Bancroft Echoes

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By Alumni of the United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Noon Meal Grace to Continue in King Hall 

Navy keeps lunch prayer
U.S. court ruling on VMI doesn't sway academy; Church-state separation at issue; Maryland ACLU chapter criticizes decision.

By Ariel Sabar
Sun Staff
Originally published in the Baltimore Sun August 25, 2003

   A chaplain will continue to lead grace before lunch at the Naval Academy, despite a series of federal court rulings striking down a nearly identical practice at the Virginia Military Institute as a violation of church-state separation.
   A Navy spokesman said Friday that Navy lawyers have reviewed the rulings by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and decided that the academy's grace, said at weekday lunches that all 4,000 midshipmen must attend, is legal.
   The decision leaves the Naval Academy as the only U.S. service academy that routinely offers a prayer before meals, and it drew an immediate rebuke from the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The group all but invited midshipmen to sue the school.
[read rest of article...]

Seems to me the ACLU has absolutely no grasp of how things work at the Academy (or in the military at all for that matter). Let's face it, even the most adamant atheist would not jeopardize their naval career (or prospect of one) by suing the Academy. I had a classmate sue a group of senior officers including the 'Dant (and win!); it took congressional action to keep him from being nickle-and-dimed out, and when he got to flight school he could never get off the waiting list from pre-flight in Pensacola to get to a training squadron--I don't know if he ever got his wings. Supposedly he told a classmate of ours he was gong to be a Navy pilot "...if I have to buy a damn Lear jet and paint 'NAVY' on the side". On top of that, anyone who's psyche is so fragile that they would be irreparably damaged by having to listen to a prayer would (should!) never make it past plebe summer.