Friday, September 27, 2013

Warning: Fanatic Attack

In all the noisy news about the budget crisis and Congressional deadlock, one story has sneaked past the public attention which it desperately deserves.  Quite simply, the Evangelical Church is trying to get control of the US military -- again.

While nobody was looking, Sen. Inhofe (Rep., Oklahoma) and Wicker (Rep., Mississippi) quietly introduced Senate Bill 3526, which they had the gall to label the "Military Religious Freedom Bill".  It allows military chaplains to refuse to perform marriages of people they don't like, prohibits same-sex marriages or even marriage-like ceremonies at military facilities.  As the Military Religious Freedom Foundation puts it:

"While private churches and chaplains are well within their rights to decline performing same-sex marriage ceremonies, military chaplains -- paid by federal dollars -- have a duty to serve all military members.  Military chaplains still retain the right to perform -- or not perform -- marriages of any kind.  However, this bill would remove the requirement to fulfill the needs of all military members by providing facilities and referrals where needed."

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, Rep. John Fleming (Rep., Louisiana) inserted a so-called "military religious freedom" amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act last month.  The bill says that the "Armed Forces shall accommodate the beliefs, actions and speech of a member of the Armed Forces", which sounds fine on the surface -- until you remember that the Evangelical Christian sects really-truly believe that they are under orders from God to convert everybody in reach to their brand of Christianity, and their "religious actions" include preaching at everybody they can reach -- whether those people want to be preached at or not. 

The Evangelicals call it "persecution" when they're forbidden to order everyone under their command to attend the officer's church, endure long sermons of the officer's chaplain, and swear pledges to the officer's faith.  In the past they've been shameless religious bullies, threatening and insulting members of other religions, even desecrating other people's places of worship, and now they wail about the loss of their power.  Never mind that their religion is, by definition, unconstitutional.  Never mind that the same "rights" they demand to push their own faith and bully others could equally be used by the radical Moslems.  Never mind that their pushing of religious insults in Iraq encouraged a lot of Iraqis to join the enemy ranks.

If there's anything our military doesn't need it's being pushed into a "Christian army" to launch a "Crusade" in the middle-east!  The best way to rid the world of the Jihadists is to encourage them to fight each other, not give them a common enemy that will weld them together.

So first we have to trot over to the petition-sites and sign petitions to defeat these so-called "Religious Freedom" bills.  Next, we have to block every attempt by the Evangelicals to gain legal or political power anywhere. 

Don't let them claim that "the Bible says" is an excuse for anything;  the Old Testament was never meant to be taken literally, not even by the people who wrote it.  The OT was written in Ancient Hebrew, which was a cobbled-together pidgin of at least 12 different tribal tongues.  As such, it was word-poor -- having less than 10,000 words.  This meant that each word had to carry the freight of several different meanings, and which meaning was intended had to be guessed from context.  This made a language very good for poetry, but very poor for precision or accuracy.  The inclusion of army camp manuals and topical political orders didn't help matters.  Scholars without personal religious axes to grind have been aware of this for centuries, but the professional religion-pushers still insist that their interpretation of this ancient book of mythology is the One And Only Truth.

And that way lies disaster.  We've seen what religious fanaticism has done to Islam;  we'd better beware of what it can do to religions closer to home.

--Leslie <;)))><   



Anonymous said...

One problem with religious writings in general is that stuff intended solely for contemporary audiences gets taken as advice for all times and places. Case in point: St. Paul's letters. My mom always said he was the "Dear Abby" of the early church, but that what he wrote was meant for his time and place only.

Leslie Fish said...

Exactly! The ban on pork and shellfish in Leviticus had less to do with public health than with the fact that the temples of rival gods and goddesses had big pork-roast and seafood festivals, and the Hebrew priests didn't want their followers sneaking off to those festivals -- and maybe deciding they liked the other religion better. So here we are, 3000 years later, with the Muslims and the JWs still regarding pigs with religious horror.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the Jehovah's Witnesses don't avoid pork.