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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?
You may have seen this already, but in case you missed it, Tom DeLay has started a blog – it apparently went up on Sunday, and was initially up for about 75 minutes with unmoderated comments, resulting in lots of posts of the “You crook!” and “F— you!” variety, and a few more thoughtful comments, whereupon it was taken down by Tommy Boy or one of his minions until they could figure out how to set it up with moderated comments. The posts are back up now, but it looks like it’s being heavily moderated. Some critical posts are getting through, but there already appear to be complaints from some commenters that previously-submitted comments haven’t been posted.
But wait, I hear my nonexistent readers say, don’t you reserve the right to cancel comments? Yes, indeed I do – abusive or threatening comments. Though at this point I’d be grateful for any comments at all, and would probably limit myself to mocking the grammatical and factual errors of those who flame me. And I welcome any kind of thoughtful criticism or reasoned disagreement – the whole point of free speech is that ultimately through intelligent discussion bad ideas will be discredited and good ideas will gain wider circulation. While I believe that the ideas and ideals I espouse are good ones, I freely admit to being human and therefore capable of making mistakes, so I like to hear opposing viewpoints. They may change my mind, or they may ultimately strengthen my resolve in my original views, but it is better to hear all sides of an issue (even the moronic ones) than to pick a viewpoint – particularly because that viewpoint is trumpeted by certain individuals or political parties – and ignore all evidence to the contrary.
But back to Tommy Boy. It looks like one attentive blogger kept a copy of one of the original posts plus comments before they were yanked from circulation – you can find it here. Entertaining reading, and something you’re not likely to see again anytime soon.