Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christian Military Principles, Huh!

My friend Kurt Navratil, who finds some of the damnedest stuff on the Internet, sent me this link about a group that pulled a scholarship from a school because the school system wouldn't allow a prayer at its ceremony.

Seems these old boys with an American Legion post in Indiana had endowed a scholarship at a school where they'd been holding a Veteran's Day ceremony for four decades. They opened the ceremony last year with one of those "in Jesus' name we pray" deals and the school, knowing what was coming from those who don't subscribe to public religion, balked and said "ceremony, yes," but "church, no."

Our heroes told the school they were retracting the scholarship because "we are a Christian-based country and a military based on Christian-based principles." You can have all the fun you want with that one, but I'll dodge it and snicker to myself.

I will, however, say that it is long past the time when we should stop celebrating, honoring, recognizing and encouraging warriors and war with all these ceremonies, "days," and memorials. We need to swap out Veteran's Day for Peacemakers' Day and knock down some of those memorials in order to replace them with pieces of art celebrating peacemakers. Set-aside battlefields need to be converted into useful parks where people can mingle and children can play with each other in harmony. As one old soldier once told me when a Civil War battlefield was threatened by development, "The boys who died there didn't die to create a memorial; they died--we like to think--to preserve a way of life. Using the battlefield is that way of life."

War's easy and takes absolutely no sense and less courage (warriors are almost always assigned). Peace requires thought and guts--especially in this country, where we celebrate war to the extent that the two optional wars we're fighting now have nearly bankrupted us in addition to killing hundreds of thousands of people--most of them innocents. It's simply insane.

(This response from Hank Bostwick: Please know that Mr. Smith's views of the military do not represent those of liberals and progressives in general. Though liberals, like myself, prefer war as a last resort, the effort to liberate the Jews in Germany, our involvement in halting genocide in places across our common planet, and the use of the military to facilitate humanitarian aid often necessitates the use of military force. Mr. Smith has taken one individual's unfortunate and insensitive statement and has made it seem that the U.S. Military is ideologically driven. Of course, we know how silly that is. But as to Greg's use of the term liberal to describe to Mr. Smith, a brief history lesson is in order. Liberals wanted to give more body armor to our soldiers in Iraq. Conservatives didn't. Liberals want to give military families the care they deserve. Right-wing ideologues like Republican Senator Coburn do not. Liberals created the Veterans Administration. Small government conservatives did not. Liberals created the GI Bill. Conservatives tried to stop the measure from passing. Liberals integrated the military before the rest of society caught on that equality is key to a civil society. Conservatives resisted the enlistment of African Americans. So, Greg, please have respect for liberals and do not paint all of us with a broad brush.)


  1. And thus it continues. This great country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion. Not freedom to worship in a Christian church, but as we choose. With the killings at Ft. Hood I expect all the religious crazies to put in an appearance.

    Keep in mind one of the best bumper stickers ever: The Christian Right Is Neither.

  2. Betsy: I have a bumper sticker that reads, "Jesus was a liberal." The only argument with that is verb tense.