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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:45 PM

Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point

Source: AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets.

Blake Page announced his decision to quit the U.S. Military Academy this week in a much-discussed online post that echoed the sentiments of soldiers and airmen at other military installations. The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination earlier this semester that he could not become an officer due to clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.

"I've been trying since I found that out: What can I do? What can I possibly do to initiate the change that I want to see and so many other people want to see?" Page said. "I realized that this is one way I can make that change happen."

Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called "heathens" by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he'd never be a leader until he fills the hole in his heart. In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced "criminals" in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/cadet-quits-cites-overt-religion-west-point-211844765.html

21 replies, 3867 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point (Original post)
choie Dec 2012 OP
Drale Dec 2012 #1
Historic NY Dec 2012 #7
Angleae Dec 2012 #11
maindawg Dec 2012 #2
rwsanders Dec 2012 #5
Kolesar Dec 2012 #9
happyslug Dec 2012 #3
azlatina Dec 2012 #4
happyslug Dec 2012 #6
amandabeech Dec 2012 #13
happyslug Dec 2012 #16
happyslug Dec 2012 #20
Kolesar Dec 2012 #8
happyslug Dec 2012 #12
amandabeech Dec 2012 #14
happyslug Dec 2012 #15
Ferretherder Dec 2012 #21
Blackhawk44 Dec 2012 #10
Kolesar Dec 2012 #19
Historic NY Dec 2012 #17
Kolesar Dec 2012 #18

Response to choie (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:52 PM

1. 6 months before graduation?

I would have fought through to Graduation, and then after that make it one of the goals to change the culture. There are plenty of groups that could help him, now he's put all that work in and his resume will say drop-out.

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Response to Drale (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:37 PM

7. Well he is still obligated for 5 yrs service six months or not.....

he will have to go to the regular army or repay 200k. He doesn't get a pass not even the football players.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:13 AM

11. The exact circumstances of commitment and separation are detailed in AR 612-205

http://www.apd.army.mil/jw2/xmldemo/r612_205/main.asp#tab3

It looks like he'll just be separated under rule #9 since the army has declared him to be unable to receive a commission due to psychological problems (clinical depression).

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Response to choie (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:02 PM

2. if more follow

maybe someone will notice.it is high time to military was re examined. Its mission, reset. We arent even supposed to keep a standing army, let alone a standing army in 47 countries around the world

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Response to maindawg (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:13 PM

5. I heard a figure of "military presence" (including advisors) in 140, but don't know source.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:00 PM

9. A standing army leaves the chance that the generals are going to take over government

It seemed that way in the Bush decade, although not overtly. America was very militaristic.

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Response to choie (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:10 PM

3. The fact he would NOT be commissioned due to depression is NOT a factor?

I quote from the article

The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination earlier this semester that he could not become an officer due to clinical depression

In simple terms, he has medical problems and the Army told him they do NOT want him as an officer. He has probably wanted to be an officer all of his life (including Grade School) and that decision was a blow to his ego, but to resign over that would NOT get headlines. On the other hand to resign over religion gets him support for his "position" from various groups and people on line. I suspect that is why he brought up religion, it received more on line support then his depression.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:34 PM

4. Did you give any thought...

...that his depression is a result of the overt religious culture at the academy? Or the constant berating of other cadets for being non-believers and being called heathens by the leaders of their classes? Depression can result from being in a hostile environment and in my opinion that is what he was experiencing.

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Response to azlatina (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:06 PM

6. Clinical Depression is a MEDICAL CONDITION and generally NOT the result of culture.

Now, people go into depression quite often, people have there ups and downs, Clinical Depression is when the down is worse then normal. It is NOT the depression when you fail a class, it exists even if you ace the class.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder

Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Doctors use the term "clinical depression" to describe the more severe form of depression also known as "major depression" or "major depressive disorder."

For a diagnosis of clinical depression, you must meet the symptom criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is a guidebook used to diagnose mental illness in the United States.

Clinical depression symptoms may include:

Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities. Significant weight loss or gain Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day. Slowed thinking or movement that others can see Fatigue or low energy nearly every day. Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt Loss of concentration or indecisiveness Recurring thoughts of death or suicide


http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/clinical-depression/AN01057

Religion as practiced in the Academy may be adding to the above, the depression may be manifesting itself in a rejection of the cultural norm of the Academy. I do NOT know.

On the other hand Religion (or lack of Religion) has little effect on the extent of Clinical Depression. Religion would be like a blessing over a broken arm, the person getting the blessing may NOT want the blessing (or may desire it) but the blessing has no real effect on the broken arm (With the possible exception of making the person with the broken arm feel better, like a mother kissing a injury to her child).

Same with Clinical Depression, some of his Class mates and Instructors may see Religion as a way to deal with Depression, but the actions of such Class mates and Instructors would be independent on the actual level of this Depression (i.e. the level of the Depression has to be treated or otherworld dealt with).

