Fort Bragg Officials Reverse Course on Secular Festival
August 3, 2011
The secular festival Rock Beyond Belief will now come to fruition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 31, 2012, after military authorities there reversed course and approved the event that will feature an array of music and speakers including famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.
The Rock Beyond Belief event was planned in response to Fort Bragg’s sponsorship, endorsement, and overwhelming support of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s Christian evangelical concert, called Rock the Fort, held last year. When secularists around the country protested the government’s support of this event and requested that it be canceled, officials at Fort Bragg justified their support by stating the same level of support would be provided to anyone who organized a similar event.
That pledge proved to be untrue when Fort Bragg officials, led by garrison commander Col. Stephen J. Sicinski, initially denied Rock Beyond Belief organizers the use of an outdoor venue and financial support. The Center for Inquiry (CFI) previously condemned those discriminatory actions as both an outrageous misuse of power and potentially illegal, and applauds the base’s decision to approve and support Rock Beyond Belief.