RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A concert event organized by atheist, agnostic and other non-theist soldiers has been cleared by the Army to take place next spring at Fort Bragg, concert organizers and a spokesman for the post said Monday.
Organizers planned to hold the Rock Beyond Belief event this year, but they canceled after saying Bragg leadership was not providing the same support it gave to an evangelical Christian concert last fall.
Supporters hailed the Army's decision.
"You know those goosebumps you get when your favorite song hits that sweet spot? I got those," said Sgt. Justin Griffith, main organizer of the event and the military director of American Atheists, in an email. "I was overcome with joy and a sense of vindication."
The plan is to hold the event on March 31 at the main parade field at Fort Bragg, where the Christian-themed Rock the Fort concert was held. Famed atheist Richard Dawkins is scheduled to appear, along with musicians, speakers and other entertainment.
"This just might be the turning point in our struggle for acceptance," Griffith said. "I mean it. I get letters daily from service members asking for advice on how to `do something like what's going on at Fort Bragg'."
Final approval for the event came last week, Bragg spokesman Ben Abel said. The festival will get the same treatment from Bragg that other groups receive, he said.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011