Side Note: In the Military, Psychiatric Treatment is NOT private, it can and is sent to the person's getting the treatment command and is used to determine if the person is fit to be an office or even stay in the Military. This person's dropping out is another sign of his depression. I suspect he looked forward to getting his commission, but the report that he will NOT be commissioned due to his depression, made the depression worse and thus he resigned.

Again I suspect he was on the net and found he could get more support on the net by complaining about religion then his depression. In many ways that is a sad comment on our society, here is a person seeking support due to his depression and the support he gets has little to due with his depression but to fill other people's agenda (in this case the level of Religion in the Military but it could have been something else like Obama re-election, the Mayan "end of the world" prediction, etc).

I suspect this person needs support in regards to his depression. The Military is not really geared to help someone with depression. For this reason I suspect is why several of his instructors mentioned religion. Not only that Religion could be one way to deal with his depression but that the Military Chaplains tend to be the only people in the Military who deal with people who have problems like Severe Depression AND not have to report it to the Command (Catholic dogma of Confessional is an integral part of being a Chaplain, even if the Chaplain is of a religion that does NOT have anything like the Catholic Confessional, Chaplains are to handle the "Religious" needs of all soldiers, even Atheists).

Chaplains also work in conjunction with Medical personnel, who the Chaplains are trained to refer people with problems like Depression to go to and in certain circumstances report the person to. Notice that the Chaplain unlike Military Psychiatrist are allowed to keep some of the things they are told confidential. Thus the references to Religion may be the instructors attempts to refer this person to someone who could provide him some help. I do not know, but this person Clinical Depression has to be addressed and we need to provide him support, not use him to further other agendas.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:05 AM

13. I certainly hope that you are not a clinician.

Your writing ability is poor, but from what I gather you can't seem to grasp that someone could become depressed from being harassed for not being religious.

If the rest of your screed is indicative of military communication, then heaven help us.



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Response to amandabeech (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:57 AM

16. You should read some of the reports from Psychiatrists and Psychologists I have read.

Psychologists do a better job of writing then Psychiatrists, mostly because Psychologists are hired to report on conditions as a person is today, generally for the business community but also for the Government. The advantage is such reports are subject to review and issued weeks or months after the person the report is on was evaluated. The Psychologists take the time to review and rewrite what they had written so when it is issued it is more like a term paper then what was written during the actual interview with the person being evaluated. Notice the difference, in DU like most discussion forums,, when we are thinking and writing first hand drafts, NOT finished term papers.

Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are into treating people, they are medical doctors. When I review they reports it is generally the first hand account of how they interacted with their patient and they evaluation of that patient based on that interview and past medical record. Thus these tend to be poorly written, for the writer intended the reports to a record of what went on, not a paper for publication.

Worse, Psychologists and Psychiatrists tend to accept the above, Psychiatrists tend to what to treat people and help them, Psychologists tend to want to report on the person. There is a huge overlap between the two professions, but the best way to view them is to look at how both developed. Psychologists came from the business community and how to get people to work better, Psychiatrists came from the medical community and thus concentrate on trying to treat people.

As to "Grasping" the concept that someone can be depressed due to a difference view of religion I fully accept, all I was pointing out something else is involved beside religion AND the Cadet was the person who mentioned it (i.e. it was the Cadet who mentioned his depression).

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Response to azlatina (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:11 PM

20. Do you have any idea of how bad a person has to be to given that diagnoses?

Clinical Depression is tendency to deep depression, yes things in your life MAY make it worse (such as the overt religious culture at the academy) but in "clinical depression" the depression is independent of what makes a normal person depressed. The difference is degree can be seen in the DSM-IV definition of Major Depression (the name given the what was called "Clinical Depression" in the article that started this thread)" Notice bereavement is EXCLUDED from the diagnosis. In simple terms, Major Depression may be made worse by having to face something one dislikes (in this case the religious culture) but the Major Depression is more then that.


Major Depressive Episode

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

Note: Do note include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations.

(1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.

(2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others)

(3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.

(4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

(5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)

(6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

(7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

(8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

(9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

B. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode.

C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

E. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Major Depressive Disorder


Single Episode

A. Presence of a single Major Depressive Episode

B. The Major Depressive Episode is not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and is not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

C. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all the manic-like, mixed-like, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced or are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

Recurrent

A. Presence of two or more Major Depressive Episodes.

Note: To be considered separate episodes, there must be an interval of at least 2 consecutive months in which criteria are not met for a Major Depressive Episode.

B. The Major Depressive Episodes are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and are not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

C. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all the manic-like, mixed-like, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced or are due to the direct physiological effects or a general medical condition.


http://www.mental-health-today.com/dep/dsm.htm

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Response to happyslug (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:57 PM

8. his father killed himself last year--I don't think Mr. Page is "in it for the attention"

Page said he had been medically disqualified this semester from receiving a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant like his classmates will receive in May because of clinical depression and anxiety. He said his condition has gotten worse since his father killed himself last year.


