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Camp Pendleton Rejects Atheist Music Festival

Letter from Camp Pendleton officials rejecting atheist festival.

Camp Pendleton officials have rejected a request by Rock Beyond Belief to hold a music festival celebrating atheism on the military base, according to festival organizers.

In the rejection letter, provided by the group American Atheists, a Camp Pendleton official states that providing logistical support for the festival would not be possible...

"...due to the substantial monetary and personnel support required."

A little background: The folks behind Rock Beyond Belief held the first-ever (and so far, only) atheist music festival on a U.S. military base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina back in March 2012. In speaking about the rally, Col. Stephen Sicinski (former Fort Bragg Garrison commander) told Reuters:

"We don't treat soldiers who are atheists as atheists. We treat them as soldiers."

Yet, Reuters reports the vast majority of U.S. service members are religious:

Christianity... dominates the religious makeup of the military. Only about 8,000 out of 1.4 million active duty members in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force identify themselves as atheists, and another 1,800 say they are agnostic...

Still, Rock Beyond Belief organizers say they deserve the same treatment from Camp Pendleton officials as Christian groups who've held large music festivals on base. They've already re-submitted their request to hold the festival at Camp Pendleton.

What do you think of the effort by Rock Beyond Belief to hold an atheist music festival at Camp Pendeton?

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Avatar for user 'wallallison'

wallallison | January 14, 2013 at 11:07 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

i think KPBS' description of the event you linked to as being a "christian music festival" is a serious misrepresentation and you should correct it. it was a dinner celebrating the wounded warrior battalion. any group, including an atheist one, could have sponsored that dinner, it just so happens a church did. bad reporting, false reporting, very obviously biased reporting. glad my tax dollars are going to this kind of journalism...

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Avatar for user 'Beth Ford Roth'

Beth Ford Roth, KPBS Staff | January 15, 2013 at 1:41 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

The link you mention is to an article written by Marine Lance Cpl. Crystal Druery, who described the event as - and I quote - "a dinner and concert" where - quoting again - "Mercy Me, a Christian band, played several songs." In fact, the title of the article is "Christian Band Rocks Wounded Warriors." Here is a link for readers who want to look for themselves:

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Avatar for user 'wallallison'

wallallison | January 15, 2013 at 8:05 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

it was a Wounded Warrior Battalion appreciation dinner and concert sponsored by a church - would you want a church that is sponsoring the event to play music other than christian music?

it was not a music "festival" supporting religion. a music festival would indicate many, many, bands playing - not one band playing "several" songs. if a music festival was advertised as such, and patrons went and saw one band play "several" songs, they would most likely want their money back. comparing it to a festival is where i have my issues.

the focus of the event was on the wounded warriors, lifting their spirits, saying thank you to them for their service, etc....

and, again, ANYONE can sponsor a wounded warrior event. why don't the atheist choose to support the wounded warrior battalion on pendleton with a dinner and concert of their own - i am sure the atheist wounded warriors would appreciate it.

quote from the very beginning of the article, "Weapons and Field Training Battalion hosted a dinner and concert for the Wounded Warriors Battalion at Edson Range...".

KPBS' very obvious bias against christianity is on full display - and like i said - it's good to know my tax dollars are going to biased journalism.

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Avatar for user 'viking7686'

viking7686 | January 22, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

It pains me to see mis-informed or uninformed people spouting off at the wrong person/s.

Rock Beyond Belief is a response to "Rock the Fort". Billy Graham, in cooperation with Fort Bragg had a Christian Rock (if you can call it that) concert spreading a christian message... proselytizing. I attached a link, I hope you will look at it and respond here about why the Atheists cannot have a concert at Camp Pendelton.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 22, 2013 at 10:44 p.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

And KPBS felt obligated to reprint the letter because . . .

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Avatar for user 'viking7686'

viking7686 | January 23, 2013 at 5:56 a.m. ― 4 years, 2 months ago

The letter shows the reasons for not allowing the rally, but compare it to the site I posted earlier and ask yourself.... is it fair compared to what they did for the same event in christian clothes.
"There is simply nothing we can do about (the rise of atheism) but accept it and hope they do not treat christians the way christians treated them" Youth Pastor (name withheld)

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