Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Religion and the military

One other thing bothered me about the laundry list of calumny that I responded to yesterday. It contrasted a hypothetical "you" clutching a cell phone, with an equally hypothetical "he" clutching the cross next to his dog tags. Back on the winter solstice, I wrote:

I hate this feeling that the war sits on my shoulders in a way that it doesn't sit on most of our lawmakers' shoulders. I wonder in what world of delusion some of them are sitting to imagine we can take the additional burden of an expanded presence. I wonder how many will sit this season, half hearing Christmas carols and sermons invoking peace on Earth and goodwill to man, and keep them in a completely separate compartment from the war that is being waged in our names, and in the name of the "Prince of Peace". And do not mistake: it is. I think the speech that made me the most angry at my father's homecoming was the minister who blessed the returning troops, making it very clear that Jesus was blessing their fight against the Foe. My mom, who is Christian, said afterwards that she had been very uncomfortable herself and couldn't imagine what it had been like for my husband and myself. I wondered what it must have been like for the young woman in hijab, holding her young child (obviously born during the early part of the deployment) in her lap.

Not every soldier is Christian. Some are Jews, athiests, agnostics, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, and yes, Muslims. And even some of those who are Christian do not buy the propaganda. My dad also expressed some discomfort with the sermon preached that day.

I've been there for swearing in ceremonies. I remember my dad swearing in a chaplain (who, yes, was Christian). Both stood there, in a bare parlor, standing to attention, right hands upraised, reciting the oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. There was no Bible involved, though there certainly were several available. This, you see, was not about religious study. It was about promising to serve. And while his decision to do that was informed by his faith, the chaplain would have been the first to tell you that others serve, too.

So stop insulting and marginalizing the service members who don't think or believe the way you do. It is unworthy of the sacrifice they make in agreeing to serve at the will of the nation. And realize that one can criticize those who thwart the will of the nation and abuse our soldiers, because that is the way we can serve them.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous met ad nauseam said...

Completely agreed. I can't wait for the religious communities in America to figure out that neither side fights for their interests specifically.

I specifically mean that I can't wait for the Christian Coalition to figure out the Republican party isn't interested in anything except making rich people richer and using religious rhetoric to do it (not that the Democrats wouldn't also fall into the trap of using religious rhetoric if they held the majority of a religious voting bloc).

I am going to add you to my blogroll (ugh, I hate these 'blog' words) if that is alright with you. I'll wait for your response.

7/11/2007 12:13 PM  
Anonymous metadnauseam said...

more than welcome to add me to your link list.

7/11/2007 5:25 PM  
Blogger Rae Trigg said...

I hope you went back and posted this, or at least some of it, on "Shipwrecked in Carolina"'s post. People with that attitude need to be reminded that women and non-Christians also serve in the military.

7/12/2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

"Shipwrecked in Carolina" didn't agree with the original thing he posted. He is a navy veteran who opposes the administration stance on the war. (The title of the post there may in fact be an alternate spelling of whoa.) He posted a comment making this abundantly clear, and also posted that he reads this blog regularly.

7/12/2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger Rae Trigg said...

Ah, in that case I withdraw my earlier comment. I guess I didn't read closely enough when I went to look at the post.

7/12/2007 7:12 PM  

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