is to provide a safe place for military personnel to pray or practice whatever religious ceremony is important to them. If its not open to everyone, regardless of faith, or lack of faith, then it’s a violation of sedation of church and state. It is absurd and discriminatory to have a government chapel be a Christians-only chapel.

      • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

        “I doubt he even considered the possibility of his use of the chapel being rejected when he asked to use it.”

        And why should he? According to this page:

        http://www.usna.edu/Chaplains/weddings.htm

        “Use of the Chapel for weddings is limited to Naval Academy alumni, military staff and faculty members; active-duty military members assigned to Naval Station Annapolis and active-duty military personnel living in the immediate vicinity of the Chapel who also regularly attend Chapel services.”

        I see no requirement on this page that the ceremony must be Christian. In fact it specifically mentions synogogues, implying that Jewish ceremonies are permissible. So why not a humanist one?

        • cary_w

          Exactly, this guy just wants to get married in a beautiful chapel that has personal meaning to him (since he is a recent alumni and current military officer), and he wants it to be officiated by a Humanist celebrant who is part of a Humanist group he belongs to, instead of some random Christian he has no ties to. I don’t see how he’s “making a statement” or “challenging church/state laws”, or being disrespectful to Christians or the chapel. He’s just trying to have a nice wedding, leave the poor guy alone!

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Well see, Brad dayag CAN’T leave him alone. If he left the guy alone, then he wouldn’t get pushback for his ignorant elitism. If Brad didn’t get pushback for his ignorant elitism, then he wouldn’t be able to flip his narcissism switch all the way over to “Faux Persecution” and power up his martyr pud.

      • Brad dayag

        “A chapel, particularly a government chapel, implies use by all religions, so my question to you is, what other religions would you exclude?”

        Are you arguing that atheism now qualifies as a religion? Thats quite an admission.

        • Spuddie

          Since when is religious belief a precondition to using government services to get married?

          The chapel is not a church, it is not owned by any given religious group and is paid for by our taxes and must respect the views of its citizens.

          • Japooh

            Thank you for pointing out the distinction between a “chapel” and a “church”.

        • GCT

          Atheism is protected as a religious viewpoint. Atheism is not a religion by itself, but it is protected as part of freedom of religion. Thought you were clever…you weren’t.

          • rtanen

            Think of it this way… plain is a pizza topping preference, but it isn’t a topping.

        • cary_w

          No, I’m arguing that Humanism is a recognized religion and that atheists should also be allowed to use chapel in similar ways that any other religious person might use it.

          • Brad dayag

            Recognized by who. Please be specific.

            • Spuddie

              Are you saying religions require official government endorsement?

              Have you ever read the 1st Amendment?

              • Brad dayag

                Recognized by who. Please be specific and stop dancing around the question because you cant answer it.

                • Nate Frein

                  First demonstrate why the question is germane in the first place.

                • Brad dayag

                  “No, I’m arguing that Humanism is a recognized religion and that atheists should also be allowed to use chapel in similar ways that any other religious person might use it.”

                  Follow along sweetie.

                • Nate Frein

                  Considering you can get it on your tombstone in arlington…

                  How about you keep up with the times?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  “Recognized” as in people and government are aware of it. Try to keep up instead of trying to derail things to camouflage the fact that you know you’re wrong, cupcake honeybunny.

                • GCT

                  Humanism is recognized as an official religion by the US Government.

                • cary_w

                  Do you have a citation for that? I couldn’t find it in two minutes of googling, so I gave up, but I’d love to see a list of official religion in the US, I didn’t think such a list existed.

                • GCT

                  I meant for the purposes of the military since there are no “official religions” in the US. They recognize all religions for which they have a symbol, and they include a humanist symbol in the military.

                • Buckley

                  Who recognizes any religion as such? People? It’s mythology to me so your point is rejected. Try another line of argument.

                • Spuddie

                  You are asking the wrong question to the wrong person. It doesn’t matter if a person has a religious faith or none at all. The chapel as a government entity must be available irregardless of such concerns.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  It’s “regardless”, FFS!

                  /peeve

                • Spuddie

                  Corrected. =)

                • JohnnieCanuck

                  Dogpile!

                  Sorry Spuddie, gotta join in to say that it should be ‘wrong question of the wrong person’. I feel bad about it, but I just can’t help it sometimes. FWIW, I liked your comments.

                • Nate Frein

                  What about when I want to ask to mother?

                • JohnnieCanuck

                  You lost me if I’m missing a joke in your reply. All I can think to say is that if you have a question for someone, then you would ask it ‘of’ them, not to them. On the other hand, you could put the question ‘to’ them, of course.

                • Nate Frein

                  ASK TO MOTHER was the command by which crew of the Nostromo made informational queries to the Nostromo’s computer.

                • Spuddie

                  No hard feelings.

                  The grammar police are killing me today! =)

                • JWH

                  Whom.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  IIRC, either is considered fine according to Strunk and White.

                • TCC

                  With apologies to Vampire Weekend: Who gives a fuck about what Strunk and White said?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  *listens* I have absolutely no fucking clue what that song is about. Which is great. *sticks it on the obscure lyrics playlist alongside Blinded By The Light*

                • randomfactor

                  Recognized by me, for one. By the US military for another.

            • TheBlackCat13

              “Recognized by who. Please be specific.”

              SCOTUS

            • cary_w

              Religious Humanist consider Humanism a religion. Who are you to tell them they are wrong? That’s the thing about religion, since they are all just made up by man anyway, there is no way to determine which ones are “true religions” and which ones are just a made up bunch of crap. Do you consider Momanism a religion? Scientology? Wicca?Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster? Where do you draw the line? If a humanists call themselves a religion, then they are. If an “Atheist Church” wants to be a religion, then it is, whether you, or I, agree with them or not. Until the government provides a list of “recognized religions” this is what we are all going to have to live with.

              And by the way, the VA has approved symbols for humanists and atheists on official military headstones, that seems like it at least gives them equal treatment to other religions.
              I’d post the link, but my iPad is freaking out again and refusing to copy and paste.

        • Baby_Raptor

          Atheism is granted the same protections as religion when it comes to the rights religions have.

          A few seconds of googling would have told you this, but you instead decided to go for a cheap potshot.

        • baal

          Being ‘free’ to do X also implies you’re free to do not-X.

          Let’s take hair styles. If you’re free to control your hair, that includes the right to cut all your hair off as well as the right to not do anything with it (bed head 24/7). If there were a law saying, any hair style except bald or bedhead, you’d be less free than if there wasn’t that law.

    • jferris

      Well, if the patch was rightfully earned by you, you should return it. See, when I served, it was made clear to me that I was to protect the rights of others, even if I did not agree with them. Seems you missed that part of your service. I suggest you change your avatar, you are disgracing real service members.

      • Brad dayag

        Return my patch … yeah, Ill get right on that.

        • Spuddie

          You certainly aren’t doing any favors for others who hold it.

          • Brad dayag

            I earned it with over a decade of deployments, come back and talk to me when you can say the same.

            • Spuddie

              Yet you are ignorant of the nation you served! You chose to crap all over the freedoms you swore to defend.

              What was the whole point of it then? Defending the nation against foreign enemies only to attack it from within.

            • Quintin van Zuijlen

              What took yo over a decade to earn you have shown not to deserve in under an hour.

            • William Dhalgren

              You are anti-American filth. I hope you get what you deserve.

              • RobMcCune

                You are anti-American filth.

                Says the guy who thinks people who he disagrees with should be killed. Fuck off.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Oh well hey, not killed at home, just dead in a ditch in a foreign land while family wait for his next phone call. SO much better.

        • Machintelligence

          I would like to disrespectfully suggest that your patch displays the wrong end of the horse.

    • Spuddie

      Why not!

      Do Christians have a monopoly on use of the military services? No.

      The only ones making a political statement here are the people denying the wedding service. They are saying that our religious freedoms are null and void. That all other beliefs besides Christianity are to be ignored and abused and that the nation is beholden to sectarian interests.

    • RobMcCune

      Why do you want to keep the members of our armed forces from getting married? Or do you just want to force them all to convert?

    • BenFromCA

      As a Navy veteran and atheist, all I can say is f#ck you, Brad, you pompous, self-righteous prig. Just because you believe bronze-age fairy tales conjured up by ignorant goat herders doesn’t mean I have to respect your faith (which, by definition, is belief in the absence of evidence). The rest of the world has grown up. Looks like it left you in the rear view mirror.

    • Sven2547

      Even assuming* that this is a “statement”, why not?

      * and this is an unfounded, speculative assumption

    • EvolutionKills

      Move along folks, nothing to see here, move along…

  • 3lemenope

    This is something of a similar piece to the bureaucratic SNAFU involving the conscientious objector who had her citizen status get hung up because her case officer never got the memo on how the c.o. rules apply to the non-religious.

