Washington Times op-ed: “West Point is religious”

Shirley Husar at the Washington Times, wrote an attack piece against atheist West Point Cadet Blake Page.

It veers into histrionics rather quickly:

If the founders didn’t intend to require that cadets be Catholics or Baptists, they also clearly didn’t intend that they be atheists. Page therefore found himself in a system designed not to eliminate atheists, but still not intended to make them comfortable. The values with which the Academies want to instill cadets are not specifically sectarian, but they are religious.

It is clear that this young man did not do his homework before he applied to West Point, or he would have known that one of the principle persons responsible for establishing the academy was the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. While the Left has often portrayed Jefferson as a man opposed to religion in general and Christianity in particular, he was in fact a man of faith. He supposedly edited his Bible to remove elements of the divine, but the values he embraced in what was left were emphatically religious.

Yeah. That’s right. Thomas Jefferson edited out all of the bible’s miracles and magic in order to emphatically embrace religion. In what universe does that make sense?

Two 747's are seen standing on their tails in the NY City skyline as two flying world trade center towers zoom towards them. Caption reads "Washington Times: we reject your reality and substitute our own

Even as an attack piece, it overstays its welcome. There’s little substance other than dancing around definitions of words, and conveniently avoiding a defensible legal standing of her position.

It ends on an impossibly low note. My response is below the fold.

I stand by my statement that West Point is religious.

Blake Page responded a few times, and I’m sure he’d appreciate some troll patrol. Please weigh in!

I left this comment:

“I stand by my statement that West Point is religious.”

Well then taxpayers better get a refund. I think you’ll find that West Point disagrees with your statement, and wishes you wouldn’t say these things. They want people to bash Blake Page, but not to let the cat out of the bag about what they know to be unconstitutional (*see end).

All the military atheists want is equal opportunities, access, and a seat at the table. We’re not a religion, but we are a ‘religious preference’ – the military’s term.This entire op-ed reads like hatchet job from an evangelical who has never heard of Limited Public Forum law. Simplified: All points of view must be given full equal treatment, when allowing speech on any given topic in a government setting. They can ban all speech / groups on a given topic (religion) or they can welcome all speech / groups. No in-between. You want theist groups? You must allow atheist groups.

—–* Supreme court ruling on favoring theist groups over atheist*—-

It is one of the fundamental principles of the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the Constitution forbids not only state practices that “aid one religion . . . or prefer one religion over another,” but also those practices that “aid all religions” and thus endorse or prefer religion over nonreligion. Everson, 330 U.S. at 15. See Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 53 (1985)(“[T]he individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all”)

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About Justin Griffith
  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Would they be as comfortable with religious privilege if it were a different religion? I.e.: would they be as comfortable if it were hinduism or golden dawn being shoved at people to an equal degree? Or, for that matter, if it were atheism being shoved at people to an equal degree? What these religious zealots don’t seem to realize is that the establishment clause is to protect them from their own kind (other religious zealots) – which has historically been a problem for the faithful. We secularists are just trying to help them out and keep them from slaughtering eachother over their beliefs, as they are wont to do.

  • Yoritomo

    Re: Jefferson: Husar means that since Jefferson liked Jesus’ morals, he was religious – because obviously the irreligious cannot agree with anything Jesus said, ever, and don’t have any moral values to speak of. It’s a bait-and-switch, confusing the real-world morals West Point apparently tries to instill with the supernatural methods they employ, such as prayer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.husar shirleyhusar

    It helps if you finish reading the article:… it continue to say: Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, stated that “his codification of the morals of Jesus was not known to his family before his death, and they learned from a letter addressed to a friend that he was in the habit of reading nightly from it before going to bed.” Jefferson himself stated, in regards to Christianity, “My views of the Christian religion are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.”

    Those are not the words of a man hostile to Christianity – nor to the inculcation of habits of faith that can lead to values important to those who serve in our government and military. Page should not have been surprised that the Academy would attempt to instill such values…… The statement on the blog is out of contacts.

    Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/urban-game-changer/2012/dec/18/west-point-religious-institution-case-blake-page/#ixzz2FsEuwmeQ

    Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/ Justin Griffith

      Shirley Husar: For what it’s worth I did read the whole article before posting. You’re cherry-picking, and your cherry-picked quote of Jefferson doesn’t make the point you think it does. Take a look.

      “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.”

      He’s saying that the Jesus character in the bible espouses great philosophical truth. Feed the poor, golden rule, turn the other cheek, etc. These are not spiritual concepts, rather ethical concepts. Even in this most cherry-picked quote, you’ve got him criticizing the ‘corruptions of Christianity’ and once again defending the ‘Jesus as a man’ (not a god) concept.

      Though Jesus was certainly ahead of his time, his teachings aren’t entirely ethical by modern standards. It’s possible that Jefferson, who notoriously did not free his slaves, was partially inspired by the words of Jesus. Jesus explains exactly how hard to beat your slaves when they do something wrong in Luke 12:47-48 (NIV)

      “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

      Even if just a parable, it’s a telling one. You’d think somewhere in there Jesus would condemn all forms of slavery.

      The statement on the blog is out of contacts.

      I’m assuming you meant ‘Context’. I’m not being a grammar-nazi here, I even misspelled ‘Washington’ initially. If I’ve sourced or linked to your piece incorrectly, please let me know, I’ll fix it.


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