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
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.