There’s an old (and inaccurate) military saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. If the brass at Camp Pendleton in California gets its way, however, there may not be any atheists welcome at the base, period.
Thousands of people are expected to converge on Fort Bragg in North Carolina tomorrow for “Rock Beyond Belief.” The festival, featuring music, speakers and activities for children, may be unprecedented; it appears to be the first openly atheistic event to take place at a military installation.
How did this come about? Oddly enough, evangelist Billy Graham’s ministry had something to do with it.
Here’s some good news out of North Carolina: Officials at Fort Bragg have agreed to allow non-religious soldiers to sponsor a festival next year called “Rock Beyond Belief.” Army officials will give the festival’s organizers an appropriate outdoor venue and make it possible for them to promote the event on base and off.
Back in September, Americans United urged Army officials to cancel an evangelistic event at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
AU said “Rock the Fort” targeted both service personnel and civilian families in the surrounding community for conversion to evangelical Christianity. Despite its clear religious nature, the rally and concert received the full backing of military brass, who helped advertise and fund the event to the tune of $54,500.
Last week, Americans United urged Army officials to cancel an evangelistic event at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, we found out about this rather late. The complaint came in on Thursday, and “Rock The Fort” was scheduled for Saturday. AU’s Legal Department swung into gear with a strong letter to military officials, but it was not enough; they refused to cancel the event.