Last week, I wrote about Air Force Major Jonathan C. Dowty, a.k.a. the Christian Fighter Pilot, spreading a rumor that Rock Beyond Belief, the secular festival being held at Fort Bragg on March 31, might be cancelled. As I said then, there is no truth whatsoever to what Major Dowty wrote. Rock Beyond Belief is absolute happening.
In his blog post, Major Dowty provided absolutely nothing to support his rumor. His imagined cancellation of Rock Beyond Belief was nothing more than wishful speculation on his part, although his headline and opening paragraphs implied that he had some real reason to assert that Rock Beyond Belief might be cancelled.(Major Dowty has a long track record of implying things on his blog that are completely untrue.)
Both myself and my fellow FTB blogger Ed Brayton, who, incidentally, is going to be the emcee at Rock Beyond Belief, posted comments on Dowty’s blog post saying that Rock Beyond Belief was absolutely not being cancelled. Dowty responded by promising to “further” support his rumor this week (even though you can’t “further” support something that you haven’t supported AT ALL yet).
In his post last week, Major Dowty’s speculation that Rock Beyond Belief might be cancelled was based on nothing but his own vague assertion that the event would be unable to follow the military’s rules. But Dowty never actually got around to giving any specific way in which he thought Rock Beyond Belief would be unable to follow these unspecified military rules. He merely gave his spin on the reasons that the event, originally planned for last September, had to be cancelled and rescheduled for March, none of which is relevant to the currently planned event.
Of course, Major Dowty, as he often does, alluded to knowing something more, and insinuating that the event’s organizers were keeping some big bombshell secret, writing:
“At this point, it is inconceivable how it is even possible for them to both follow military restrictions and still have their event as they’ve planned it.
“What restrictions, you wonder? Perhaps you should ask them…”
All of this, of course left Rock Beyond Belief’s organizers and everyone else wondering what the hell Major Dowty was blathering about.
Well, this morning Major Dowty attempted to explain himself with not one but two new blog lengthy posts, titled “Fort Bragg to Host Anti-Religion Band at Atheist Rock Beyond Belief” and “Atheist Rock Beyond Belief Books its own Franklin Grahams” — over 3,000 words in which all he actually does is to speculate that Rock Beyond Belief won’t be able to stick to the rule that its performers and speakers not denigrate any religion. This was his big bombshell? His reason for saying that the event might be cancelled?
First of all, Major Dowty, never deficient in his utter lack of logic, doesn’t seem to realize the big flaw in his thinking. How on earth could an event that hasn’t occurred yet be cancelled before it occurs due to what the speakers and performers might do at the event while it’s actually occurring?
The impossibility of canceling an event after it’s already occurred aside, here’s Dowty’s reasoning, if you can call it that, about why Rock Beyond Belief won’t be able to follow the rules: The atheist performers and speakers at the event have said (and sang) things that denigrate religion, therefore they are incapable of speaking and performing without breaking the military’s rule against denigrating religion.
Really? The Rock Beyond Belief organizers are going to have the band Aiden (the example used by Dowty) singing songs with adult lyrics like “Christ died for shit” and “Fuck your God” at a family-friendly event? News flash for Major Dowty: Just because a performer has songs with lyrics like that doesn’t mean they’re going to sing them at a family-friendly event! Believe it or not, Major Dowty, atheist performers, just like any other performers, really can discern between what might be appropriate for an adult audience in a club and what is appropriate for a family event on a military base! Apparently, the major is afraid that in between activities such as face painting, the evil atheists are planning to teach the kiddies to drop the f-bomb.
In his posts, Major Dowty makes many comparisons between Rock Beyond Belief and the activities of Franklin Graham, and comparisons would be expected given that the idea for Rock Beyond Belief was born when Fort Bragg hosted the fundamentalist Christian “Rock the Fort” event in September 2010, an event run by Franklin Graham’s organization. But again, Major Dowty’s remarkable lack of logic and critical thinking skills come shining through.
Dowty, through his lens of Christian supremacy, is just incapable of seeing that the Rock the Fort speakers’ (allowable) message that you’ll burn forever in the pits of hell if you don’t accept Jesus as your lord and savior is every bit as much of a denigration of all other beliefs as an atheist speaker’s message that atheists don’t believe there’s a god. Either both are impermissibly denigrating all beliefs but their own, or both are just permissibly espousing their opinions. You can’t have one set of rules for the Christians who spoke at Rock the Fort and another set for the atheists and other heathens who will be speaking at Rock Beyond Belief.
Major Dowty doesn’t think Rock Beyond Belief’s keynote speaker, Richard Dawkins, will be able to follow the rules. Now, I don’t know what Dr. Dawkins plans on speaking about, but I’d imagine it would be something along the lines of his Out Campaign, the message of which would certainly be within the military’s rules, not to mention fitting the mission of the Rock Beyond Belief event to a tee. But, Major Dowty seems to think that because Dr. Dawkins has made statements in other venues that would not be allowed at this event, he won’t be capable of giving a speech that follows the rules. Well, Franklin Graham has also said plenty of things in other venues that wouldn’t be allowed according to the military’s rules, but that, of course, is different.
And, finally, Major Dowty just can’t seem to write about anything without working in a little bashing of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). While MRFF is participating in Rock Beyond Belief, with Mikey Weinstein speaking and the foundation having a booth at the event, the event is not being run by MRFF. It’s being run by my fellow FTB blogger, the incredible SGT Justin Griffith. Nevertheless, Major Dowty found a way to work MRFF into his posts, by claiming hypocrisy on the part of Weinstein for MRFF getting Franklin Graham disinvited from speaking at the Pentagon National Day of Prayer event in 2010.
“To Weinstein, Graham’s ‘anti-Islamic bigotry’ was enough to disqualify him from speaking, by invitation of chaplains, at a voluntary National Day of Prayer event attended by a willing audience.”
Actually, Graham’s prior anti-Muslim statements were NOT enough to disqualify him from speaking at the Pentagon, although they should have been. MRFF knew this, and, as I wrote at the time, had another reason for getting Graham disinvited from the Pentagon — the regulation prohibiting the endorsement of a non-federal entity. Graham was the chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the private organization run by Shirley Dobson that has hijacked the National Day of Prayer and turned it into an exclusively Christian event. Since Dobson’s Task Force is a non-federal entity, the Pentagon couldn’t endorse it by having it’s National Day of Prayer event be an official National Day of Prayer Task Force event. Those were the grounds used by MRFF to get Franklin Graham disinvited from the Pentagon.
Ironically, to make his case, Major Dowty, still referring to the disinvitation to the Pentagon, continues:
“It had nothing to do with what Graham planned to say, but allegedly his prior speech about Islam.”
Funny how Major Dowty suddenly seemed to grasp the concept that you can’t predict what someone is going to say at an event that hasn’t happened yet based on their prior statements, isn’t it? I guess he can only see that when it comes to Christians, who of course can be trusted to be completely appropriate and follow the rules, unlike those untrustworthy atheists.