I hope he gets a college degree soon. He will be better off, ultimately. The military sucks. I was a midshipman.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:37 AM

12. His father suicide did not help the situation

I agree with you, this cadet needs help and he will not get it if he stayed in the military. I do not know the requirements to get out of his military obligation, being "unfit" to become an office may end that obligation I do not know. I suspect it is so and if that is the case he needs to go some place to complete his education, but I have dealt with people with severe depression in the past. Worse he is of the age for onset of male Severe Schizophrenia (Men come down with in late teems early 20s, Women late 20s early 30s). His decision NOT to complete his time at West Point gives me the impression that Severe Schizophrenia is involved with his depression. The reason is such decisions, not to finish something you began is more like a person with Severe Schizophrenia then severe depression. People with Severe Depression tends NOT to do things, not to leave their room and thus get kicked out of school NOT quit them.

Just a comment he needs professional help.

My comment as to "attention" was to address what is happening on this thread, besides you no one even hinted that his problems are severe and that the military was a bad place for him to be in. They all had their agendas, and what this cadet needs is support and help.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 04:09 AM

14. You have accused someone with symptoms of depression of having

a severe mental disorder.

I sincerely hope that you are not a member of the military or have anything to do with this individual.

If you are in the military you, sir or ma'am, are unfit to serve in posting a medical diagnosis on the internet.

Please leave this site now.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 09:41 AM

15. I am NOT in the Military, all I am doing is saying it sounds more like Schizophrenia then depression

Last edited Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:20 PM - Edit history (1)

The original Poster said he was diagnosed with Depression, Thus there is a MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS on this thread but it was put on this thread by the original poster NOT me.

All I pointed out was that what is being called Depression sounds more and more like Schizophrenia. People with Schizophrenia tend to do things like quit jobs when the employer is trying to keep them on the job. Quit school, when the school is doing all it can to keep that person in School, have few if any friends, avoid people, etc my favorite Schizophrenia characteristic is the DSM IV comment that people with Schizophrenia have "deviant sexual tendencies" i,e, they sleep alone due to an inability to enter into any relationship.

As I have said in all of my post he should get help, I have concerns for his condition

He is of the right age on late onset for males. All I pointed out he needs help but the people on this thread were NOT directing him to any place to get help not giving him the support he needs to go seek that help.

I deal with people with severe mental disorders all the time. To discuss mental disorders you have to go into the symptoms, which is all I have done. I do NOT know the name of the individual involved, nor will I ever post his name if I knew it. On the other hand what he has put on the public record is public knowledge and thus open to discussion. No one is saying he is incompetent, thus his own comments as to his mental condition was released by a competent person onto the net.

I know people get upset when we discuss mental conditions, but they need to be discussed. I have run across to many people who have NO idea of what various mental conditions are and are not, i have seen then misused Psychiatric terms in such ways the terms used are almost opposite of what the term means to Psychiatrists. I bring up the sexual deviation of people with Schizophrenia to show how a term used by Psychiatrists can easily be misused by most people (people hear the term Deviant and think perversion, when it means outside the norm, which in the case Schizophrenia means people with Schizophrenia tend to sleep alone).

As I said, if you object to my comments, your objection should be to the person who started this thread. It was that poster who first mentioned the medical condition of this Cadet, not me. You can also go after the Cadet for he was the one who posted the reason for his denial of a Commission. On the other hand if someone put his own medical records into the public domain, it can be discussed. In fact that may be what the Cadet wants, I do not known, it is his privacy we are discussing, privacy he has already decided to breech for his own reasons.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 06:11 AM

21. Not trying to be a grammar policeman, but,...

...you DO know the difference between 'than' and 'then', don't you?

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Response to choie (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:42 PM

10. being stationed in the Aluetians ...

 

will cure his depression.

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Response to Blackhawk44 (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:21 PM

19. Mr. Page is a free man, they are not going to keep him

Something tells me the Army knows they fucked up.

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Response to choie (Original post)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:06 PM

17. Just to be clear the article doesn't say much...

This resignation was submitted on Nov. 16th, Page was formerly a soldier in the army. The Academy has a Secular Student Alliance Club, Page was a founder and was active in another group called the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers. He was meeting all academic requirements & was not being disiplined for rules infractions.

West Point accommodates many other religions, religious groups & associations including Islam. There are houses of worship for various denomination on the post. I find it a bit more disingenuous on his part to claim otherwise. There certainly appears to be other dynamics than this operating here.

Religion or some form thereof or worship has its founding with the first Commander in Chief, while he didn't pick one over another. Chaplains accompanied the Continental Army, in fact they built a building to be used for services & meeting.

I live 10 miles from "the Point".

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 12:18 PM

18. How high can you fly?

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