U.S. Military Academy Pulls Postgame Prayer Video Following Complaint
ICC Note: As previously reported, complaints gathered by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) arose after a video was posted online of the West Point football team praying after a game. The video has since been taken offline while an investigation is underway regarding the matter. The MRFF has reported that they received approximately 90 complaints regarding the prayer.
By Heather Clark
09/15/2016 United States (Christian News Network) – The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has pulled a postgame prayer video from its social media page following a complaint from a church-state separation group and is investigation whether the prayer was violative of the rights of players.
According to reports, after West Point’s football team defeated Temple University on Friday, the athletics department posted a video of the locker room celebration to social media. The video allegedly included footage of West Point head coach Jeff Monken asking a staff member to lead the group in prayer.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), led by Mikey Weinstein, soon contacted West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen to assert that the prayer was inappropriate. Weinstein claims he received 90 complaints over the matter.
On Monday, the video was removed and replaced with edited footage that only shows the group saying “amen.”
“Maybe 90 percent of the people who were out there supported the prayer,” Caslen told the Washington Post. “But, when you look at it from a legal basis and from a legal standpoint, and then you look at it from a leadership standpoint, there were some concerns, and I think they’re valid concerns.”
“It creates an atmosphere where it is expected from everybody to say a prayer regardless of their faith or no faith,” he stated. “It’s like me as the superintendent of the Corps of Cadets saying, ‘Let’s take a knee and say a prayer together.’ I don’t have the authority to do that. I cannot use my position of authority—my public position of authority—to direct my subordinates to do something that is inconsistent with their rights. So, that’s probably where we crossed the line.”