    I expect this to get slapped down swiftly.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    Should there be a chapel at the US Naval Academy at all? But since there is one (and a very lovely one it is, too), why shouldn’t people of all other faiths and lack thereof be permitted to use this chapel? This seems like a problem with a very simple solution– let everyone use the chapel. Problem solved. I hope the Naval Academy sees it that way.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Yet another example of Christian’s self-inflated sense of deserving special privilege, even if *ALL* taxpayers (including non-christians) are footing the bill.

  • baal

    TYPO: “MacCallum appears to base her ukase on an official Navy “instruction” which says”
    Unless, “ukase” is a word I’m unfamiliar with.

    • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

      u·kase
      /yo͞oˈkās/

      Noun
      1. An edict of the Czarist Russian government.
      2. An arbitrary command.

      Synonyms: decree

      • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

        Cool. I have to admit that word is totally new to me. It’s always nice to expand one’s vocabulary:-).

      • velveteenRabbit

        learn something new every day! I thought it was a typo, too. Thanks!

      • meekinheritance

        I always use Linus’ technique.
        http://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/2011/11/02‎

  • Gus Snarp

    This case should be a slam dunk, right? Could there be a clearer violation of separation of Church and State? As long as one dime of my taxes is going to the support of that place, then there can be no religious test for its use for a wedding ceremony.

    • Art_Vandelay

      I don’t even understand why government chapels being a thing in the first place isn’t a violation of it.

      • Gus Snarp

        I’m OK with the chapel existing. I expect it’s a historic artifact of a different time, and I’m no fan of tearing down buildings just to make a point. Building a new one I would have a problem with. So we’ve got a chapel on government property, which means the government runs it. A little odd, but fine. As long as everyone gets to use it. You have to have some kind of standard approval process for events and the religious or non religious nature of that event cannot in any way be a factor. Seems pretty simple to me.

      • Brad dayag

        You would think that if military chapels were a violation of the Constitution they would have been banned from the founding of the Republic … funny thing is we have always had them.

        • Nate Frein

          We also used to have prayer in schools.

          And slavery.

        • Spuddie

          They would be if they are strictly limited in use to a specific faith, like Christianity. But they aren’t. Not supposed to be.

          Despite the mutterings of ignorant theocrats, separation of church and state is usually interpreted as inclusive of all faiths rather than exclusion. One does not have to ban, just keep the doors open as wide as possible.

          • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

            This one has some pretty strong Christian imagery:

            http://www.usna.edu/Chaplains/main_chapel.htm

            But it’s historic, and I’m sure no one wants to see it torn down. Simply making it available to people of all faiths and none is the best solution, I think.

            • Spuddie

              Christian imagery looks cool in a chapel. I would not begrudge that.

              But it has to be available to all faiths and none. That is what our 1st Amendment demands of government services like this.

              • Art_Vandelay

                Christian imagery looks cool in a chapel.

                Some of it can be a bit creepy…

                • Spuddie

                  Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the ground.

                • baal

                  Notice that the activity is being watch by the priest’s superior (purple legs) and that the superior has the blessing of the spirit (little circle think over his right shoulder).

                • b s

                  I think the circle is just the top of his staff although he does appear to have something over his head, could just be background.

                  I’ll look for a picture, but a church I went to in Providence RI had what I assumed was the holy spirit coming out of a dove but seriously looked like laser beams coming out of his ass.

                • b s

                  Sorry, Newport, not Providence.

                  http://stmarynewport.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/508612_195x400.11373641.jpg

                  Looking at it one way, the beams come out of his eyes, looking from a different perspective, the beams come out the other end

          • Brad dayag

            Are you saying there arent Muslim and Jewish chaplains?

            • Spuddie

              Evidently McCallum didn’t seem to notice their existence either since Cruz was denied the wedding because, he was not Christian.

        • Gus Snarp

          Yeah, no reason we shouldn’t learn and progress.

          The Constitution is, and always has been, open to interpretation by modern standards. Cruel and unusual punishment is a good example. Whippings, hangings, and being placed in the stocks in the public square to be pelted with fruit and worse in all weather used to be considered acceptable. Now they’re cruel and unusual punishment.

          It’s also true that just because the government violated the Constitution 200 years ago and no one fought it at the time does not mean it was not a violation.

          • Brad dayag

            “The Constitution is, and always has been, open to interpretation by modern standards. ”

            Then why not base our legal system off of common law? Your argument for the “living document” is weak.

            • Buckley

              The common law argument is what cowards hide behind when they are wanting to deprive others of their civil rights. Hey, it’s OK to persecute the gays here because it’s the common law in this county, state, etc.

            • 3lemenope

              Then why not base our legal system off of common law?

              Uh, we do. Read up on reception statutes and edify yourself.

            • TheBlackCat13

              “Then why not base our legal system off of common law? Your argument for the “living document” is weak.”

              Because they didn’t want people like you being able to curtail the freedoms of others.

            • Gus Snarp

              If it’s not, why not get rid of the Supreme Court? Your pathetic slippery slope fallacy is the definition of a “weak argument” and says nothing about my argument. There is no doubt that the how the Constitution has been applied has changed over time and began changing shortly after its ratification. That is the beauty of the damn thing. I mean, unless you actually think a bunch of rich, white, male slave owners over 230 years ago had any fucking clue how a government should be run in the 21st century. I’m sorry, but originalim is bullshit. It is utterly without merit because no one knows what the original intent was and the founders didn’t even agree on it.

            • JWH

              Then why not base our legal system off of common law?

              Actually, part of our legal system is based off common law.

            • EvolutionKills

              Your reading comprehension could use a bit of work, after you’re done ignoring 2/3 of his post.

        • Art_Vandelay

          Ha! I’d love to see you publicly defend some of the shit that the Constitution protected or that the founding fathers were apathetic about 200 years ago.

        • 3lemenope

          The US government did not have proper constitutional authority to buy the Louisiana Purchase, either.

          Sometimes people break the rules. If you’re arguing that that proves the rules never existed, why, that’s daft.

        • Artor

          You’d think that if keeping humans as property were a violation of the Constitution, it would have been banned from the founding, but somehow it took fourscore and seven years before that was corrected.
          Your “logic” fails badly. Try again later.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Huh. Did you know that the first voters were men with property only, though that quickly got dropped to white men with property?

          The passage of the 14th Amendment explicitly disenfranchised women (it pointedly refers to men, not people or citizens).

          Funny thing, the Constitution isn’t perfect, being as it was written two centuries ago.

          • Tobias2772

            Then imagine how much more screwed up the 2000 year old bible is.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              I … know that? I’m explicitly non-Abrahamic (agnostic atheist on all gods, but gnostic atheist on the Abrahamic ones) in part because that book is so awful.

            • Tobias2772

              Too bad we can’t amend the bible !

  • Baby_Raptor

    And then when he sues and inevitably wins, we’ll hear more whining from the Right about how persecuted they are.

  • Dekker Van Wyk

    Jesus-Tap-Dancing-Christ!!! You’d think with all the legal ass thumpings that Christians have gotten in similar situations, they wouldn’t pull shit like this anymore.

    • 3lemenope

      It’s a religion that (in its more unfortunate, literally taken versions) venerates masochism. It’s not surprising that they repeatedly get “thumped” by the powers-that-be. They seek it out.

      • EvolutionKills

        Plus, there’s that whole persecution complex a lot of them have going on. It’s funny how self-fulfilling that can become…

    • meekinheritance

      I agree, but we all live in our own bubbles, and think we know the world we live in. I expect it to continue until it makes the nightly news, instead of being mentioned, well, … not at all. But as long as people settle out of court, it won’t make the news. And even if it goes to court, who knows how often it will make headlines.

    • TheBlackCat13

      Why would they care? It’s not their money, it’s the taxpayers’ money.

      • Dekker Van Wyk

        Yeah that is the case in the U.S.A.

        Here in South Africa, if a government employee does something that causes the govt. to be sued through negligence on their part, they can in turn be sued by the govt. to repay at least a portion of the costs of the lawsuit that the state incurs.

        • wombat

          That’s not a bad idea. It would slow down some of the egregious stupidity that some functionaries produce.

  • Marisa Totten

    This is one I’m not sure I can be brought to understand. I appreciate many things surrounding the buildings we call churches, from their architectural achievements to the meticiulousness of the stained glass artwork found in many. Even though, to me, it’s just a building I wouldn’t have wanted to hold my wedding in one because I’m aware of the symbolic nature of the building to many.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      I can understand that. I’m not sure I’d want to get married in a church or a chapel with Christian imagery all around me, either. But our feelings on the matter are irrelevant. This particular guy wants to get married in this chapel, and apparently the iconography doesn’t bother him– so why shouldn’t it be permitted?

