David Silverman, President of American Atheists, has been in direct contact with me since November, whole-heartedly supporting the Rock Beyond Belief festival.
Given the recent issue about Fort Bragg telling reporters that our lineup hadn’t submitted a curious thing called a ‘Statement of Intent’, David instinctively issued an organization-wide ‘Statement of Intent’ to support us. Brilliant.
Rock Beyond Belief: Statement of Intent ICO American Atheists, Inc.
American Atheists, Inc. wishes to clearly state and put on the record our statement of intent to support and attend the Rock Beyond Belief festival at Fort Bragg. The Rock Beyond Belief festival has the full support of American Atheists, Inc., which includes assistance with advertising and sending Blair Scott, our Communications Director to the event to speak. American Atheists, Inc. is proud to be part of already extensive schedule of crowd-drawing atheists, activists, and bands.
It is unfortunate that this event is now canceled due to seeming discriminatory behavior on the part of the chain of command at Fort Bragg. The unwavering support (especially financial) of the previous Christian event and now the removing of funding from the atheist event (for less money than the Christian event) is disheartening, at best. Changing the rules of the game at the last minute is a common tactic that American Atheists, Inc. has seen in the past as a way to prevent atheist organizations and groups from holding events or participating in public events. It is clearly an unethical way to engage in religious discrimination.
Kathleen Johnson, Military Director for American Atheists, Inc. stated, “The 2009 ARIS poll indicated that 21% of the military is non-religious. Fort Bragg just discriminated against 21% of its soldiers. As an Army veteran, I am greatly disappointed in this behavior.”
Blair Scott, Communications Director said, “I was incredibly enthusiastic about attending this event and seeing so many atheists in one location supporting our atheists in foxholes and DOD civilian employees. The excitement over this event on Facebook and other media outlets was, to put it mildly, abuzz with excitement. As a military veteran and former foxhole atheist who faced discrimination when I was in the service, it is incredibly frustrating to see this behavior still a part of the chain of command.”
“American Atheists, Inc. fully supports the efforts to bring Rock Beyond Belief back to Fort Bragg and make this event happen,” said Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists, Inc. “If this discrimination goes to court, it will have our direct involvement.”