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Thu Mar 15, 2012, 05:24 PM

How a Christian Fighter Pilot and FOX News Tried to Stop Fort Bragg Atheist Festival (And Failed) [View all]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/chris-rodda/how-a-christian-fighter-p_b_1348764.html

How a Christian Fighter Pilot and FOX News Tried to Stop Fort Bragg Atheist Festival (And Failed)

Chris Rodda

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For those who don't know what Rock Beyond Belief is, it's the secular answer to all the big evangelical and fundamentalist Christian concerts and festivals regularly held on bases throughout the military. One of these events, a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rock the Fort festival, held at Fort Bragg in September 2010, despite complaints that the military officially sponsoring such an event was an unconstitutional promotion of religion, and showed a government preference for Christianity. The response from the commander of Fort Bragg was that any other group could also hold a similar event. So, SGT Justin Griffith, an atheist soldier at Fort Bragg, decided to take Fort Bragg up un this offer, and began planning a secular festival, which would feature atheist and secularist speakers and musicians.

Over the past year and a half, I've watched SGT Griffith transform from a soldier who had an idea to one of the leading voices for atheists in the military, standing his ground in the face of every obstacle thrown in his path. This soldier has managed to put together an event to rival the largest events put on by large, well funded organizations like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association -- all while serving as an active duty soldier, which included being deployed, becoming a father for the first time, and not being permitted to work on the event during duty hours (despite the fact that Fort Bragg had had a whole team of military personnel and DoD employees working for months on the Billy Graham.event). If our military is looking for leaders who can get things done, they certainly have one in SGT Griffith!

- snip -

About a month and a half ago, Major Dowty's alarmist blog posts, full of misrepresentations and lies about SGT Griffith and Rock Beyond Belief, caught the eye of FOX News columnist Todd Starnes, who then wrote an article titled "Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event at Ft. Bragg." Starnes's article linked to a blog post by Major Dowty titled, "Fort Bragg to Host Anti-Religion Band at Atheist Rock Beyond Belief," in which Dowty misrepresented the lyrics of a song by one of the bands in the Rock Beyond Belief lineup, claiming that this band advocated burning down churches. The attention of FOX News led to unwarranted last minute scrutiny by officials at Fort Bragg of the the Rock Beyond Belief lineup, and an attempt to place further restrictions on the event. But, once again, SGT Griffith stood his ground and prevailed.

Because SGT Griffith is an active duty soldier, he cannot respond to the attacks of Major Dowty without the fear of being considered insubordinate towards a superior officer, so I've been responding to these attacks on my blog at FreethoughtBlogs.com. But now that Rock Beyond Belief is getting more media attention, from sources such as the Religion News Service, and is likely to get more attention as the event date gets closer, I want to post these posts here so that a wider audience can see a part of this story that they won't get from other sources -- how one zealous Christian Air Force officer and FOX News attempted to cause last minute problems for Rock Beyond Belief, and how their plan backfired.

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Reply How a Christian Fighter Pilot and FOX News Tried to Stop Fort Bragg Atheist Festival (And Failed) [View all]
Hissyspit Mar 2012 OP
GopperStopper2680 Mar 2012 #1
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hifiguy Mar 2012 #7
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