      • Marisa Totten

        I wasn’t speaking as to whether or not he should be permitted to marry there I was simply commenting on is desire, which I don’t understand. I personally feel religion has no place in the military, save the value an individual soldier may give to a particular belief; having religion represented by uniformed chaplains or religious buildings I feel is a Constitutional violation.

        • Nate Frein

          I’m with you. I think he should be able to get married there. Doesn’t stop me from questioning his taste.

          • Spuddie

            C’mon John Paul Jones is buried on the grounds. If I were in the Navy or in school to become part of it, I would find that cool.

            • Nate Frein

              Ehhhh. My father (retired CTIC) and me (retired military brat) just did a simultaneous “meh”.

              It’s nice, imposing, authoritarian architecture and decor. Very pretty, if you go in for that. I’ve gradually lost my taste for it.

              • Spuddie

                My father (retired Col., Army) would have gotten a kick out of it. He likes this sort of thing and is a history buff.

                I had my own wedding at a freaky big non-denominational chapel. It impressed the in-laws and gave me some nice photos. It made up for the chintzy reception being at an Officers Club buffet on an Air Force base.

                • Nate Frein

                  I remember getting a job as a bus boy at the Enlisted club. Well, one day there was a gas leak. No one worked that night…except for us two busboys. We were told to go to the Officer’s Club. Which didn’t use busboys (so we confused the hell out of the JN servers). As a side effect, I got to learn that the clubs were, quite simply, exactly the same. Except the servers wore prettier uniforms (and we looked like shit wearing our cheap purple busboy polo shirts).

                • Spuddie

                  I found the difference in quality with these things is more a function of the service and having largely to do with the age of the bases involved.

                  Army having the more decrepit bases tends to be the chintziest, Air Force with the most modern ones being nicest and the Navy a somewhere in between depending on where you are.

                • Nate Frein

                  This was on Misawa AB, if that gives you any context.

                • Spuddie

                  A much different context and perspective from my experiences. My father hadn’t been posted overseas since a good decade before I was born. I spent my military brat time entirely on domestic bases.

                  The closest I got to a foreign military base was the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo. My wife and parents did a trip to Japan 3 years ago.

                • Nate Frein

                  Hee, I joke that I was “made in Japan”. It was actually kind of weird. My father was Navy, but he was a CT, and the only Navy base I’ve lived on was the one where I was born (Atsugi). Between that and two tours to Misawa, I spent over ten years across the pond.

                  It’s a different way of growing up, that’s for sure. Can’t say I would wish it on any kid. People seem to forget that military kids didn’t choose that life the way their parents did.

  • newavocation

    Next thing you know there will be a secular gay wedding! Oh think of the shame and punishment by our Christian God.

  • randomfactor

    Why, I think the Academy just offered to pay for his wedding through the inevitable court settlement. How gracious of them.

  • Spuddie

    Oh, it was a lot worse than reported here.

    Evidently the academy is just itching to be sued over this.
    Jennifer Erickson, an academy spokeswoman, said:

    “The chapel contains permanent Christian architectural features that make it
    inappropriate for non-Christian or non-religious wedding ceremonies,”
    Erickson wrote in response to questions about the request. “For requests
    involving non-Christian and non-religious wedding ceremonies, the Naval Academy offers alternative venues, such as the non-denominational chapel and the Naval Academy Club.”

    The alternative venues do not have the same grandeur of the main chapel, whose large dome is a major part of the Maryland capital’s skyline. The chapel also stands on top of a crypt for John Paul Jones, who is known as the father of the U.S. Navy.
    http://www.chron.com/news/article/Group-seeks-humanist-wedding-in-USNA-s-main-chapel-4696218.php

    So the Naval Academy uses the “separate and vastly inferior” standard to weddings of those who are not Christian.

    • JWH

      Hmm … I actually wonder if this might have a bearing on the case. Racial discrimination and civil rights are distinct from Establishment Clause and Free Exercise jurisprudence … and I honestly don’t know enough about religious-law arcana to know whether offering the nondenominational chapel would be sufficient to meet the government’s obligations here.

      • Spuddie

        It makes the case for discrimination far more egregious than simply if it was on the basis of being “non-religious”. It appears that discrimination has been an ongoing policy and is purely sectarian in nature.

        They are not just discriminating against atheists, but against all minority faiths. The Naval Academy would probably want this settled ASAP.

        • JWH

          Spuddie: Do you know of a court case that’s on point on this? It’s an honest question. I know some of the basics about gov’t/religion entanglements, but I’m hardly familiar with all of Lemon’s progeny. If you’ve got something on point, I’d love to read it.

          • Spuddie

            I can’t think of any offhand, but I suggest you check out Oyez.org. http://www.oyez.org/tour

            Its an unofficial archive of SCOTUS media and a good jump off point for this sort of thing.

            • JWH

              Sorry about the double post. I didn’t think my prior comment took.

              • Brian Westley

                There was a case in 1998 where an Air Force Academy graduate wanted to get married in the AFA chapel but was denied because it would be a traditional Hawaiian ceremony. I can’t find an article on it but this interview with Mikey Weinstein mentions it:

                http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/mikeys-mission/Content?oid=1132893

                I don’t know if these was a lawsuit or not.

        • JWH

          Do you have an on-point case? I’d honestly like to read it over if you do.

          • Spuddie

            See my comment below from Oyez.org

  • JWH

    Random thoughts:

    1) I see nothing wrong with chapels like the ones at the USNA. Military bases aren’t just government properties. They’re also communities where service members and their families work, live, eat, sleep, and play. Just as a military base hosts schools, recreational facilities, and shopping venues, I see nothing wrong with constructing buildings where those individuals may freely exercise their religious rights, provided facilities are available to all in the community regardless of their religious persuasion.

    (Example from the 1990s: Fort Hood accommodated a coven of Wiccan soldiers by giving them a campsite where they could hold rituals)

    2) From what I’ve seen, I don’t think the Naval Academy was right to turn down Cruz’s request to hold his ceremony in the chapel. At first blush, it seems to me that since the chapel is a military facility, presumably available to members of all religious faiths, it ought to be available to Cruz.

    3) We should be grateful to Brad Dayag’s service to his country. But his status as a veteran does not give him authority or special knowledge about the First Amendment.

    • Buckley

      I agree with all but three. I will not be grateful to anyone who has served the country just because they served the country. I will not substitute one god for a worship of military service. I will especially not be grateful for an individual who thinks he is defending his rights at the expense of others. My grandfather is the person whom I am most indebted to this line of thought. He served in WWII and Korea and never once thought “hey, honor me!” like some do today. All he ever said was that he thought what he was doing was right and that anybody else would do. That doesn’t require gratitude, all it requires is a pat on the back and thanks.

      • Nate Frein

        For me, the simple fact is that the targets of the U.S. government’s military and intelligence for the last decade (if not longer) are simply not the enemies of the American people. The military has long stopped serving it’s “country”.

        • 3lemenope

          This is why my grandfather, a WWII vet, called me on my 18th birthday to tell me all the reasons I shouldn’t join up.

        • Stev84

          The US military is a state within a state, being allowed almost complete autonomy in everything. Just take the recent hoopla about taking sexual assault prosecutions out of the chain of command. The generals immediately circled the wagons to preserve their power and privileges and many politicians immediately caved in, because whatever the generals say goes.

      • JWH

        I have a relative who served in Vietnam. He doesn’t go around saying “Honor me,” but he does appreciate it when people acknowledge his service. He also taught me a lot about respecting other people’s rights.

        • Buckley

          OK, I’m too young for the Vietnam analogy, so I will use Iraq. I never wanted anyone to go to Iraq to “fight” for my liberties. My liberties were not at stake in Iraq, therefore I am not grateful that someone went to a foreign country in my name as an American to kill and destroy. So, because I disagree with the reasons they went to war there, I feel no compulsion to be grateful. Now, I’m not going around and picking verbal fights with vets because I disagree with their service, but I’m not going to go out of my way to thank them for something that I disagree with them about. Afghanistan, now that’s a different matter. As for the Vietnam vets, many were drafted or coerced by family members to do their patriotic best. For them and others they have my sympathy, but not my gratitude. There are other vets who get my gratitude…WWII, Civil War (Union), Afghanistan, American Revolution…

          • GCT

            The soldiers serving weren’t the ones who issued the orders to go to Iraq. That would be the President and higher up military commanders.

            • Buckley

              But unlike in past times, each and every one of these soldiers. etc. chose to sign up. No one forced them. One cannot use the argument that they had no idea that they could be sent to war, that’s naive. They all made that choice willingly.

              • GCT

                Just because someone chose to sign up doesn’t mean that their choice is born of some evil intent.

