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Nobody should be glad bigotry forced cadet out

In the Dec. 13 News, a letter writer expressed disgust at a West Point cadet who quit in response to the stifling and oppressive religiosity of the academy (“West Point cadet who quit lacks respect, backbone.”)

In reality, this cadet demonstrated rare courage. As a veteran myself, I can attest to the fact that a certain brand of Christianity is favored by many military leaders. However, contrary to popular opinion, the United States is not a Christian nation, and the Bible is not our guiding document. That would be the non-religious U.S. Constitution.

This cadet’s action no more mocks our history than did the actions of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks or anyone else who ever stood up for that which is right. This brave cadet showed disrespect to no one. However, it is not surprising that those of a theocratic mind-set might be offended by one who does not want religion rammed down his or her throat.

The cadet was understandably offended by being referred to as a heathen, even if “only” in an allegedly joking manner, by his instructors. Has the writer never heard of racist, sexist or anti-gay jokes told by those who are “only kidding”? Indeed, humor has always been one of the ways in which oppressors keep others down.

No one in his right mind should be “glad he quit the academy.” On the contrary, this is a sad day for the U.S. military. It shows that bigotry against nonreligious military members is socially acceptable to all too many people in this society.

Norm Allen

Buffalo