Oh, Tom DeLay, you disingenuous man. You are deliberately missing the point in all the outrage over evangelical Christians in the military. No one is outraged about the presence of Christians, even evangelical Christians, in the military. While the old cliche that claims there are no athiests in foxholes is demonstrably untrue, I don’t think anyone would argue against allowing members of the military to practice Christianity. What is troubling is that there is evidence that some in the military hierarchy may be using their positions to proselytize or, even more troubling, to condition advancement upon espoused religious beliefs. More specifically, espoused beliefs in evangelical Christianity.

What you seem determined to ignore is that America was founded in part by people who came here hoping to escape persecution for their religious beliefs. Countless immigrants over the past two centuries have moved here hoping to be able to practice their religious beliefs free of outside interference or coercion.

Thus it understandably is upsetting to many people, including many Christians, to hear that men and women in the military may be experiencing pressure from their superiors in the military hierarchy to adopt or espouse certain religious beliefs that may be in conflict with their own beliefs. It is particularly troubling when one hears that careers may be damaged by failure to adopt those beliefs.

Tom, I know you’ve said your religious beliefs are deeply important to you. I will not question your sincerity. Instead, I ask you to consider an alternate reality, in which your religious beliefs, the beliefs you were raised with and hold dear to your heart, are not substantially the same as the majority of your countrymen — think of a Christian living in a predominantly Jewish, or Muslim, or Hindu country. Now imagine that your superiors at your place of employment (I know you wouldn’t be in the military, since it appears you’re part of the chickenhawk brigade) pressured you to adopt their views, or made it clear that your advancement at work was dependent upon you converting to their beliefs.

How would you feel then, Tommy Boy?

jane doe