            • Nate Frein

              Anyone joining the military or re-upping knows exactly what they’re going into, or else they’ve allowed themselves to remain entirely ignorant of our government’s actions. Neither action is morally defensible.

              “I was just following orders” worked for German soldiers in WWII because they weren’t necessarily Nazis, they didn’t generally have a choice, and the war itself lasted less then half the length of our War On Terror.

              With today’s access to information and the clear violations perpetrated by the military and intelligence communities against not just multiple nations but American citizens themselves, anyone choosing to join the military can and should be held accountable for that choice.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                As an example, I don’t consider an inner-city kid from Detroit who bucked the odds by not getting killed or imprisoned and who graduated high school by a hair, looking to get out of there before he DOES get shot or arrested, and hoping to earn even a tiny paycheck for himself and probably his family, to be greatly accountable when charismatic, trained recruiters convince him to walk into the meat grinder.

                • Nate Frein

                  Sure, there’s nuance. I dislike despise the predatory recruitment tactics. I’m happy for anyone who manages to crawl up from a shit situation. But I lose sympathy for this hypothetical kid every time he chooses to re-up (and doesn’t simply get his contract extended). I damn well don’t see how I should feel grateful to him. And if he tries to lord his service over me, I damn well don’t have a problem asking him to justify his actions.

                • GCT

                  No one should lord their service over you. You should also not automatically have contempt for people who join the military, since you don’t know that any of them joined in order to do evil. Many of them join because of financial situations (and re-up due to a shitty economy) while others do so out of patriotic duty. Many who signed up after 9/11 did so not to go into a false situation in Iraq, but to defend the country, however misplaced you might think their ideas are. True, some might have joined in order to go kill some “towel heads” but that’s hardly justification for sweeping generalizations.

                • Nate Frein

                  You should also not automatically have contempt for people who join the military, since you don’t know that any of them joined in order to do evil.

                  Contempt? No, not really. Don’t mistake my lack of reverence for “contempt”.

                  Ignorance only mitigates responsibility when harm is involved. It does not entirely erase responsibility. Intent is not magic. That they do not “intend” to do evil doesn’t change the evil they help perpetrate.

                  Many of them join because of financial situations (and re-up due to a shitty economy)

                  People do lots of things for money. Does that absolve them of being held accountable for what they choose to do?

                  while others do so out of patriotic duty.

                  Intent isn’t magic. I don’t care how patriotic you are, what the government is doing with the military subverts everything we’re supposed to be standing for, joining the military doesn’t boost your “patriot” cred for me. Don’t feed me this sense of “duty” crap. People murder out of “duty”. “Duty” is just as capable of being twisted into a buzzword to excuse atrocities as any other nationalistic concept. In the end, the individual must answer for what he or she chose to do out of “duty”.

                • GCT

                  Contempt? No, not really. Don’t mistake my lack of reverence for “contempt”.

                  You’re certainly coming across that way. I’ll accept your word that it’s not intentional.

                  That they do not “intend” to do evil doesn’t change the evil they help perpetrate.

                  Most military members (at least before Iraq) weren’t doing much in the way of perpetrating evil. And, I would extend that to now as well, although the amount of bad deeds always goes up during times of conflict/war/whatever.

                  Is it really immoral simply to join the military? Should all people up and quit right now? If that’s not what you’re saying, then please clarify.

                  People do lots of things for money. Does that absolve them of being held accountable for what they choose to do?

                  And, they can hold a job in the military doing things that are most likely not immoral or live (or die) on the streets. When your choices are that bare, the military looks pretty good.

                  Intent isn’t magic.

                  Agreed and I didn’t mean to imply that it is. My point was that some member may be going into service in order to kill some Arabs and get their aggressions out on foreign peoples, but not all. Some people actually join because they want to protect the country. I’m not saying that going to war in Iraq was a way of protecting the country in any way, but that was not part of the equation for many people who signed up either. Yes, the US undertakes actions that are morally bankrupt and we thrust our military into those. We also sometimes go into situations and help, however. And, if everyone were to protest and refuse to serve, we would have no military at all, and I’m not sure that the world is ready for that, much as we’d both like it to be.

                  Don’t feed me this sense of “duty” crap.

                  It is crap, but it’s crap that many people believe strongly in. When they enlist, they aren’t doing it to be evil and attack others, they are doing it because they actually feel they are protecting the country. Intent is not magic, but it’s also not invisible.

          • Blacksheep

            Wait – so you feel no gratitude to soldiers who risked their lives in Iraq (following orders) but you do feel gratitude to soldiers who risked their lives in Afghanistan (also had no choice in where they were deployed)?
            History is not so clean. The Civil war? You mean the part where the northern armies burned everything in sight even after they had won, on their way home?

            better to feel gratitude to soldiers who defend your country than pick and choose which particular war / battle / skirmish whose veterans you personally decide to bestow gratitude upon.

            • Buckley

              Yes. That’s how I feel. I’m glad the northern armies laid waste to the secessionists who wanted to maintain slavery, there is always a price to be paid when people willingly subjugate humans. I think the Germans learned their lesson after Germany was laid to waste.

              I do not think it better to feel gratitude just because they “defend our country”. That’s the point I’m trying to make, in Iraq they were NOT defending our country. I will not worship at the alter of soldier, sorry. When enlistments run out, you get out or you risk being identified with the policies of the government.

              • GCT

                Soldiers A and B both enlisted at the same time. Soldier A was sent to Iraq while Soldier B was sent to Afghanistan. Neither had a choice in where they were deployed. Soldier A is now persona non grata to you, while Soldier B is worthy of gratitude. You don’t see any potential issue with that? And, we haven’t even taken into account the actions undertaken by the Soldiers while in theater.

                Going to Iraq was not in defense of our country, but again, the individual soldiers weren’t the ones making that choice. Should they have rebelled and refused to go? Maybe, but it’s hard to blanket fault them. Regardless, no one (except the person who started this whole sidebar) is asking you to worship at the altar of the soldier. What we are asking you to do is to consider that there are more factors than you seem to notice and that blanket condemnation of the soldiers that weren’t lucky enough to be deployed to a theater that you approve of is probably not fair.

            • Nate Frein

              Industrial war required sharing infrastructure with the civilian population, which necessitated the targeting of infrastructure by the opposing army.

              The Union Army was fighting to preserve the Union. That necessitated (among other things) targeting the fields used to feed the Confederate Army and destroying the rail system that supplied the Confederate Army.

              In the hundred and forty years since the Civil War, technologies have managed to improve a little. We are not facing standing armies. Even when our war is somewhat justified, like Afghanistan, we failed to engage in any productive way.

              Further, all of this is meaningless if the reason for the war is fabricated to begin with. We’ve known the reasons for invading Iraq were trumped up for almost a decade. Re-upping or enlisting now almost guarantees supporting the war in Iraq. So choosing to do so means supporting a war we know to be false.

    • Sven2547

      What is wrong with you?

    • RobMcCune

      Fuck off Fred Phelps.

  • JA

    Anyone familiar with military instruction (my experience is with AFIs, AFMANs, etc) knows that the line is open to interpretation; it does NOT say a humanist cannot perform the ceremony, nor that non-Christians cannot get married in the chapel, all it states is that a Christian minister will oversee a Christian wedding. And since Cruz is a non-Christian requesting a non-Christian minister to oversee his wedding, there should not be a problem getting the denial overturned.

    • Spuddie

      But the Navy Academy spokespeople have actually said the chapel is only available to Christan weddings. All other faiths are to seek “non-denominational or alternative venues”
      This is really bad. Its not Naval Academy Chapel vs. Humanist. It is them against anyone not Christian.

      • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

        “But the Navy Academy spokespeople have actually said the chapel is only available to Christan weddings. All other faiths are to seek “non-denominational or alternative venues”

        If that’s the case, I’d love to know why their own website info about weddings at the chapel says this:

        “In most cases, pre-marriage counseling for couples residing outside the immediate vicinity of Annapolis should be arranged by the individual couple at their local chapel or synagogue (a certificate of completion will be required).”

        http://www.usna.edu/Chaplains/weddings.htm

        Are there Christian synogogues? If not, it frankly sounds to me like they’ve just invented a “rule” where one previously did not exist. Or maybe they just shunt Jewish couples over into the other, less-impressive chapels.

        • Spuddie

          Pretty much an “invented rule”. Either a longstanding discriminatory tradition or something which suddenly became a “tradition” and will have a retconned history to show, “its always been that way”.

          I was quoting the spokesperson for the Naval Academy Chapel.
          http://www.chron.com/news/article/Group-seeks-humanist-wedding-in-USNA-s-main-chapel-4696218.php

          Unfortunately we are seeing an incursion of sectarian stupidity creeping into our military, especially the military academies.

      • JA

        If that “Christians Only” rule isn’t in an approved supplement to the military instruction for that facility, then it has no power and cannot be enforced.

