Rock Beyond Belief Has Officially Resubmitted With Fort Bragg

It’s official – last night, we resubmitted our packet to Fort Bragg for an autumn date.

Yesterday, I visited Fort Bragg’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office that was assigned to support our first attempt. Later, we officially resubmitted Rock Beyond Belief’s packet. I even brought my daughter, Zoe Madalyn Griffith (2 months old now!) She is like a secret weapon because she is so cute. No word back from Fort Bragg or MWR just yet, keep an eye out.

Above: Rock Beyond Belief’s Project Leader and foxhole atheist, Justin Griffith and daughter Zoe at Fort Bragg on April 19th, 2011.

If at first you don’t succeed…

The first attempt was not successful, but it was damn close. We received approval at every step in the arduous process, until the very last step. We are not going away. In fact, our new packet is even stronger. We even included a media analysis of our own at Fort Bragg’s request.

Post-requisite – a term we had to invent to describe some of our difficulties.

Yes, there are frustrating ‘post-requisites’ like the media analysis that the evangelical Christian event didn’t suffer through. Another example was the ‘Statements of Intent’ that we apparently failed to provide (though we asked countless times if any further documents were needed, and the other guys never submitted such a thing). It seems they didn’t believe that our lineup was really going to show up, and they suggested as much to reporters by mentioning these missing mystery documents. The very first time I heard of a ‘Statement of Intent’ was from one of these reporters, a few days after the last-minute crippling restrictions forced us to cancel.

So I asked our lineup to provide Fort Bragg with these documents. Even Richard Dawkins issued a Statement of Intent – which immediately went viral in the community. By the way, be on the lookout for an upcoming video project highlighting the story

Disparity of treatment

Yes, those last minute crippling restrictions were quite heartbreaking. They were so last-minute that we couldn’t even scramble an alternate venue, or overcome the $50,000 shortfall we suddenly faced, or figure out a new way to insure the event etc. Yes, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has described the potential legal case as “a one-inch putt”. And we are quite aware of the overwhelming disparity of government support offered to each group. And finally, yes, it is quite clear that ultimately we felt disenfranchised and that the evangelical Christian community receives special favor.

So why don’t we give up and go away?

Because I can’t, I wont, and I don’t stop

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhqyZeUlE8U&start=113

We were so close before and now that we have an undeniable momentum, there is no turning back.

That momentum is absolutely snow-balling as well. We wouldn’t be here today without people like you who care about these important issues. The journalistic interest in this story continues to pick up steam, and the secular community has undeniably championed our cause. We are optimistic and hopeful that the second attempt will be fruitful. It took us a while to secure a second date with everyone on our lineup, but we did it. And officials at Fort Bragg have made some statements to me that suggest a change of heart.

Are these statements just lip-service? I hope not.

The best thing you can do to help is to stay interested and keep caring. There are a lot of foxhole atheists that are starting to come forward and stand up to the offensive and often unconstitutional environment that the ‘evangelical creep’ of the last few decades is directly responsible for. I know from the thousands of letters I’ve received that there are large pools of ‘Sergeant Griffiths’ ready to stand up and ensure that the pendulum swings back towards normalcy.

To all of our supporters – thank you for making this possible. Please keep caring and I promise that we will keep fighting.

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About Justin Griffith
  • Amy

    Ahh, the cute baby tactic – I have been known to use that every now and then myself.

    Kudos for pushing forward! I’m very excited to see how this ends up…

  • http://www.theappliancenerd.com Randy

    That’s the spirit. Keep them flying.

    What?

    The flags of discontent. Remember, never trust anybody over 30.

    • Justin Griffith

      Don’t trust anyone over 30.
      I’ve lived by that motto for 28 years. That’s even the name of an album by my favorite punk band, Japanther. It sucks though, in a few months I’ll no longer be able to trust my wife. In 2 years, I’ll be full of self-doubt. Oh no!

      (:

      • JakeComments

        HELL YEAH JAPANTHER!

  • http://hornyheathen.wordpress.com Mel

    I think it’s great that the fight is still on! They really need to see that no one is going to lay down and give up on this. They didn’t come through on their word the first time, and we need to hold them accountable.

    I think this is so important. When this all comes through it will hopefully mean real changes that future generations of foxhole atheists can enjoy. A future where non-believers aren’t disregarded as inconsequential members of the armed forces (or thought of as a myth all together).

    Keep it up and I promise to stay interested!

  • Sheila

    Thanks for standing up for your beliefs!That’s what America was founded on!! And your baby IS really cute! Congratulations!!

  • Mike Hammer

    Push your beliefs on me… And I’ll Push you back! Separation of church and state! Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

  • http://www.oztronomy.net Paul Hannah

    Every post from you reaffirms my ‘faith’ in humanity. Every time you face up to these bullies, you do so on our behalf and for this you have our thanks. Their delusions make them weak and more dependent on their foundations of sand. Every small victory you have, is a big one for all of us. These petty emperors have no clothes and we alone can see it. Their ridiculous scrabbling for the upper hand shows how weak they really are.
    Keep up the good fight, we are behind you with every keystroke you type. We are in the right and they know it.

  • beerslayer

    Awesome, awesome news, Justin. I hope it goes off without a hitch this time (hey, we can dream, right?)

    You want my moral support, you have it for life, man. I almost wish I were young enough to join the military just so that I could fight this battle at your side.

    Thank you for what you do, from the bottom of my heart.

  • Jesse

    @beerslayer

    I’d rather it go off with a hitch. Not just any Hitch, though; Christopher Hitchens.

    All jokes aside, keep up the good fight, my friends.

