Blake Page, West Point cadet, quits academy to protest "unconstitutional proselytism"

Categories: Military, Religion
blake page rect.jpeg
The founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation compares Page (left) to Rosa Parks.
Months shy of his graduation from West Point, Blake Page is quitting the academy and heading back to Minnesota to protest alleged discrimination against non-religious members of the military.

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Page went public with the news yesterday in a Huffington Post column entitled, "Why I Don't Want to Be a West Point Graduate." In it, he writes: "It is pathetic that so many leaders in the military are comfortable with both subtly and brutally discriminating against non-religious members."

Page, president of West Point's Secular Student Alliance, characterizes "countless officers" as "criminals" whose "transgressions are nearly always committed in the name of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity."

Cadets at West Point "are shown through policy that the Constitution guarantees their freedom of, but not from religion," Page writes. "Many are publically chastised for seeking out a community of likeminded people because it is such a common belief that Humanism and other non-religious philosophies are inherently immoral and worse."

Although West Point and the broader military has a long history of favoring and encouraging Christianity, Page hopes his decision to quit will at least raise awareness about the issue.

"The existence of decades of legal precedent and policies prohibiting this pervasive religious bigotry has not stopped it from happening in the past, and will most certainly not stop it from happening in the future so long as the many who oppose it remain too timid to stand up and be counted," Page writes. "I am making this stand in the hope that others will follow by whatever means they must."

With West Point in his rear-view mirror, what does post-academy life have in store for Page? That's still up in the air, Blake told Military.com:
Instead of a degree and commission, in fact, Blake Page could be going back to Minnesota with a bill to reimburse the government hundreds of thousands of dollars for tuition, he said...

Page said he does not know what lies ahead for him, beyond returning to Minnesota, where he will live with his grandparents until he decides his next move.

He figures he will put his West Point experiences in a book, he said.
In his HuffPo column, Page writes that the Army "may seek recoupment in the form of about $200-300k which I will personally owe, or an additional term of up to 5 years of enlisted service." If that ends up being the case and Page doesn't want to serve in the military any longer, we hope he ends up landing a lucrative book deal.


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9 comments
thebigsmokey
thebigsmokey

Of course being clinically diagnosed for depression and anxiety had nothing to do with it….

Still serving after 33 years

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

I've heard a few stories like this in the media and through people I know.  A friend of mine was shocked to find this kind of thing going on at the Air Force Academy, where his son was targeted for being United Church of Christ, instead of some aggressive kind of evangelical fundamentalist Protestant.  The fact is, it's common knowledge who is running the service academies, and how they operate.  There's a reason the Air Force had to put a woman officer in charge of their basic training program; they couldn't find a male officer who understood sexual abuse of trainees wasn't OK anymore.  Likewise, there's a reason the service academies are full of abusive proselytizing; that's who runs the places.  It's not hard to find out about it before going in.  And once you get in, yes, you will be retaliated against if you don't go along with it.  It's like getting through most of the program and then objecting to all the violence.

Dean P. Cummings
Dean P. Cummings

No - before he went to West Point. He's from MN right? What high school did he attend BEFORE West Point?

Mnsotapop
Mnsotapop

So West Point was good enough for him to go to to get an education, training, etc. but now that it's close to the time for him to serve in the military, he decides to "take a stand"  ? 

marevitals
marevitals

Clearly being West Point's "Secular Student Alliance" predisdent was just a way for him to play patty cake with other atheists......I bet this loser thinks Iraq didn't have WMD's. 

stewbone
stewbone

No evidence of WMD in Iraq, you f'in idiot!

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