        • Spuddie

          But it is obviously a regular practice. Discrimination need not be explicitly stated or written down to exist as a policy.

          The spokesperson remarks are an admission that the discriminatory policy exists, even if it is illegal and allegedly unsanctioned by the Academy officials. Which is why any kind of lawsuit would not bode well for the Naval Academy here.

        • Nate Frein

          This wouldn’t be the first time someone tried to defend an indefensible practice.

  • rwlawoffice

    So an atheist is threatening a lawsuit because he wants to get married in a Christian church. I thought this would never happen according to everyone here who says that churches would never be forced to perform services that they did not agree with.

    Before you say it- yes I know this church is on the Navel Academy grounds and that does raise issues that would not be on private property, however the intent behind this request is what is important. According to the referenced letter, there was an offer of other buildings at the Naval Academy that could be used for a civil ceremony, including an “all faith” chapel but these were rejected by the non Christian who is insisting that he have a non religious ceremony in a religious building. A very jerk move with a nefarious intent.

    • randomfactor

      Easy way to screw up his nefarious plans: Let him get married in the chapel.

      THAT’ll fix him.

    • Nate Frein

      That the building was originally a christian church is meaningless. If it is owned and maintained by the government, then it is a government building and should be available to all.

      Your snide “intent” comment isn’t germane. The sailor’s “intent” is to get married in a place that holds meaning for him as a USNA alumnus.

    • Spuddie

      If you were keeping up, the Naval Academy chapel has been discriminating against all faiths other than Christianity when it comes to weddings. It is not just against a Humanist.

      It is not a church and it is not on private property. It is a chapel. There is a big difference. A chapel by its nature is not intended to be beholden to any given faith or sect. It is meant to be open for use by all beliefs.

      It is a government facility open to academy students and alumni. As a government facility, it is not to have ANY kind of qualification for use having to do with religion. Establishment Clause anyone?

      ” there was an offer of other buildings at the Naval Academy that could
      be used for a civil ceremony….”

      Separate but equal?

      No. Not even that.

      Try separate but crappy. An alternative for people to be treated like second class citizens based on their faith. The other facilities are vastly inferior in nature and do not carry the same cultural weight as the Chapel to Naval officers.

      So you are saying you have no problem with a government facility openly and blatantly discriminating against anyone other than Christians. So Free Exercise of religion only counts when its Christian exercise?

      • Rwlawoffice

        Never said that at all. I said that an atheist threatening a lawsuit because he has been refused a wedding in a religious building is is a jerky move and has what looks like a nefarious motive. Nothing more. The letter does not say it but i am curious if he had ever been in that building before and I wonder how important a religious building would be to an atheist. I have visited the Naval Academy and it is a beautiful place with several beautiful and I am sure meaningful buildings. Why this one other than to make a point not related to the wedding. Speculation of course but I’m curious.

        • cary_w

          “Why this one other than to make a point not related to the wedding.”

          Why this one? BECAUSE IT’S A CHAPEL!!! What? Do you think he should get married in a classroom building? A chapel is made to accommodate things like weddings, other buildings are not! That’s what you do in chapels! You have weddings!

          I’m just speculating here too, but I think he just wants to get married in a beautiful and meaningful building that has been a part of his life all through his schooling, and is the same place some of his peers were allowed to get married, and was shocked that his request was refused. And now he’s bitter and angry because he has been denied the use of a government building based solely on his religion. If that happened to you, you’d be bitter and angry too.

        • EvolutionKills

          Funny how your go-to presumption is ‘deceptive plot by evil atheist’ and not ‘a violation of the Constitution’s 1st and 14th Amendments’.

          ‘Separate but Equal’ was bullshit back during the Jim Crow laws before the Civil Right’s movement, and it’s still bullshit now. The context is different, but the principle is the same. It doesn’t matter if he is an atheist, buddhist, muslim, any other faith, or none; this would still be a violation of his Constitutionally protected rights.

          The jerk move isn’t coming from the one having their rights violated, it’s coming from the ones doing the violating. For fuck’s sake, religious people can partake in some tiring mental gymnastics to delude themselves…

        • Spuddie

          You are full of crap. You are trying to weasel your way out of what were spiteful ignorant remarks.

          You compounded the idiocy by claiming the Chapel is some equivalent to a church. It isn’t. Its function and purpose is not the same.

          Of course the kicker was ignoring the part where the loose lipped spokesperson said it was only available for Christian weddings. What makes you even more of a dishonest piece of crap is you continue to defend the Chapel’s position after such a blatantly discriminatory admission.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      So you support “separate yet equal”*. Yet more evidence for that one consequence of your arguments that you keep claiming magically doesn’t exist.

      It’s a chapel, not a church. Jesus Christ.

      It’s funny how you make insincere complaints and then in the next paragraph admit that they’re not sincere complaints, but that you’re “right anyway” because you, as a Christian, can read peoples’ minds, and your sorcerer’s powers somehow ethically negate the Constitution. Your whole post might as well have read, “The Constitution should only apply to members of my tribe, because other tribes are mean when they insist it applies to them also.”

      *Which in this, as in all cases, actually turns out to NOT be equal.

      EDIT: Took out the word “moron” because I’m trying to be nicer. …Stop laughing!

    • RobMcCune

      It’s a facility provided by the Navy for the needs of the people serving there, denying people access on the sole basis of religion is discrimination. You’re not trying to argue that the Navy established it’s own church are you?

      • rwlawoffice

        It is provided for the needs of the Christian people in the Navy, just like there are other facilities and chaplains that provide for the needs of other faiths. There are several Navy bases that have Mosques which I have no problem with. There are Muslims in the Navy who need places to worship where they are stationed. Just because you enter the military you don’t leave your faith at home.

        http://www.paklinks.com/gs/religion-and-scripture/72204-first-muslim-chaplain-in-us-navy.html

        • GCT

          Separate but equal has never worked and is unconstitutional. Further, the Naval Academy chapel is not officially Xian by their own documents, nor can it be by law. Try again.

        • Spuddie

          It is provided for the needs of the entire Academy. There is no Christian church which claims control of the chapel. It is discriminatory to exclude any student or alum from using it for a wedding.

          So you are defending separate but equal?

          Shall we get your robes and hood from the dry cleaner now?

        • RobMcCune

          It is provided for the needs of the Christian people in the Navy, just like there are other facilities and chaplains that provide for the needs of other faiths.

          Even if that were so, why does the existence of these facilities mandate segregation along religious lines? That’s the problem, a legitimate use of the facility is being denied based on religious discrimination.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Actually, the regulations quoted state that it is used for religious ceremonies, not only Christian ones. The atheist wants a secular ceremony there. That is not the purpose of the Chapel. Nothing unconstitutional about that and sorry the atheist doesn’t always get his way. It would be like me wanting to go to the Smithsonian to have my religious wedding. Govt. could legitimately tell me no- that is no the purpose of this building.

            • baal

              The Smithsonian is not a comparable example. That’s an art Museum with a curated collection. If the Smithsonian had a gallery set aside for explicitly religious art that did a random drawing for slots, you’d have to allow all religions and explictly atheist art there. You could not set aside a public space for just christians in the Smithsonian or give the main display space to one denomination of christianity and require all other religions to group up in the shed out back.

              The atheists want to use the ceremonial marriage space for holding a marriage ceremony. The army cannot explicitly discriminate on the basis of religion.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Are you seriously claiming to be unaware that atheism enjoys the same status as a religion for legal purposes in the Untied States?

              Really, RW?

              Really?

    • Gus Snarp

      It’s not a church, it’s a chapel. Can you tell me what church body owns the USNA Chapel? No, you can’t, because we own it. This has no bearing on what happens in actual churches and you know it, you tendentious blowhard.

      • Rwlawoffice

        For those of you who make the distinction between a church and a chapel, here is the definition:

        chap·el

        [ chápp'l ]

        separate area of church: a separate area in a Christian church, having its own altar and intended for private prayer

        room
        for Christian worship: a place in a hospital, prison, or other
        institution, or in a large house, consecrated for Christian worship

        Protestant church: a place of worship used by a nonestablished Protestant denomination such as the Methodists or Baptists

        • RobMcCune

          So you believe the government has established a church? On top of that you’re not only o.k. with it, you actually defend it discriminating?

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Is that really surprising?

            • RobMcCune

              You mean that he actually admitted it?

              eh… kinda.

          • rwlawoffice

            No I don’t believe that the government established a church. I believe that the government provided a chapel that is used for Christian ceremonies. There is a difference. It services the men and women of the navy who are Christian. Just as the Navy has chaplains and other areas of worship that serve other religions as well. It is part of providing for the needs of those in the Navy.

            • Brian Westley

              I believe that the government provided a chapel that is used for Christian ceremonies.

