Dec. 6, 2012
A young man has resigned from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point about six months shy of graduation. He cites discriminatory and hostile actions directed at him because of his public profession of atheism.
Blake Page is being hailed as a hero by Mikey Weinstein, the professional anti-religionist and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein compares Page's act to Tibetan monks who self-immolate and Rosa Parks, the civil rights heroine.
Page says he wants to write a book about the discrimination he faced in the military for his atheism, even though West Point allowed him to found a Secular Student Alliance club complete with a faculty advisor.
Neglected in the effusion of liberal enthusiasm for Page's erstwhile martyrdom is that he suffers from clinical depression, for which reason he was told he would not be commissioned an officer in the Army. More precisely:
The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination this semester that he could not become an officer because of clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.
Clinical depression is a medical condition. University Health Services at the University of California-Berkeley says clinical depression is:
... a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Individuals with clinical depression are unable to function as they used to. Often they have lost interest in activities that were once enjoyable to them, and feel sad and hopeless for extended periods of time. Clinical depression is not the same as feeling sad or depressed for a few days and then feeling better. It can affect your body, mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can change your eating habits, how you feel and think, your ability to work and study, and how you interact with people.
Clinical depression has organic roots. It is a serious illness. Like any other serious illness, it renders one unfit to serve in military leadership.
Blake Page needs compassion and help, not publicity or exploitation by those who wish to use his professed atheism as a pretext for scrubbing the Armed Forces of their heritage of Judeo-Christian faith. It's my prayer he will get it.