It’s that time of year again — time for all those National Prayer Breakfasts at military bases, and the speakers scheduled for some of them this year definitely fall into the WTF category. But none so far beats the choice of West Point — none other than retired Lt. Gen. Jerry “my god is bigger than your god” Boykin!
On Feb. 8, 2012, the United States Military Academy at West Point is planning to host a National Prayer Breakfast featuring ret. Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, an individual who has a long record of issuing hate-filled rhetoric about Muslims.
Here’s what Boykin has said about Muslims in the past: there should be “no mosques in America“; Muslims worship an “idol“; “Islam is a totalitarian way of life, it’s not just a religion”; “it should not be protected under the First Amendment”; Muslims operate “under an obligation todestroy our Constitution.”
UPDATE: More from thinkprogress.org – West Point’s excuse in response to Vote Vets objection to the choice of Boykin.
MRFF, of course, has clients at West Point who are also objecting to Boykin, and we’ll be dealing with this on our end well into the night tonight. More to come …
UPDATE 2: MRFF president Mikey Weinstein just had two conference calls with faculty and cadets at West Point. Some of these faculty members and cadets were actually involved in working on the Prayer Breakfast, but WERE NOT TOLD that the speaker was going to be Boykin until today!
Prior to today, MRFF only had 19 clients at West Point; that just went up to 79, including 66 who are objecting to Boykin. (The breakdown is 12 faculty members, all of whom are Christians; and 54 cadets — 48 Christians, 3 Jews, and 3 Muslims.)
UPDATE 3: As of this morning, 15 more faculty members and 20 more cadets have joined those already objecting to Boykin, some citing West Point’s response to Vote Vets as their reason for adding themselves to the initial group. The religious breakdown of the now 101 is basically the same as before, with the addition of one atheist cadet, who was appalled by the Academy’s Public Affairs Office justifying inviting Boykin by saying that the cadets need to be “exposed to different perspectives” and hear a “broad range of ideas.”
One of the faculty members, speaking on behalf of himself and all the other faculty members, eight of which had a conference call with Mikey Weinstein last night, provided the following statement to MRFF:
To: MRFF and Mikey Weinstein
Mikey, I was one of the West Point faculty members on the emergency conference call with you last night. Thank you from all of us for taking that call. I am now the unofficial spokesperson for a twenty-seven of us on the faculty (more will joining shortly too) here who are of like mind on the terrible choice by West Point in inviting retired Lt. General William Boykin to be the featured speaker at the West Point “National Prayer Breakfast” on February 8. Mikey, I am a West Point graduate and I am a Protestant. In fact, all twenty-seven of us are either Protestant or Roman Catholic. I am also a multiple-tour, Iraq/Afghanistan heavy combat veteran, much of it hand-to-hand. I am a decorated combat soldier as are many of my colleagues who have reached out to you and the MRFF. I could go on for pages about the insane idiocy of extending this invitation to the anti-Muslim bigot Boykin but I don’t have the time to compose that tome. Suffice it to say that the horrible consequences of the prejudiced message sent ’round-the-world by this official West Point invitation to Boykin is all but incalculable. The true price to be exacted, by granting this high profile speaking engagement to the bigot Boykin, will shamefully be paid in blood, and the blood of innocents. The President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the most senior U.S. Army leadership have made it absolutely imperative to win the hearts and minds of our Islamic allies, and potential allies, by making it clear that Americans are NOT Christian crusaders who hate Muslims. That mantra is the prime maxim for all of our troops in combat down range in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Islamic lands. This rubric is what we are all supposed to be teaching our West Point cadets from Day One here at the Academy. It is so sad to see the West Point spin controllers in Public Affairs trying to justify the unjustifiable by arguing that having this hater Boykin speak at this particular religious event will somehow “broaden the intellectual horizons” of our Corps of Cadets. That assertion is specious and transparently a lie and very poorly articulated lie at that. Let me, on behalf of the other West Point faculty I represent, make this one point very clear to you, Mikey; though it violates our United States Constitution and the sworn oaths we all took to support and defend it, West Point has an “official religion” and it’s evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity. And THAT is precisely why this prejudiced racist Boykin has been invited to disgrace our Academy with his Islamophobic filth at this religious event. We know that you know this fact. We thank you, Mikey and the MRFF, for being there to represent all of us because if any of us raised even the slightest hand in protest, the consequences would be devastating to both our professional and personal lives. Please don’t think less of us because of our fears to come forward publicly. Please help us get West Point to withdraw this speaking invitation to a man who aggressively hates so many for simply existing as human beings.
(West Point Faculty Member’s name, rank, title and Faculty Department withheld)