Skip to comments.West Point Military Academy at Center of Prayer
Posted on 01/13/2013 6:10:40 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys sent a letter to the United States Military Academy this week explaining why, contrary to the complaints of a group that advocates for church-state separation, they believe invocations should continue to be said at certain West Point events.
"The First Amendment allows public officials to acknowledge our nation's religious heritage," said David Hacker, ADF senior legal counsel, in a statement. "Since the Revolution, the U.S. Army has offered soldiers the opportunity to hear invocations. West Point has continued this tradition since its founding in 1802. Anti-religious groups with misguided ideas about the First Amendment should not be allowed to destroy a time-honored and perfectly constitutional American custom."
ADF's letter was written on the behalf of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and was signed by Hacker and attorney James P. Trainor, who graduated from West Point in 1981. It was written in response to a letter of complaint, which was submitted to officials at the U.S. Army academy by Americans United for Separation of Church and State last month.
The letter, signed by AUSCS Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan and Staff Attorney Ian Smith, argues that prayers said at the military academy during events including Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Dinner, various award ceremonies and graduation are unconstitutional because they are essentially government-sponsored prayers.
While the participation of West Point cadets in such events is supposedly optional, AUSCS says that isn't always the case.
"Cadets are uniformly told that attendance at these events is required," writes Khan. "They are further instructed that the only way that they may be excused from the event is to write a formal letter requesting an exemption from the activity, and to present that letter to the superior officers within the cadet's chain of command. And even if a cadet were to write such a letter, objection to the prayer would not provide a valid ground for recusal from attendance."
The AUSCS letter also refers to Blake Page, a former West Point cadet, who reportedly requested to be excused from an award dinner once because of the religious nature of the event's invocation and benediction, but his request was denied.
Despite the accusations, ADF says West Point isn't coercing cadets to participate in religious practices through invocations and, as a result, claims the academy is on firm constitutional ground.
"The purpose of the prayers is to allow military chaplains to partner with West Point's leadership in the development of future leaders of character and offer words of encouragement in support of the particular event's intent," ADF's letter states. "The invocations and benedictions are not evangelical tools, and to some may not even be viewed as overly religious, but they are opportunities to dignify milestone events in a cadet's career."
A public affairs representative for the U.S. Military Academy was unable to offer an official comment to The Christian Post before publication time.
- 980. ... "A large proportion of the most valuable of the provisions in Magna Charta, and the bill of rights of 1688 [England], consists of a solemn recognition of limitations upon the power of parliament; that is, a declaration, that parliament ought not to abolish, or restrict those rights." ...
- 981. ... "It is not always possible to foresee the extent of the actual reach of certain powers, which are given in general terms. They may be construed to extend (and perhaps fairly) to certain classes of cases, which did not at first appear to be within them. A bill of rights, then, operates, as a guard upon any extravagant or undue extention of such powers." ...
- 991. ... "The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus sought to cut off the means of religious persecution, (the vice and pest of former ages,) and the power of subverting the rights of conscience in matters of religion, which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age." ...
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And homosexuals in the Corps?
In 1800 a Jefferson supporter for President,Reverend John Leland was so happy after his election he had his flock celebrate the event by producing the largest cheese the world had ever seen.Every man and woman who owned a cow was to give all the milk on a certain day,only no federal cow was to give a drop.
When the cheese dried it weighed 1600 pounds,it took three weeks to drive it to Washington,all the country had heard of the big cheese and came out to to look at it as it drove along.
The massive cheese had Jeffersons favorite motto etched into it Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.
Interestingly Lelands visit to the White House occurs on Jan.1,1802,the same day Jefferson wrote the letter to Lelands fellow Baptists assuring them that because of separation of church and statethey had nothing to fear fRom government limiting their religious practices or expressions.