I’m sure you’ve heard today’s biggest news on religion in the U.S. military.
I, myself, have heard several versions of this story from several sources, some of which said this was now a law and some of which credited President Obama for coming up with this new “law.” I found this article very informative.
The following paragraph from the article explains why the people who came up with this idea think it is necessary:
“Leaders at all levels,” the document says, “must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.” It even suggested that noncompliance could result in court-martial.
Is this not the case in just about every civilian job there is? If I were to force my beliefs on someone at my job, I’d be fired.
This article also discusses fundamentalist “Christian” zealots who go around saying things like “You’re going to hell” or one of my personal favorites, “God loves dead soldiers.” (Ok, so you’re probably not going to hear that from a military person, but I just wanted to give an example of fundie thought processes.) I want to point out that there is a vast difference between fundamentalist “Christians” and people who truly love Jesus and want to serve Him. Fundamentalist “Christians” don’t understand the concept of speaking in love, nor do they understand that their personal calling is NOT to be the Holy Spirit. They feel that their faith gives them the freedom to hate. What they don’t understand is that if you’re going to be a TRUE Christian, you MUST lay down your right to offense. You must behave and speak in loving ways. You must follow the example of Jesus if you’re going to call yourself a Christian.
I believe that the military is beginning to understand the link between fundamentalism and hatred and destruction — both when it comes to people who call themselves “Christians” and subscribe to a hateful theology, AND when it comes to radical Muslims — or any other religious group for that matter.
Please understand that I say this out of my own experience with fundamentalism and radical religious ideas. I know for a fact that fundamentalist groups of “Christian” people use fear to manipulate and control people. They spread lies and rumors. Their aim is to destroy. They may not physically harm someone, but they mentally and emotionally torture those who don’t agree with them, with the intent to break people of their ability to reason. They may not physically kill another person, but the ideas they present — and the ways they present them — can lead to such confusion and pain that it is possible that a victim of such torture could find comfort only in their own death.
How do I know this? Because I’ve experienced it. I know the pain these radical “Christian” people can inflict. I know the lies that are spoken. I know the ways they manipulate. I know the drastic consequences of their actions.
But, fortunately for me, I also know the Truth. I know Jesus. The difference is that I’ve taken the time to really read the New Testament. I’ve let it soak in. I’ve studied Jesus. I’ve studied the verbs of Jesus. I’ve taken the time to figure out what Jesus is all about. The operative word for a true Christian is love. Absolutely everything a true Christian says and does should be said or done out of a spirit of love. When the fundie zealots of the day brought a prostitute to Jesus, He spoke authoritatively — yet kindly. He saw her as a person. He saw her apart from her sin. Even though Jesus is God (and therefore, completely free to judge the sin), He chose to see, instead, a person. He chose to see a woman. A woman who had sinned, but who had sinned because of things she didn’t have much control over. He chose to see a human — one who was plagued by her humanness, just as every other human throughout time has been plagued. He chose to look on her with compassion because He saw that she was merely human. And He asked her accusers to compare themselves to her. He was saying, “Wait a minute. Think about it. Which one of you is TRULY more righteous than she? Which one of you is completely without sin? Which one of you is qualified to make that judgement?” They couldn’t answer. Only HE had the right to judge her — and yet He chose not to.
THAT is the essence of what it is to be a Christian. That is the fragrance Christians are to spread. That is the grace we’ve been given, and that is the grace we ought to extend to those who don’t agree with us.
As far as I’m concerned, anyone who behaves like Jesus did will be perfectly safe from the threat of court martial.
I say, Onward, Christian soldiers! Keep fighting the good fight. Keep loving the brothers and sisters in your company. Keep being Jesus to the people around you.