Thanks to the efforts of my high ranking cyber-stalker, Fox News picked up a bogus story taking lyrics way out of context. The backlash could have threatened the entirety of the festival lineup at RBB. The short-term desired affect was achieved.
Fort Bragg was pressured get me and all of the performers to sign a promise not to be critical of religion. This document was being called ‘a rider’. It contained a whole host of other problematic concessions. Here are a few quick examples.
- “Don’t make statements that a member of the general public would find offensive.” I get email from members of the general public that are offended that I’m burning churches down for the Obama re-election campaign video. Seriously. And there were dozens of examples just like this.
- “Performers will adhere to the Army Values…” What?!? Not sure how they can keep that agreement without even knowing what the hell that even means. It was bad.
As usual, I stood my ground, and sent heavily modified versions back to them. My corrections were in red text. There were more words written in red letters than black, to give you some idea. One of my demands was that their office stop helping the openly hostile evangelicals. We went back and forth for a few rounds. But then there was no word back about their rider after I told them that I refused to sign anything like it, as I was not obligated to do so.
The instigator’s plan actually backfired in the end. Today, we proudly release this.
“I recognize and understand that the Main Post Parade Field will be a limited public forum for the duration of the festival and appreciate that the language of the original draft may have concerned you, especially with regards to information that may be offensive to others’ religion. I want to assure you that Fort Bragg will not discriminate against speech on the basis of its viewpoint. Stated another way, I understand and respect that there will be ample discussion about atheism and/or humanism during the festival and that the speakers may criticize organized religion or its practitioners…“
-Colonel Stephen J. Sicinski
Fort Bragg Garrison Commander
That’s exactly what we needed to see in order to sign this document. The radio-friendly requirement for music and discussion had been understood for well over a year. But it was hard for them to translate this in a sensible way in a climate of fear. I profusely thanked the command. I was proud to show that to my legal team, standing them down once again.
How hard they tried to force Fort Bragg to cancel us, and how you can help us.
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Needless to say, it has been extremely tense behind the scenes. Every day for the last year and a half seems to have been full of these battles.
My cyber-stalker clearly was communicating with people involved in crafting this document. He was leaking paraphrased quotes from it, well before I even saw it. A chaplain even used Fort Bragg’s facebook page to write an open-letter to the base commanders demanding the cancellation of our ‘church burning event’.
The administrator of the Bragg Facebook page said this in reply:
“Fort Bragg, N.C.: Thank you for your posting. We will ensure it is sent to the command.”
Then, video leaked of the Christian event’s performer saying that he “was going to set the place on fire, for Jesus!” Who’s the hateful chapel burner now? You decide. He was walking right by a Military Police detachment, too. Clearly, he’s about to incite a riot and lob molotov cocktails at cops for JESUS.
The low rider is a little higher
They decided to name this sneaky document “a Rider”, as they were playing semantic games with our previous contract (not amendable unless both parties agree.) We had already delivered our band’s tech-riders weeks earlier, satisfying a built-in requirement. It was there simply to ensure that Fort Bragg was aware of the type of equipment the bands were bringing in, for power requirements and other concerns. But some genius at Fort Bragg thought that if he simply called this crazy new document “the rider for performers” that I would be fooled into thinking I was already obligated to make my performers sign it, regardless of whether or not I agreed to change the contract.
That’s not how tech riders work at all, and anyone familiar would balk at the suggestion. This was a reverse-rider if anything. This is exactly the type of chess-game mentality I’ve been up against. Hardball ‘officer-speak’, and strategies just nuanced enough to detect only with a trained eye, and hard to explain to anyone either way.
I never let on that I was on to them and their creative word game. Why? Because I’ll let them have their token “we promise not to say naughty words” document so they can tell reporters that they ‘handled the Aiden Situation’. If that’s all they want, they can have it. They more than earned that by actually listening to me and coming full circle like this.
I would have helped them craft a statement regarding swear words. It didn’t have to be like this. But neither of us trusts each other unless it is on paper, so it’s cut-throat 24/7. It’s not personal, and I get it. These guys have poker-faces you wouldn’t believe. But I’m so proud of them for taking this little trip with me. They clearly demonstrated that they get it. I’ll sign.
In addition to you guys taking a little trip to Fort Bragg on March 31st, we need some grass roots support right now.
You can help us get back at the instigators for attempting to forge a controversy to bring us down.
Please, send copies of our press release to any news organization in your area. Spread the word! Local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, any place really. Even Fox News and right wing talk radio stations are capable of honest and fruitful discussion. I’ve had good experiences at both already.
Send THIS to reporters for great justice.
Fort Bragg did the right thing in a tough situation, so keep it respectful at all times. It’s rare we get a positive development like this to rally around. Click on some of those buttons down there too. Your clicking fingers can support the troops today. Thanks!
*UPDATE – Chris Rodda has more to say about it.*