Fort Bragg Will Host Atheist Concert

Military agrees to give it same support it gave to Christian event
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2011 12:25 PM CDT
Fort Bragg Will Host Atheist Concert
This photo shows an entrance sign to Fort Bragg, NC, Tuesday, April 24, 2007.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(Newser) – Last fall a Christian-themed concert was held at Fort Bragg; next spring, an atheism-themed one will be staged there—and the Army will provide equal support. Rock Beyond Belief, an event organized by atheist, agnostic, and non-theist soldiers, was originally planned for this year, but organizers complained that leaders at Fort Bragg were not offering the same support they gave to last fall's Rock the Fort. Leaders have since promised to provide the venue, security, and basic utilities: "Our logistical support will be the same as what we did for Rock the Fort," says a spokesperson.

"This just might be the turning point in our struggle for acceptance," says Sgt. Justin Griffith, main organizer and military director of American Atheists. He got the idea for the concert when he heard about opposition to Rock the Fort from groups that champion the separation of church and state; in response, military leaders said the same considerations would be given to any private event. Griffith "decided to take them up on that," the AP notes. Even so, his victory shouldn't be seen as "a victory for atheism or agnosticism over any type of religion," says the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. "It's a victory for the Constitution." (Read more religious freedom stories.)

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