              Well brainpan, that’s unconstitutional on its face. Thanks for losing.

              It services the men and women of the navy who are Christian. Just as the Navy has chaplains and other areas of worship that serve other religions as well.

              All US military chaplains are required to serve ALL soldiers, not just the one who are the same faith as themselves. Just as all government chapels are available to ALL soldiers.

            • RobMcCune

              And performing a wedding (if appropriately scheduled) go against it’s stated purpose? The chapel will still be a chapel after the wedding. It’s a stretch to say that the chapels purpose mandates it to be exclusionary.

            • baal

              The us federal government may not set up a church for use by one sect only. That would be the essence of the definition of an establishment of religion. They’d have to create a new building for about the same cost for all commers for that to be even remotely legal.

        • cary_w

          And Webster’s also adds:

          a : a place of worship serving a residence or institution

          I think that’s what applies in this case, with the “institution” being the Navel Academy. It’s certainly not serving the academy very well if some members of the academy are not allowed to use it!

          • rwlawoffice

            So we agree that a chapel is a place of worship that may or may not be attached to a church. And this guy wants to hold a non religious ceremony in a place of worship. He is told no because it would be inappropriate to hold a non religious service in a place of worship. In my opinion, you want a secular wedding you should use a secular building.

            • cary_w

              Right… So you are saying the Christians shouldn’t be having weddings there either because a wedding isn’t “worship”?

            • baal

              If there is a pretty building on base that fits the wedding ceremony why not use it? This case is so far from a regular church owned and operated by a religious institution that it’s laughable to suggest this is the camel’s nose under the tent.

              Slippery slope arguments are terrible unless you can show that there is a slope, it’s slippery, and it doesn’t have door’s and thresholds on top of it.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          How convenient that you skipped the parts of the definition that you knew actually applied. Annnnd you’re back to being a liar.

          • rwlawoffice

            Didn’t skip anything at all. Three definitions were given and I posted them all. But nice try attempting to call me a liar again.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Yeah, I really shouldn’t bother. After all, you’ve demonstrated it before Jesus enough times. The Book of Life certainly has notes on it.

    • Gus Snarp

      You think there’s some legal basis for considering his intent? How about a legal basis for a government building excluding use by non-Christians. Where’s the secular purpose for that? Blocking the use of the chapel by non-Christians clearly violates Lemon. You claim to be a lawyer. I’ve seen some pretty weak legal reasoning come from you in comments here, but any lawyer who thinks there’s any way to defend the Chaplain’s decision here legally ought to be disbarred for giving substandard legal advice.

      • JWH

        My own experience is that lawyers use the word “clearly” when something really isn’t that clear.

        This is somewhat complicated from where I sit. I think you can argue persuasively that if USNA opens its facilities to Christian weddings by students, alumni, etc., it must open its facilities to weddings of all faiths, including those without a faith.

        But is it permitted to limit the Christian chapel to Christian weddings only? Of that … I’m not certain. My first impression was that Cruz was 100 percent in the right, but I’m not so sure now. Does USNA meet its First Amendment obligations by making alternate venues available? I really don’t know, and at the moment, I don’t have the resources to Shepardize Lemon and find out.

        • Gus Snarp

          I don’t see how there can be any question about use of a government facility being restricted based on religion.

        • Spuddie

          Who Shepardizes anymore? Its all online database hunting these days. =)

          With a quick glance, I found a good discussion on the Lemon test with:
          American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation, Inc. v. DeWeese (United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.February 2, 2011633 F.3d 424)
          http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/09-26-DeWeese-opinion-below.pdf

          • JWH

            OK, fine, KeyCite if you use WestLaw. But you’ve got a paralegal for that, don’t you?

            • Spuddie

              I am just teasing. Nope. I do all the research myself. My boss is cheap.

              My old firm was even cheaper. They used law students as paralegals in order to could glom off the free Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis student accounts.

              • JWH

                They used law students as paralegals in order to could glom off the free Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis student accounts.

                Ah. Inducing students to breach their contracts with WestLaw and Lexis/Nexis. Way to start baby lawyers down the path to the Ethics Committee hearing.

                • Spuddie

                  Less inducement and more “I won’t tell if you won’t”.

                  The students benefited as well since the companies have “frequent user rewards” systems where you accrue points for doing research and can get free junk and enter in a sweepstakes to win cash. In any event it is not a regular practice among law firms.

                • JWH

                  Still, it’s not a great behavior to encourage, if you ask me. Still, I suspect WestLaw and LexisNexis wouldn’t object too hard. It helps get the students addicted to their services before they become practicing attorneys.

                  Wait until they get into REAL LAW PRACTICE (TM) — discovery, making binders, discovery, and more binders.

                  Beyond that, I’m surprised how much of legal practice consists of just talking to people (esp. other lawyers) on the phone.

                • Spuddie

                  I agree completely.

                  Its also usually a sign to find another job. If a place is too cheap to provide basic tools for its paralegals, imagine how they are to the attorneys.

                • JWH

                  Getting back to the topic (ahem). I did read over (at least a good chunk of) you cite for a discussion of Lemon. I’m honestly not a huge fan of Lemon, as the prongs seem pretty subjective. Not to mention that every court from the Supremes downward hates Lemon even as they apply it.

                  As to this case … hmm …

                  I think it’s worth noting that Cruz doesn’t challenge the existence of the Christian chapel. Rather, he protests the decision to exclude him from the use of the Christian chapel for his non-Christian service.

                  Let me throw a hypo at you.

                  Let’s say that Fort Smith is a military base. Soldiers on this base are majority Christian, but there is a significant Jewish population among the soldiers. Fort Smith is home to a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, and a nondenominational chapel. The church and the synagogue worth both financed partly through donations by soldiers from their respective religions, and the nondenominational chapel was built at government expense.

                  All of the facilities are staffed by members of the US Army chaplain corps. As a group, the chaplains provide spiritual counseling and social assistance to service members regardless of the service members’ religion. However, each chaplain officiates only ceremonies that fall within his religion (e.g., a Jewish chaplain will happily counsel a Christian soldier who comes to him for advice about combat stress, but the Jewish chaplain would not serve as minister at a Christian baptism for the Christian soldier’s child).

                  Paul Plaintiff, a soldier living at Fort Smith, is a Roman Catholic. He plans to marry soon. He is very religiously devout. He wants a Catholic priest to officiate at his ceremony. He also wishes his ceremony to include Mass and Communion.

                  Paul Plaintiff examines the nondenominational chapel, the Christian church, and the Jewish synagogue on Fort Smith. He decides that the Jewish synagogue is the most visually pleasing of the three. He then asks to have his Christian wedding in the base’s Jewish synagogue. Citing regulations that reserve the synagogue for Jewish religious ceremonies, Fort Smith turns down his request.

                  Paul Plaintiff sues, alleging that Fort Smith a) discriminated against him based on his religion, b) violated the Establishment Clause by creating an on-base synagogue in the first place; and c) interfered with his Free Exercise rights by refusing to allow his marriage in the Jewish synagogue.

                  Will Paul Plaintiff prevail on his claims?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Iffy. Remember that the chapel isn’t a church; it’s a nondenominational holy ground that has some Christian symbology in it, but it’s not a church. So if he wanted to use the chapel, he would prevail, but using the synagogue that is specifically a Jewish space (as opposed to general holy space) is unlikely to succeed.

                  It’s a pretty stupid argument, though, because the RCC won’t authorize a mass on non-Catholic sanctified ground. I looked into that; my husband’s family is Catholic, and we wanted to see if we could include any Catholic aspects in our wedding. We couldn’t; priests only marry Catholics to other Catholics in RCC churches, and every aspect of the ceremony is part of a special wedding mass which must take place in an RCC church. So Paul Plaintiff would have to hold his ceremony in a Catholic church if he wants it to be a truly Catholic wedding; even the nondenominational chapel isn’t good enough.

                  A) is simply untrue, B) is a good argument, and C) is untrue, though if the argument were made on Equal Protection grounds it would have more merit. C) would still probably fail, given that having a Christian ceremony on Jewish ground infringes mightily on the religious freedom of the Jews!

                • Nate Frein

                  By military regulation, Fort Smith could not have allowed the synagogue or catholic church to exist in the first place. If the buildings predate that regulation, then they must be justified by their historical value,not their religious significance. Meaning that the same argument that justifies Cruz’s use of the USNA chapel also justifies Paul Plaintiff’s use of the synagogue.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Ok. I don’t know military regulations. I thought there being a church and synagogue on base sounded fishy, but I didn’t know for sure. Then yes, I agree that Paul Plaintiff should be allowed to use the synagogue.

                • JWH

                  Sorry, Feminerd, you’re assuming facts not in evidence re: the Catholic Church’s preferences.

