This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Fort Bragg Guarantees Criticism of Organized Religion and Adherents


FORT BRAGG, NC – Commanders at Fort Bragg have made peace with organizers of the looming atheist festival they approved late last year. Colonel Stephen Sicinski - Bragg’s Garrison Commander - has now issued an official statement that specifically protects speech critical of religion.

Colonel Sicinski explains, “I want to assure you that Fort Bragg will not discriminate against speech on the basis of its viewpoint. Stated another way, I understand and respect that there will be ample discussion about atheism and/or humanism during the festival and that the speakers may criticize organized religion or its practitioners.”

Colonel Sicinski’s statement was prompted by controversy generated by a Fox News story about some lyrics from a rock band on the festival’s lineup. The article suggested that the rock band Aiden’s song ‘Hysteria’ was encouraging attendees to burn down churches. Lead singer of Aiden, William Control, emphatically stated that his lyrics were taken out of context. He was referring to his disapproval of religious fanatics burning books and buildings of rival religious groups.

Justin Griffith said “The Fox News hatchet-job sort of backfired. They prompted death threats from extremist Christians displaying exactly the type of behavior that Aiden sings about. Colonel Sicinski’s written promise to protect statements critical of religion proves that he really does support us.” Griffith is the primary event organizer and Military Director for American Atheists.

Festival headliner Richard Dawkins will be joined by several prominent musicians and speakers. Fort Bragg expects around 5,000 soldiers and civilians will attend the free all-day event called ‘Rock Beyond Belief’ on Saturday, March 31st.

The event was inspired by a controversial evangelical Christian effort targeting non-Christians for conversion. Prior to the initial evangelical effort, many organizations demanded its cancellation. Rather than cancelling, Fort Bragg commanders issued a promise to provide an equal level of support any other group. The lineup of the secular festival will feature the presidents of three of these groups. Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF’s Dan Barker), and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF’s Mikey Weinstein) and American Atheists’ David Silverman will each be speaking.

Justin Griffith said “If evangelical Christians have a problem with criticism of their religion, they need to stop inviting the conversation. Colonel Sicinski made the right call, and we appreciate his statement. Foxhole atheists are fighting for your rights, please return the favor by standing with us at Fort Bragg on March 31st.”

Rock Beyond Belief is an American Atheists event. It was made possible by a $50,000 donation from the Steifel Freethought Foundation. For more information on the event, check the festival’s website.


Other Resources and Information

Trailer for Rock Beyond Belief: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6kJ_EwwnD4 Please feel free to link to or embed this in your online publications.

Hotel: with discount rate: Holiday Inn Bordeaux 910-323-0111. Ask for the discount rate for RBB. (You must contact them by phone, their website is not working). The official American Atheists after-party will be here, with lots of access to our lineup.

To get on post: you will need a valid photo ID and vehicles need registration/proof of insurance. Fort Bragg is providing additional personnel to handle the surge of traffic expected for this event. Civilians are absolutely welcome.

Disclaimer: Justin Griffith is an active duty soldier, but does not speak on behalf of the DoD or the Army. No DoD endorsement is implied.

CONTACT: Primary Email: jgriffith@atheists.org

Alt email address: rockbeyondbelief@rockbeyondbelief.com
Phone (239) 689-0323

TAGGED: ATHEISM, CONFERENCES


RELATED CONTENT

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader

Robert F. Worth - New York Times Comments

A great article about Jerry DeWitt and the growing presence of atheist communities

Playboy Interview with Richard Dawkins

Chip Rowe - Playboy Comments

Playboy Interview with Richard Dawkins

Atheists On Religion, Science, And...

- - YouTube - townsquare Comments

Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').

Atheists find a new venue for the...

Kimberly Winston - Washington Post Comments

Last weekend, the Atheist Film Festival showed more than a dozen films about separation of church and state, freedom of religion (and no religion), the conflict between science and religion in public schools.

Albert Einstein's Historic 1954 "God...

- - eBay auction Comments

Albert Einstein's Historic 1954 "God Letter" Handwritten Shortly Before His Death

MORE

MORE BY JUSTIN GRIFFITH

Military funds marriage seminar by...

Justin Griffith - - Comments

Military funds marriage seminar by Pentecostal fans of Newt Gingrich

Atheist Chaplain’s Assistant delivers...

Justin Griffith - - Comments

Atheist Chaplain’s Assistant delivers powerful speech

Church puts Pat Tillman on a Christian...

Justin Griffith - Freethought Blogs -... 28 Comments

Church puts Pat Tillman on a Christian cross for Memorial Day

Protest against the “Punch your gay...

Justin Griffith - Freethought Blogs -... 67 Comments

Police say 500 expected at our Protest of the pastor who said to 'punch your gay kids' [time sensitive]

Military Blocks Atheist Efforts to Feed...

Justin Griffith - RBB - Press Release 31 Comments

MILITARY BLOCKS ATHEISTS EFFORTS TO FEED HOMELESS
Fort Bragg Stops ‘Rock Beyond Belief’ Festival’s Attempt to Feed Hungry Veterans

Military A-Week: How to put ATHEIST on...

Justin Griffith - Rock Beyond Belief 19 Comments

Military A-Week: How to put ATHEIST on your records (all branches)

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment