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View Diary: Blake Page won't have to reimburse Army after dropping out of West Point to protest fundie influence (75 comments)

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  •  I think the depression is the real story here (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not saying there isn't oppression of atheists at West Point, but I can very confidently say that a little depression goes a long way toward making manageable problems seem very unmanageable.

    •  Not really Blanchy. If he feels the need to speak (4+ / 0-)

      up with regards to what he has been going through imagine the following:

      He has no support system in a military that unofficially, officially promotes religion.

      He is an atheist who wants to grieve, and all he gets for his troubles would be attempts to convert him. Do you have any idea how messed up that is.

      You are down, and instead of offering you a hand, you instead are targeted for coerced conversion while you are not hitting on all sixes.

      That is depressing. And if this causes you professional troubles, if anyone decides to be the Chaplain's proxy or whomever it was giving him such a hard time, well there's your anxiety.  Everyday, you wonder how many things that happen to you in the course of the day, are directly related to this little issue. The one's that aren't obvious that is.

      Anyone in the military who looses a family member should be able to turn to their chaplain for some kind of emotional support, perhaps some basic grief counseling. But instead, some of us get the business end of a crazy street preacher number.

      If it bleeds out beyond into your actual class time or career, that just makes this all the more stressful.

      This has been an ongoing problem in the service. There are people who are sponsored by ecclesiastical endorsing agents, who have a political agenda, that is not in keeping with the greater mission. They are there to further their own beliefs, no matter the cost.

      Those folks need to be weeded out of the service. But unfortunately this is but another tentacle of the ongoing Culture War.

      •  Not really? I was an atheist in the service! (0+ / 0-)

        Are you in the service or were you?  Do you have some special knowledge of depression?  Did you experience all of these things that you mentioned firsthand or did you read about them?

        The fact of the matter is that there are many atheists currently in the service and many are at West Point hence the desire for this person to form such a group.  They did not all quit en masse.  Why?  Because some of them are affected to a much lesser degree than Blake by these issues.  So why did this weigh on Blake so heavily that he felt the need to quit whereas the others haven't?  

        And as a former atheist in the service, I would have zero issues talking with a chaplain if I had an issue.  And if they gave me a bunch of religious malarkey instead of good guidance, I'd tell him to kiss my ass.  Respectfully, of course, particularly if he outranked me.

        •  I was in the service Blancy, and I dealt with (0+ / 0-)

          religious discrimination and sexual discrimination simultaneously.

          I am not going to fight with you over this. You feel strongly about it and I respect that.

          •  I am sorry I mispelled your username, Blanchy (0+ / 0-)

            I hope you have a good weekend.

          •  I don't feel that strongly about it (0+ / 0-)


            I don't mind the church and actually played recorder at a Lutheran church for a while.  They have a very pretty service.

            When were you in?  Surely you didn't read what I said to mean that there isn't any discrimination, but if you also suffer from depression (and this man's father did commit suicide) what could have been perhaps challenging can easily become impossible to deal with.

            •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)
              but if you also suffer from depression (and this man's father did commit suicide) what could have been perhaps challenging can easily become impossible to deal with.
              I just think that the discrimination probably made a terrible time, even more isolating.

              That he had to say anything during that time, or felt compelled to struck me as particularly disturbing.

              I was unclear whether or not his depression was temporary due to grief, or perhaps due to chronic stress due to discrimination issues, compounded by grief.

              I served in the 90s. I found that discrimination and harassment could drive all sorts of emotional states that were not good for me, and certainly didn't enhance my performance in the uniform.

              When people discriminate against you, it lets you know you are not part of the team. And that affects unit coherence, and your ability to contribute to the success of the mission. You cannot quit. But you don't belong. That is a terrible position for anyone to be in, and if it goes on long enough, does take a toll on one's psychological health.

              •  There seems to be a coda to this story (0+ / 0-)

                It looks like the military may have been ready to get rid of Blake even before he wrote the story which I suspect he knew but did not share.  It looks like he was a very troubled person for a variety of reasons.  I think a probably bigger (and more universal) story here is that the military doesn't deal well with depression.  Now in this case, they may have figured that it was probably best to be done with Blake prior to going any further.  I agree that whatever discrimination he felt from being an atheist made things much worse for him.

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