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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint

    Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint

    Posted in Christmas Under Attack, Top Stories | 0 comments

    Courtesy of Christian Fighter Pilo

    Dec 11, 2012
    By Todd Starnes

    The Navy directed service members serving in Bahrain to cancel and dismantle a “Live Nativity” after receiving a complaint from a military atheist group who said the manger scene endangered Americans serving in a Muslim country and violated the U .S. Constitution.

    The chaplain at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain confirmed to Fox News the nativity scene was cancelled – but referred any further comments to the NSA’s public information officer.

    The “Live Nativity” was a long-standing tradition at NSA Bahrain that featured the children of military personnel dressed as shepherds, wise men, along with Mary and Joseph. It was part of a larger festival that included a tree lighting, Christmas music and photographs with Santa Claus and a camel.

    But the Military Association of Athe
    ists and Freethinkers objected to the Nativity and filed a complaint with the Navy’s Inspector General. They argued the Nativity promoted “Christianity as the official religion of the base.”

    The atheist group also worried that the Nativity put service members in danger.

    “Also of concern is the likelihood that the predominantly Muslim local population will see the U.S. military as a Christian force rather than a secular military support U.S. – but not necessarily Christian values in their Muslim country,” the MAAF wrote in their complaint. “This even threatens U.S. security and violates the Constitution as well as command policy.”

    “It’s unconstitutional, it’s bad for the military and in a Muslim country it’s dangerous,” MAAF spokesman Jason Torpy told Fox News.

    “Upon further review, the CRP (Command Religious Program) will be removing the Living Nativity Program from the general base secular holiday festivities and co-locating it more appropriately with some of our other private religious and faith-based observances at the chapel at a separate time,” read a statement the Navy reportedly sent the NAAF.

    Some service members in Bahrain told Fox News called the cancellation heartbreaking and children who were supposed to act in the Nativity were devastated.

    “It was horrible,” said one officer who asked not to be identified. “It was devastating. Here we are serving in the Middle East, defending our country and other people’s religions and we couldn’t understand why we can’t enjoy our own religious freedoms.”

    Crews had already started building the Nativity structure, but orders were given to have it dismantled.

    “You can go outside the gate and hear Christmas music, but on the base you can’t have a Nativity,” said another officer. “The sense of hypocrisy is overwhelming.”

    Torpy said the idea that the Nativity has been a long-cherished tradition at NSA Bahrain doesn’t make it right. He compared it to slavery.

    “We’re talking about the United States promoting Christianity to defenseless little kids in bathrobes,” he told Fox News.

    “We’re talking about the United States government saying, ‘Hey – we’re going to have a bunch of kids out here and we’re going to promote Christianity in a Muslim country to service members.’”

    The website Christian Fighter Pilot first exposed the controversy – and noted sarcastically that service members in Bahrain “have now experienced the friendly influence of atheism on their holiday.”

    Pastors and religious liberty advocates are expressing shock and outrage over the yuletide controversy.

    “It is unthinkable that our own military would violate the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religious expression–a freedom that our forefathers sacrificed their lives to provide for us,” said Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.

    “Taxpayers give the military hundreds of billions of dollars every year to protect our constitutional freedoms, not to trample upon them.”

    Ron Crews, of Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Fox News he was disappointed the Navy “has caved in and not stood their ground to allow military personnel to express their religious beliefs.”

    “It appears we have some leaders who have become overly sensitive to any threat of a lawsuit,” Crews said. “This is another example of this group’s effort to promote freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion.”

    Crews said it’s nothing less than a “war on Christmas.”

    Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Institute, said the law is clearly on the side of the service members.

    “Once again the Grinches prove their hearts are two sizes too small,” Sasser told Fox News. “The Supreme Court already saved nativity Christmas displays in 1984 and the Navy of all organizations shouldn’t back down against Grinches when law and history are on its side.”

    Torpy said he is pleased with how the Navy handled the matter.

    “We want to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to exercise their religion freely and we want to make sure people on the base have fun and exciting activities available for them without feeling like the base itself is establishing Christianity as the preferred belief system,” he told Fox News.

    Navy Cancels Nativity over Atheist Complaint | FOX News & Commentary: Todd Starnes

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Interesting comments on the MAAF site (
    Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers), p
    oviding community for atheists, humanists, and other nontheists in the military.

    .GunBoss14 hours ago
    I read your page with an open mind after reading the article on the nativity scene at NSA Bahrain. I leave your page with the realization that your group is full of close minded folks who wish to shut down all who don't agree with your beliefs.Free speech - but only for those who agree with you. Thus, you are just as bad as the closed minded Christians (a distinct minority of American Christians) who you have started a Crusade against.
    Shameful you are allowed to use the term "Military" in your title, since from my experience (over 25 years of service) your opinion is in the level of "lunatic fringe" in the active duty ranks - that is the war-fighters, not the lawyers, medical service corps, quartermaster, and the rest of the "tail."
    Good luck at Judgement Day, I'll pray for you regardless of how much y
    ou wish to shut me up

    Surlycmd 17 hours ago

    As a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer and an Atheist, I think you have gone too far. I think you misunderstand the concept of the separation of church and state. A religious display on a Military installation under no circumstances pushes that belief on others.Your actions takes away Military families rights to celebrate how they wish. That is NOT what the 1st Amendment is about. Your organization and others like it seem to be petty and vindictive towards those who believe. I can't support anyone or group that bullies others. I don't want those who believe to push their faith on me and I won't push my lack of beliefs on them.
    Steven Hargett 16 hours ago

    I suppose we could expect no less from a priest of the Athiest faith / religeon.
    You have an aversion to any form of religion other than your own being proselytized. So
    I suppose you will be able to enjoy yourself with the glowing thought that you
    have ruined the entire evening for a large number of children and adults.

    Did you even hear what you were saying in your article? You believe that the attendance or participation of children in a nativity scene is a form of Slavery? Are you out of your mind? Would it be possible for you to be any more offensive?
    It was so nice of you to give them "your" permission to hold the nativity in private, but
    you should stop lying to everyone. You probably had the lawsuit lined up if
    they nativity was still held in a private location. After all you own words
    state attendance or participation in a nativity scene is a form of slavery. So
    I am fairly sure you were waiting with your lawyers on speed dial.

    The Declaration of independence specifically states "We hold these truths to
    be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
    Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
    the pursuit of Happiness." This is the second sentence of the Declaration
    of independence, and the second time that God is referenced as a proper noun.
    The last clause of the Declaration of Independence states "And for the
    support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
    Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our
    sacred Honor."

    Obviously you have no clue what the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and
    the Bill of Rights are, what they means, or the intention of our founding
    fathers who wrote them.

    So if your belief in your religion in some way makes you feel that you are as you
    stated "a second-class citizen or outright traitor" it is entirely
    your own problem, and has nothing to do with the rest of us. Our nation was
    founded on Christian beliefs, values, and morays. Additionally, the 1st Amendment
    ensures that all citizens have the freedom OF religion, and in no way limits
    it. In fact it says the very opposite.

    Maybe your life would have some meaning if you spent your time contributing to our society, and not devoting yourself to its destruction. How sad your life or
    lives must be to fill you with the resolve required to spread loneliness, despair, and intolerance to as many people as possible.

    Steven Hargett
    Merry Christmas!

    A Tale of Three Christmases at NSA Bahrain, Schofield Barracks, and Fort Belvoir - Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers | Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers
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