Moral Contradictions

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Let's stop conjuring an "enemy within" and focus on the true enemy

E.J. Dionne Jr of the Washington Post wrote an excellent article about the Air Force Academy religious scandal titled "Keeping Faith With Religious Freedom".

Let's be clear: The academy's brass are not in trouble because they allowed evangelical Christian cadets to speak of their faith to other cadets. That is their right. The issue is whether officers higher in the chain of command used their positions of authority to promote their faith. That is coercion, and it is neither right nor just. It is also about whether evangelical Christian students were allowed to create an atmosphere in which students who did not share their faith were, to be charitable, marginalized. (One father of a cadet said his son was called "a filthy Jew.'') Since Jews, Hindus, Muslims and atheists -- not to mention Christians who are not evangelicals -- all proudly serve in the armed forces of the United States, there are few institutions in which the imperative for religious liberty is more important.

Thus did Obey offer an amendment to the military appropriations bill calling on the secretary of the Air Force to "develop a plan to ensure that the Air Force Academy maintains a climate free from coercive intimidation and inappropriate proselytizing."

Obey's all-American assertion of religious liberty was, for Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.), part of "the long war on Christianity in America [that] continues today on the floor of the House of Representatives. It continues unabated with aid and comfort to those who would eradicate any vestige of our Christian heritage being supplied by the usual suspects, the Democrats. . . . Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians."

Obey rose to his feet and demanded that Hostettler's last words be stricken from the record, which they eventually were. "If Jesus is watching what's happening on the floor of the House of Representatives, with people behaving in such a blasphemous fashion," Obey said this week, "well, I am reminded of that passage, 'Jesus wept.' " Obey said that when he first came to Congress, "there would have been universal condemnation of Hostettler by both parties." In this case, Obey said he was approached afterward by a single sympathetic Republican. Obey was comforted that Jewish House members "appreciated that a Christian would speak out."

Many people asked me what I would do with my history degree... I now know what I need to do: Throw the history of the early religious people in American in these people's face. Why do you think people came to this country in the 17th and 18th century? Because they didn't want others telling them how to worship. What is going on now? Telling others how to worship.

To me it's simple. Maybe because I comprehend and love history, or maybe it would seem logical. However, the current generation of Christians who are labeled as "fundamentalists" and don't believe in being tolerant would do well to study early religion in America. There's nothing wrong with believing you're right and others are wrong - there is something wrong with persecuting them for it.

Doesn't really seem in line with what Jesus would do, now does it?


  • Everywhere Jesus went, He accepted those outcast by the religious establishment of His day. Postitutes, Tax collecters, the scum of society. Even when asked a specific question about religious methodology, (by the Samaritan woman by the well) He refused to say that her way of worshiping God or the way of the Jews in Jerusalem was better. He picked the path of worshipping in spirit and truth, and acceptance, not the Laws of the Temple priesthood, or the Samaritans.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner

    By Blogger Monk-in-Training, at Saturday, June 25, 2005 10:42:00 PM  

  • Today in Sunday School, my teacher commented that Jesus's apostles, before He called them, were from "the other side of the tracks". I always seem to focus on who Jesus ministered to, and not always the ones He calls to minister.

    By Blogger Nathan, at Sunday, June 26, 2005 3:08:00 PM  

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