                  PS. Welcome to the land of law school hypotheticals.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Yeah, yeah, I know. Outside knowledge, no matter how true, has no place in law school hypotheticals :)

                • Nate Frein

                  I’m not sure this is a valid hypothetical. The chapel Cruz wants to be married at is still around (at least officially) because of it’s historical significance, not it’s function as a specifically Christian church.

                • Spuddie

                  My first question is what is a church and a synagogue doing on military base? That alone would violate the Establishment Clause.

                  “B” would have to be the only argument anyone needs. A & C are irrelevancies in comparison. You would only need to address them if you had the time to spare on the exam.

                  A chapel is by its nature non-denominational and open to all irregardless of a given faith.

                • JWH

                  My first question is what is a church and a synagogue doing on military base?

                  They were built by the priest and the rabbi who walked into a bar.

                  OK, in seriousness. Yeah, you’ve exposed my ignorance on military worship facilities. I just checked a few chapel service Web pages … and it seems bases typically have multipurpose chapels that host every religion you can think of.

                  But do you see what I’m getting at? I believe quite firmly that as an alumnus of USNA, Cruz has the right to conduct his wedding in a chapel on the base facilities. But I’m still not entirely convinced he’s entitled to the particular chapel he wants.

                • Spuddie

                  The Chapel’s Christian imagery is immaterial to its purpose and certainly poses no excuse for excluding people of other faiths and beliefs from its use.

                  The Chapel is the premier facility for this sort of ceremony. The alternatives do not carry the same cultural weight or even physical presence. He is entitled to it because the USN has no legitimate reason for barring him from it.

                  It is not a church, it is not considered grounds belonging to a given Christian sect or even the faith in general. The fact that it is used by Christians only for weddings is evidence of discrimination. There is no given purpose for such exclusive use. It serves no ends to the USNA or the government.

                • Nate Frein

                  Once again, the justification for the chapel continuing to exist cannot be it’s function as a specific religious building.

                  For it to continue to exist on the base (and as much as I personally find it not to my tastes, I would rather it remain), it must serve as a chapel for all personnel, not just certain Christian personnel.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Please stop using “irregardless”.

                  Not only because it’s not a word, but because it means the exact opposite of what you’re using it for.

                • JohnnieCanuck

                  If enough people use it that way, then the meaning will have changed. Languages evolve, often by ignoring the guidelines.

                  There is comfort in having rigid rules that ought to always apply, but that’s not reality.

                  I despair for gerunds. Almost no-one uses them anymore. Me (sic) wanting to keep them will not stem the tide.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Don’t care, it still irritates me to no end.

                • baal

                  Loving gerunds is in my blood. Cringing, my wife feels that they are awful.

                • Spuddie

                  Corrected. My bad. You are correct.

                  OK. My hands are behind my head. I will not make any sudden moves. I will go down to the grammar police station quietly. =)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Sorry, I had a housemate who kept using that word, and he’d manage to get it in every few sentences. It makes me *twitch*

                • Spuddie

                  No apologies necessary. =)

        • baal

          “My own experience is that lawyers use the word “clearly” when something really isn’t that clear.”

          Shhh, it’s a secret. The more adjectives and ‘clearly’ a lawyer uses, the less clear the issue or the law even goes the other way.

    • cary_w

      “So an atheist is threatening a lawsuit because he wants to get married in a Christian church. I thought this would never happen according to everyone here who says that churches would never be forced to perform services that they did not agree with.”

      This is precisely why you Christians, who keep wanting to get government sponsored prayers and Christian monuments in public places, should wake up and start supporting a huge separation of church and state! This is not a private church, if it was it could be as discriminatory and bigoted as it wants, or just simply state they only do their own type of Christian wedding. But this is a government owned chapel, so the government gets to decide what goes on in it, and the government serves all of us, not just you and your Christian friends. Once you start letting the government run your church, then the government is going to start telling your church what to do. It’s only a matter of time before enough millennials get in power and gay marriage becomes the law of the land. Do you want your church forced to perform gay marriages? No? Then you’d better quit asking the government say your prayers for you and put up your religious monuments, because every time you do that the government starts thinking it can tell you how to pray and what has to be on those monuments, and before you know it they’re going to be telling you what you can and can’t do in your own church. If you want your church to stay the way it is, then you’d better keep it as separate from the government as you can!

      I’ve never understood why theists aren’t more concerned about separation of church and state. For them, it seems to me that their whole way of life is at stake. For an atheist, it’s just some minor annoyances and being pissed at seeing government money wasted.

    • UWIR

      The chapel is owned by the government. The government has appointed stewardship over the chapel to MacCallum. Cruz asserts that MacCallum has administered this stewardship in a manner inconsistent with the government’s governing documents, and is therefore asking the government to force MacCallum to allow Cruz to use the chapel. Should Cruz succeed, this will constitute a case of the owner of a chapel forcing its agent to act according to the will of that owner. It would not be a case of an owner of church being forced to perform a service that they did not agree with, because, in case you haven’t been paying attention, MacCallum is not the owner of the chapel. How religious freedom allows an agent to dispose of property in her care according to her own religious beliefs, rather than according to the wishes of her principal, I cannot see.

    • GeorgeLocke

      I thought this would never happen according to everyone here who says that churches would never be forced to perform services that they did not agree with.

      Churches are buildings. You can’t violate the religious freedom of an inanimate object. No person is being asked to do anything against their religious convictions, except insofar as the custodians of government property feel they have the right to administer that property according to their personal beliefs in contradiction to the laws which govern our fair land.

      This is just another case of a majority group being asked to obey the law and whining about it. Having your immoral and illegal privileges taken away is justice, not oppression.

      According to the referenced letter, there was an offer of other buildings at the Naval Academy that could be used for a civil ceremony, including an “all faith” chapel but these were rejected by the non Christian who is insisting that he have a non religious ceremony in a religious building.

      I have no desire to go the back of the bus, thank you very much. I can’t find many pictures of the all faiths chapel, but you can’t honestly be suggesting that its facilities equal the main building, can you?

  • Marcus

    Since this a government building, the rules should be different. If this were a church that was not funded by the government then this would be acceptable. I believe that marriage is nothing more than a religous ceremony that has been molded to people believing it is a legal term. I light the term “Civil Union” and have no desire to ever “marry”. Religion has it’s place and it’s beliefs and it is hypocritical to call them narrow minded because they do not believe the same things that you do. That is what sets them apart. I have never met a christian that has discriminated against me. But I allow them to have thier beliefs and they allow me to have mine. So the chapel is pretty and you want to have a ceremony that is rooted in christianity and you are not christian. Sorry, don’t blame them.

    • Spuddie

      Someone who blatantly discriminates on the basis of religion is as narrow minded as one can get. I don’t have to respect people whose belief involves actively harming others.

      Marriage was a legal term long before religion ever entered into the picture. It is a ceremony with cultural weight attached to it. The use of the Chapel exclusively for Christian weddings is both discriminatory against those of other faiths and blatant entanglement of the state with religion. Both religious freedoms of the 1st Amendment are being violated here.

      Christians do not own the Naval Academy exclusively. One should not pretend they do.

      • Marcus

        Once again, I will state that this particular chapel is government funded and should be available to all people regardless of religion.
        If an athiest asks a christian not pray over his food in public is this not an athiest imposing his beliefs on a christian? Is that discriminatory? I think so. I think that by not allowing people to express thier religions and calling them bigots because of what they believe is bigoted. A christian says you have to believe in God and he is narrow minded. An athiest says you can’t believe in God and he is open minded.
        Next, what are chapels built for? Are they built for people to have weddings? No. they are built by people of a specific religion as a place for them worship. If they allow an athiest to utilize the chapel to have a non-religous ceremony then this is thier choice. Just because I have no religion does not mean that I have a right to the property of other religions.
        And then, marriage as a legal term before any religion came around is simply not provable. No one knows whether or not religion or a legal companion came first. I do know that marriage was has a long history of religous ceremonies as a way of confering. The ceremonies are religous making the term “marriage” religous(in my opinion). The only way for it to not be religous is to simply sign a peice of paper and be done with it.
        Lastly, Christianity is young(about 2,000 years) compared to religion itself. The earliest suggestion of religion based on the evidence of cermonial burial rites would be around 300,000 years ago(Yes, before homosapiens). Consider this with the earliest form of writing known which is only about 6,000 years ago. So based on this evidence it is still not 100% that the chicken came before the egg by I do have evidence to support my way of thinking.
        And Christmas, completely religous…

        • Spuddie

          “Once again, I will state that this particular chapel is government funded and should be available to all people regardless of religion”

          It is. You should have stopped there.

          “A christian says you have to believe in God and he is narrow minded. An athiest says you can’t believe in God and he is open minded.”

