A West Point cadet within just a few months of graduation has quit the prestigious military academy to oppose religious proselytizing within the institution.
Blake Page, the leader of West Point's Secular Student Alliance and a former enlisted man in the U.S. Army, says the military consistently shows favoritism to those with strict religious upbringings. Page is also an affiliate of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Page said he entered his decision to leave the academy at least a month ago, but is only just now coming forward with his decision. He penned an Op-Ed on The Huffington Post on Monday titled "Why I Don't Want To Be A West Point Graduate."
“The tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution,” Page wrote. "These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation."
Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said Page's actions were comparable to those of Rosa Parks, the African American woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, an event that became emblematic of civil rights-era struggles.
Page told the military news site Military.com that he’s not sure what’s ahead for him. Instead of becoming a commissioned officer with a degree, he could face owing the government hundreds of thousands of dollars. He said he also may an extended military service of years.
He plans on returning to his home state of Minnesota where he’ll live with his grandparents until figuring out his next moves, but will likely put his experiences in a book.
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