I’m currently reading a copy of With God on our Sides: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military by Mikey Weinstein and Davin Seay. Being a former military officer, I am quite dismayed at the changes that have occurred since I left a decade ago. See the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for more information.
It now seems that the Chaplain program has been throughly taken over by fundamentalist Dominionist Christian ministers. See Theocracy Watch and the Yurica Report for more details on Dominionism. Very, Very scary. Especially when America’s military is involved. I spoke to Mikey Weinstein at a book signing last week and I asked him if these Dominionist chaplains were connected with the growth of hate groups that have appeared in the military in the last 5 years. He quickly answered “Yes.” He did not give any more details. I had the feeling that he really did not want to say anything at the current time. This may have to do with the fact that he and his family are getting death threats.
When I went through Officer Training School in the early 80’s, the only overt religious problems I encountered were that Christians would get an extra 5 merits a week for church attendance. I thought this was quite unfair to all of us non-Christians. My roommate asked if I wanted to to to church with her. I said why not, its an easy 5 merits. I could snooze or read during the service. After the service, it was announced that another 5 merits would be awarded for bible study.
Merits and demerits were totaled each week, and those having less than 5 demerits could go off base or over to Lackland Air Force base for the weekend. Merits and demerits canceled each other out. It was a lot better than staying stuck at OTS for the weekend.
I went to the bible study. When topics for the study were asked for, I volunteered the story of Lot and his daughters. Heh Heh Heh. The chaplain was not amused. But what could he say? The story was in the Bible after all and I was “searching for a moral to the story”. The moral seemed to be Incest is Best? He did not really want to pursue the story at all and changed the topic. I asked again for another discussion, this one about the all of genocide in the Old Testament. The chaplain asked me why I was there. I mentioned that I could earn 10 merits for church and bible study and that was why I was there.
It was funny to see the look on his face when I said that. And it was obvious that I knew the Old Testament a bit more than a lot of the Christians there. After the bible study class, we talked a bit and I let him know that I had lots more “questions” about the bible and would bring them up in the next bible study. He then said that I did not have to attend either church or the bible study and would get my merits as well. My roommate was really surprised when I told her later. And I was able to sleep in on Sundays.
I think that the chaplain was probably a nice guy who really did not like the fact that merits were given for church attendance. He was a Methodist minister, not fundy like a lot of the current chaplains. I think in the current situation with all of the evangelical chaplains now, I would probably have not even gone at all. No matter how many merits I could earn.
All of this overt religiosity is really getting quite tiresome. I’ve come to expect this from the Republicans, but now it seems the Democrats are getting into the act as well. What the hell does someone’s religious viewpoints and opinions of the hereafter have to do with how they will perform their job?
The latest spectacle was the Democratic debate/interrogation by CNN several days ago. I don’t recall the interviewer’s name but she sure felt like she had to stick her nose into each candidate’s personal religious views. Even more incredibly each candidate answered her instead of telling her to mind her own business. Hillary Clinton started to tell the host that she looked down on wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve. But she gave in and followed with her personal testimony as well. WTF? The latest podcast from FFRF has a part about the debate/interviews. Go over to FFRF’s podcast archives at http://www.ffrf.org/radio/podcast/ and click on the Jun 9th episode. In the podcast,they also have President Kennedy’s great speech on the separation of church and state.
It seems obvious that the American public is getting fed up with all of this piety being thrown around by these over enthusiastic Jesus supporters. This is probably why the number of unbelievers is increasing in the polls. People are getting sick and tired of these intolerant assholes shoving their religion in everyone’s faces. Perhaps this is why atheist books have been selling so well for the past several months. See an excellent story, Rise of the New Atheists, over at alternet for more details.
I hope the momentum continues well past the fall of the religious types. But it seem that as religion grows and becomes threatening to our liberties, all of us unbelievers come out of our closets and force the religious zealots to back down. Then we go back into our closets and the cycle repeats. I hope this does not happen this time around.
In a sense, this is a larger and more public version of what has been happening in my husband’s family. He has three brothers, one who is not very religious, one who is a Baptist lay-minister, and another who is a very right-wing Catholic. It’s always amusing to watch the religious brothers try to “out-religion” each other every time the family gets together. Of course each of them is not amused by my amusement of the spectacle as one tries to act more pious than the other.
Mojoey has a great list of atheist blogs on his blogroll.
In We Stand Awed at the Heights, PZ Myers over at Pharyngula really gives Stanley Fish a good verbal once over. There is just so much in this post which I agree with and PZ states much more eloquently than I ever could. Especially the following:
What we atheists are saying is that we need to turn away from those powerless rationalizations, no matter how poetic they might be, and recognize that their power and their appeal flows from their humanity, not their religiosity. Forget god, that empty hulk, that great vacuum that humanity has stocked with its fears and dreams, and look at what we have created and felt instead. When someone weeps over a dead child or creates a great poem, it should matter not at all what some priest imagines his pantheon is doing. Take your eyes off your hallucination of heaven—what’s real are that woman’s tears, that child’s triumph, that grain of sand, that bird on wing. The meaning is derived from the reality of what we see and feel, not some convoluted vapor and self-serving puffery about an abstract concept like “god”.
I’ve known a older, married woman who spent her life thinking that the Rapture would happen at any moment. She spent most of her life caught up in this warped dream, never really making much of her life. She let her house get run down and unlivable after her husband died. Why waste the money when Jesus is coming any day. When she died, her children could not even sell the house. The house was in such bad shape it was condemned by the city. She had no insurance or burial policies at all. Her children had to borrow money to bury her. She was a devote of the PTL club, who probably got most of her money.
Being caught up in the dream of heaven as she was, is as narcissistic as one could possibly get. It is all about the big reward for one’s self, screw everyone else. This is what I think in my most overly cynical moments. Most of these people are probably genuinely afraid of death and are desperately hoping to live in the afterlife. What is really sad is that they waste their only shot at life, dreaming for what is to come.
I moved over here to Blogger from WordPress.com. WordPress.com allows more flexability with pages but I was unable to add java script to my blog without having to pay for it. So much for an anonymous blog.
I write technical documentation as a part of my job, but I’ve never tried writing in a blog before. So dear readers, you will have to put up with my rather amateurish attempts at doing it bloggy-style. I haven’t decided what topics I will focus on in this blog, perhaps I’ll simply comment on whatever strikes my fancy. I plan to try to comment every day or so unless I’m on travel or vacation.