Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Could Be A Good Thing

Seems that West Point Cadet Blake Page has resigned from the Academy and has offered a blistering critique of the military's heavy investment in proselytizing Christian evangelical religious belief.


Though the United States is ostensibly a secular nation with no national religion or religious test to hold office -- or to be in the military -- the fact is that some 80%-90% of Americans profess religious faith of some sort and the evangelical sects (which long ago all but took over the military) have been in the vanguard of a religious "revival" among the high ranking military officers who set the tone for religious practice and belief among the troops. If someone actually looked into this phenomenon more deeply than I can, they would probably see fairly quickly that the religious belief within the military (as it is among the government functionaries in general) is not quite standard evangelical Christianity. It has its own peculiar nature, and if it hasn't already done so, it could well turn into a separate sect of its own, serving only those who are initiates into its mysteries. Not unlike the legendary Opus Dei among Catholics...

Blake Page, former West Point Cadet, is apparently out to expose the whole rotten edifice of military/religious indoctrination, and boldly claims that most of the hierarchy at West Point is in violation of their oath of office and is therefore engaged in criminal conduct.

Well. Isn't that special?

Criminals. Violations of the Oath.


Americans by and large are unaware of just how separate the military and the government it ostensibly serves are from the People. Since the end of the draft in the 1970's, the military has separated itself more and more from the People. The government has taken a somewhat different route, but it has arrived are pretty much the same destination, barricading itself behind protective security walls, traps and personnel to ensure that the People are kept at bay. This withdrawal and separation in some respects enables the government and the military to adopt a kind of "sacred" mantle which in turn enables the injection of a quasi-religion into these ostensibly secular realms.

I've long been leery of the nearly overwhelming worship of the military in this country, as if it were itself a sacred institution. It's nothing of the kind. And then we have the notion of the near-sacred persons of our high government officials, from the President on down. It's off-putting on the one hand, but it's also completely inappropriate for a society of citizens as opposed to subjects. Yet Americans are becoming subjects -- and participatory citizenship is made more and more difficult if not altogether impossible for many millions.

It's not going to be easy to reverse any of this, particularly in light of the national religious fervor that bids fair to overwhelm common sense.

But it's a start...


  1. That's an interesting decision he's made. It will likely be a costly one. I enlisted in the Air Force right out of High School. There was some religious non-sense mostly in basic training. After that we were pretty much left to our own devices. There were a number of other religious airman that were always trying to get me involved with their church or whatnot. I got a few nice dinners out of the deal but knew ahead of time I had no interest in their fiction. I think the Air Force academy is very much like West Point with the high level of religious silliness. The best part of being a veteran is I can criticize the military and automatically have a shield from the insane people that worship it.

  2. The military didn't have any of this religious indoctrination nonsense back when my Dad was in the airforce. Being an irreverent man (though professing Roman Catholicism) he would have mentioned it, and mocked it.

    So, it must be a relatively recent phenomenon, I wonder if it started after the Cold War. I expect without an existential threat to the United States, some other motivating factor needed to be used.

  3. From what little I know of it, the burden of religious fervor was light in the Air Force of my parents' day (that goes back to the AAC...)

    The Air Force Academy has been infected for decades, however, and stories have been circulating for a long time that the infection has spread to all the service academies and is virulent among the troops.

    This is the first time I've seen someone from West Point take the risk of publicly objecting and resigning in protest. It's not going to change things overnight, but it could start a process of reform. On the other hand, it could reinforce the growing religious aspects of "service."

    The problem goes well beyond overt discrimination against atheists, which seems to be his primary objection and protest.

    A Catholic, Hindu or Jain cannot serve in such a military -- to say nothing of a Muslim or a Buddhist. What of a Mormon? OMG, in a manner of speaking.

    What is being proselytized in the military is not "faith" as such, it is a particular brand of so-called faith that in essence must be accepted and rigidly adhered-to as part of military indoctrination; those who do not accept/adhere are discriminated against and ultimately ostracized.

    That is dangerous for the military and for society. But I'm not sure the corrupt and addled leadership of today's military has any idea.

    (I despised the draft when it was providing fodder to the corrupt and addled military leaders of yore to pursue their fantasies of thwarting the vast International Commonist Conspiracy that was impurifying our precious bodily fluids, but at least the draft ensured that civil society understood what was going on. Today's volunteer military is completely apart from civilian consciousness and understanding and it is growing more separated all the time. It's not a good thing.)