Friday, June 23, 2006

Calling vs occupation

The trouble with pro-war Christians

‘My Republican father hated this war’
My father called himself an "old-fashioned fiscal Republican" – meaning, he wasn't keen on social spending for the faceless public although, as was obvious to all who knew him, he could never say no to an individual in need – even at great cost to himself.

Daddy voted for both Bushes…but in the last years of his life, he grew increasingly unhappy with Bush Jr's war habit. Living for most of his life in a naval area, and having been a young sailor long ago in WWII, my father could really identify with all those fresh-scrubbed faces of military men and women flashed on the news, young people who used to be individuals but were now one of what some like to call "a number": US casualties in Iraq. He didn't see them as just statistics, but as well-meaning kids who'd had no idea, when they signed up, what they were in for.

For my father, as for many Americans, the clothing, language and mannerisms of Middle-Eastern people made them seem terribly foreign, inexplicable, or as he often assumed, "hot-headed" – especially when every single videoclip on TV showed Iraqis or Afghanis in the midst of war on burning streets.

But images of grieving dads holding their bloodied children, looking around desperately for medical help or solace? The sight of this made Iraqis and Afghanis seem quite real, understandable, and human to him. Daddy's compassion for grieving fathers often caused him to turn the channel, and eventually to turn against this "bad idea" of a war.

Daddy was a very good man, a Christian for sure... He was very uncomfortable – even embarrassed – by the GOP's new strategy of pushing "fanatical" religion into political life.
Like this attractive but seemingly sanctimonious and bratty girl who felt entitled to preach at her graduation, the latest martyr for the Protestant religious right. What she said may have been true and sweet but here’s some historical context. The same attempt to be impartial that muzzled her also in theory keeps the state schools from trying to convert Catholics, which 150 years ago they tried to do to immigrant kids. (Which is why the newcomers saved their pennies to build parochial schools.) The trouble is that this Protestantism has changed into secular humanism and they still proselytise (where Jared and Brittany can learn about Heather’s two mommies and how society is so mean to them, or how to put on a condom). Yes, teachers often are anti-Christian. There’s also the issue of whether there should be state schools at all but that’s for another day.

Semper why?
A friend of mine who used to cover wars for a living tells me I'm foolish to be so influenced by Marine Corps propaganda. Contemporary Marines are, if anything, more dangerous to civilians than the Army, because of the way they're juiced up in basic training (see Jarhead, the book or movie).
From LRC.

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