  • RavenWolf

    Hey! I’m over 30! Lol

    Keep up the good fight Justin, and don’t back down! This gray (literally-ha) wolf has your back…

    • Justin Griffith

      (:

  • Dan Rawlings

    Babies are nauseated by the smell of a clean shirt – if they deny you again, feed her some yams and then hand her to the commander preferably while he is wearing class A’s

  • http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/wonderism/ Wonderist

    Wonderful, wonderful work, Justin! You have handled this whole situation very professionally and positively. You have every right to be proud of what you’re doing, and you can expect our support now and in the future. I personally can’t offer much, but I promote your posts like this one whenever I get the chance. I believe you already really understand how important this thing is, so I don’t need to remind you, but just say thanks for doing it. You are a true rational responder, in all the best ways.
    (And I must admit, I will be following your exploits in the future. I can’t wait to see what you do next! :-) )

    • Justin Griffith

      Thank you very much, that’s quite a flattering statement. Seriously – these types of messages keep us going. While I did take the lead on this project, I could not have done it without the amazing local team, or the help from great organizations like American Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundation and Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Center For Inquiry… the list goes on and on. Anyway, I do have big plans on the horizon. Definitely keep an eye out for that (:

      I’ve learned how to get the word out pretty effectively over the last 6 months, so you’ll know where I clean house next.

  • PJ

    I think you should try to contact Greydon Square. He might be interested in doing this event, seeing as he is a former military man, and outspoken Atheist rapper with a growing cult following…just a suggestion.

  • http://www.youtube.com/guitarzeroh Guitarzeroh

    Will Greydon Square be at the gathering?

  • Melanie Dawn

    Good work, Justin (and Zoe)! I will do my absolute best to be there in the fall to add another body to the rockin’ turnout!

  • Rebecca Essenpreis

    What is the tentative autumn date? My husband returns from deployment mid-September and would LOVE to attend.

    • Justin Griffith

      October is all I can say for now. I’d like to stress to people not to make plans just yet. That last-minute crippling of our first attempt really blind sided us, and screwed over a lot of people (including people on our lineup).

  • Darrel Welden

    I really hope this concert happens. Since they had a religious concert then they should allow a nonreligious concert as well. This would be fair.

  • http://eclecticbreakfast.blogspot.com/ mcb

    If you think it works at the MWR you should see how quickly you can close a deal on the purchase of a new car by bringing an unhappy infant to the dealership.

    Be of stout heart and good cheer!

    • Justin Griffith

      Well, the jig is up now. Haha, it used to work a little bit. When I first walked in MWR’s office, my point of contact playfully demanded to have my urine analyzed. That person is still pretty awesome to me, one of the few who truly takes no sides despite being employed as a harbinger of well… you saw what happened.

  • Lynn Wilhelm

    I’m so glad to hear this. Great work Justin.
    Fall is great, summer would be crazy.
    Zoe’s adorable.

  • http://www.vuletic.com/hume Mark Vuletic

    Awesome, Justin. Never back down.

  • Christopher Letzelter

    Justin,
    glad to hear you’re still making progress! Thanks for all your efforts – RBB should be a fantastic event!

  • http://kathymanzella.com Kathy Manzella

    Keep it going!!! You make us all proud :D

  • Catherine

    Justin–
    I have been following your story since the whole clusterf*k happened with your initial attempt to schedule this concert. I am SO glad you are following through with your efforts. I am sure that this has not been easy for you–so much work and anticipation followed by cowardly betrayal and disillusionment. It takes GUTS and ENERGY to keep up the….not faith! I feel that you almost suffer the role of a whistleblower, or some sort of religious traitor, and I know that all of your mail must NOT be encouraging. Slogging through the crap and jumping through the hoops to get the concert rescheduled must be mentally and emotionally exhausting (not to mention physically….with a new baby…..). I have been there (on a much smaller scale) and it is HARD TO DO, to PERSEVERE. It is difficult to be the point person for a “statement” such as this…I remember being very discouraged by the lack of courageousness around me at times….from the people that feel exactly the way you do but will not take the step to sign their name to something, help out…etc. so kudos to you, Justin Griffin, for taking one for the team, who is larger than the armed forces think, and hopefully will soon find out. Spiritual fitness? WTF?????? My hats off to you. And I just turned 50, trust me–!!!

  • Golden

    Ok off topic but I saw the car seat and had to post (Im a child passenger safety tech) Please raise the chest clip on that adorable little baby’s car seat. It goes at armpit level. Also make sure the harness is tight enough that you cannot pinch any slack at her shoulders horizontally. Other than that, great job getting trying to get this thing together. I hope it works out and everyone has a nice time at Rock Beyond Belief!

    • Justin Griffith

      Good eye, thanks. Passed this along to mommy, too.

  • http://www.tycurious.com Ty

    I am so proud of what you are doing. When I was in the military it never occured to me that I could fight back at that level. I don’ think people are quite aware of how much evangelicals pervade the armed forces. I only wish I could be there. Thank you.

  • http://www.garyroberts.com Gary Roberts

    I’m happy to read this, Justin, and I wish you all the very best in your efforts to have Rock Beyond Belief hosted at Fort Bragg; I’ll make sure to revisit this site to see how you go on. Good luck!

  • DurfHurf

    Quick somebody save that baby before it gets eaten!

  • http://gropingblindly.wordpress.com/ Matt Smith

    Awesome Justin. Thanks for standing up for us.

  • http://ffrf.org/ Helen Katon

    It’s a crying shame what they did with your first application. Go freethinkers!

  • Derek

    Kudos. Keep it up. I’ll make the trip from SC for this.


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