          Nice try, but this only really goes in one direction. Christians are the ones who seek to impose on others either by intimidation of the majority or under the color of law. The phony claim that atheists are as intolerant and bigoted as many of those who profess the Christrian faith is tiresome and lacks any basis in reality. Peddle your false equivalence elsewhere.

          The chapel is not the property of any religion. It is not a church. It is a government facility officially open to all Naval Academy students and alumni. Both officially in its rules and regulations and under the law. This exclusion is neither justified under their own rules nor legal. It is blatant discrimination

          As for marriage, it existed long before Christianity or even the concept of religion as something divisible from ethnicity or nationhood. The view of religion as an individual belief, separate from nationality, came from a point in time when literate societies existed. It is documented well enough for anyone who bothers to look. Your claim of nobody really knows which came first is a self-serving lie.

          “And Christmas, completely religous…”

          But not Christian! Its a syncreatic mix of Celtic, Germanic and Roman festivals taken by Christians to aid in conversion.

          • Marcus

            Let me make that we are clear on this… I am an Atheist, one that sometimes cannot spell. Freedom of religion also entails allowing a faith to practice the way that they want to practice it. A church building (not the one in question but a private church) is the property of that church and by saying that they have to allow you to marry thier is an infringement on thier rights to practice thier religion. They are not allowed to practice thier religion because you feel they are discriminating when youare the one that is discriminating by not allowing them to follow thier own religion. This IS being intolerant of thier religion. And is not the view of all atheist but mostly the ones with big mouths who make bigoted statements about not being bigoted when being called bigoted. Did I say that right?

            • Spuddie

              When you start confusing the chapel for a church you are already getting off on the wrong foot here.

              A church is essentially the privately owned property of a given sect and made specifically for administering for their religious rites. It allows for a more exclusionary environment than a chapel on a military base could.

              A chapel on a military base or academy by its nature has to be available to all. In fact in the Naval Academy’s own literature on the thing they claim so. But in practice there has been an unwritten practice of steering non-Christians away from it. Its really not much different a real estate agent skirting laws against segregation by only showing certain neighborhoods to people of color.

              The situation here is not even close to ambiguous. There is no analogue between this story and potential hypotheticals with a church holding services for one not of its faith.

          • Doc

            ” The phony claim that atheists are as intolerant and bigoted as many of those who profess the Christrian faith is tiresome and lacks any basis in reality. Peddle your false equivalence elsewhere. ”
            Your ignorance and intolerance blinds you to what you are doing. That is why you do not see it. I am also aware that Christians do and have done this in the past. I agree with none of it. You are all the same and will be the downfall of our society with your constant bickering and sniveling.

            • Spuddie

              4 months late to the party. Not going to bother responding to your spiteful nastiness.

              • Doc

                I have been working on my masters and haven’t had much time for fun.
                You can’t respond becuase you know I am right. Treating intolerance and bigotry with intolerance and bigotry is still intolerance and bigotry.

    • Nate Frein

      Marriage? Rooted in Christianity? Are you deliberately ignorant of history?

      You might be happy with a “civil union” but the fact is that it simply is not legally equivalent to marriage. Marriage has existed as form of social contract in one way or another long before some middle-eastern tribes made up reasons for why they shouldn’t eat pork.

      • TheBlackCat13

        If some trace fossils are to be believed, it was around long before the genus Homo, not to mention anatomically modern humans, even existed.

        • Marcus

          Genus Homo is about 2 million years old.

      • UWIR

        To be fair, he didn’t say marriage is rooted in Christianity, he said that the marriage ceremony is.

        • allein

          In which he is still wrong.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          And he’s still wrong. People have had marriage ceremonies for as long as there’s been bonding, which is probably around 10,000 years or so. Christianity is ~1800 years old, so … you do the math.

          • Marcus

            Religion is about 300,000 years old. Christianity is not the only religion.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              I don’t know that there have been humans for 300,000 years. About 200,000 years ago is when modern homo sapiens evolved, and we don’t know what marriage rituals (if any) occurred at that time. It’s also not super likely that religion existed back then, but again, we have no way of knowing.

              70,000 years ago is when we had behavioral modernity begin. 12,000 years ago is when homo sapiens became the only species of the genus homo on the planet. The beginnings of agriculture were about 11,000 years ago. I put the likely beginning of religion and/or marriage ceremonies as we recognize them at around that time.

              • Marcus

                Homosapien is not the first “human”. Cermeonial burial rites are suspected in Neanderthals and early as 300,000 years ago. And behavioral modernity has 2 theories, one of which occurs over hundreds of thousands of years and is not specific to Homosapiens. And 11,00 years for religion is not even close to experts of the Great Leap Forward Theory who estimate it around 50,000 years ago which would also be when they were mentally capable of the concept of marriage. So I will atleast concede to religion and marriage being about the same age.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Fair. I don’t know much about human cultural evolution. I mean, we don’t know that much about it in general, but I don’t even know very much about what we do know.

          • UWIR

            He said this particular marriage ceremony is rooted in Christianity, not that the general concept of a marriage ceremony is rooted in Christianity. How many times do I have to repeat what he said before people read it? If you say that he doesn’t know what marriage ceremony Cruz will have, and so doesn’t know that it’s rooted in Christianity, or that just because one is not Christiant, that does not mean that one has to reject everything that has been influenced by Christianity, that would be valid critiques. But pretending that Christianity hasn’t had a very strong influence on weddings in America is not.

            • TheBlackCat13

              “He said this particular marriage ceremony is rooted in Christianity, not that the general concept of a marriage ceremony is rooted in Christianity.”

              No, that is NOT what he said. Please read it again: “marriage is nothing more than a religous (sic) ceremony”

              He is saying “marriage” and the “ceremony” are one and the same, and that they are both originally religious in nature.

              • Spuddie

                I think its come down to a game of “Lets see how fine we can split that hair”

              • UWIR

                He said “religious”, not “Christian”. Not big on reading comprehension, are you people?

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Oh, I dunno, I had a not very religious Ashkenazi-descent Jewish wedding ceremony myself. Didn’t have much, if anything, to do with Christian ceremonies at all. I’d have been right insulted to have someone argue that because it shared a lot of characteristics with Christian wedding ceremonies, it was rooted in Christianity.

              You have no idea if this particular wedding is rooted in Christianity or not, and more importantly, that’s entirely irrelevant. Chapels are nondenominational buildings designed for things like weddings; this man meets the requirements for using the building as intended, and he is being turned down due to his religious beliefs. No one is saying Christians shouldn’t use the chapel; we’re saying that non-Christians should get to use it too, especially since it is not an explicitly Christian building.

      • Marcus

        You say it existed as a social contract but societies in thier earliest forms were made up of people with common beliefs, i.e. religion. So societies typically ostricized those who did not believe the same as they did. Religous pluralism has really only been around for about 3,000 years or so and marriage has been around much longer. I use the term civil union being aware that it currently does not carry the same legal rights depending on what state you live. Civil union is a legal term. The term marriage has been adopt by the law and society but was originaly spoken in regards to a ceremony. If i want to be legally united with another person, I should not have to go through this huge ceremony and stand there and speak my vows in order to share the same legal rights as someone that does. I want a legal union. Please not that I am seperating marriage to being a ceremony, and civl union being a legally binding contract for companionship. I could be married without having it legally recognized simply because I went through the ceremony with a person. And marriage means something to 2 people whether the law recognizes it or not. America was founded by Christians and so many of the religous norms became part of laws and society simply because it was the norm.

  • kelemi

    So much for separation of religion and government.

  • Mario Strada

    Has any member of any other religion ever married in that chapel? Because if anyone did then their claim would be bull.

    • Spuddie

      No. In fact the spokeperson for the Chapel said it was for Christians only. They deliberately steer people of other faiths to “alternative venues” which are rather crappy in comparison.
      http://www.chron.com/news/article/Group-seeks-humanist-wedding-in-USNA-s-main-chapel-4696218.php

      Of course no such rule exists in the regulations and rules regarding the Chapel. It is the religious equivalent of “redlining”

      This is as clear an example of religious discrimination as you can get.

  • stop2wonder

    Great. I can hear the cries of persecution starting already. Here’s how this is going to play out..

    1. The AHLC sues the military into complaince and Cruz is allowed to have his ceremony.

    2. The religious right makes an apples-to-oranges slippery slope arguement by saying “See! We told you!! We can be forced into have ceremonies in our churches against our beliefs!! It won’t be long before we are forced to marry gay couples in our churches too!!”

    It doesn’t matter that this is a government owned building not a private non profit religious establishment. They will only see the forced ceremony and yell that the sky is falling.

  • Nora

    Huh, I know him. He was in my company at school, although a couple years behind me. Good for him for trying to go for the chapel! Not personally my thing (I could never see myself getting married in a church), but it is a truly gorgeous setting and I think he ought to be allowed to do it.


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