Its Been One Week.
So this past week I found many things interesting in my world and I wanted to write about them all. So instead of fretting about each I have decided to write briefly about many. It has been a bit of a week.
I often go after the right wing of our country and I won’t disappoint later in this rant but there is a group of people I encounter on occasion that really have more arrogance and live in a much deeper fantasy than any on the right: Ignorant atheists. These are the guys who read Hitchens and Dawkins and think they have all the answers. Often this plays out in misquoting Bible passages, misunderstanding both Jewish and Christian law, and rewriting history to diminish the role or religion in the development of both Eastern and Western culture. Most recently someone suggested that religion has done nothing for the betterment of the human condition and has solved no human problems. I didn’t understand this as religions have helped organize culture, built cities, and were the inspiration for law so I asked for an example. He replied the curing of small pox, citing how the church stood in the way of many scientific advances. Now there is no doubt that the church stood in the way of many scientific advances but they also promoted them, and I know this because the university where Edward Jenner developed the vaccine was founded by the Catholic Church. Later spoke of the Interfaith Hunger Initiative and the Global Interfaith Partnership in Indianapolis, both of which feed children. The motivation for this, of course, is the religious imperative in virtually every faith to feed the hungry. The response was that it was individuals not religion. I weep for this kind of thinking. Religion gets blamed for everything bad done in its name and yet atheists like this give no credit for the good religion has done. I will be the first to be critical of how some use the Bible as a hammer to beat down others. But some have used the teachings as an elevator for all, and frankly I think that helps the human condition.
The Pentagon, as it creeps toward the 21st century, is opening up combat to women. This led to outrage on the right. Somehow they thought inviting people to try out for something means that it will lower the standards for all. Of course that is not true. The most ridiculous thing was a 5’6” 40somthing said he should get a shot at the NBA. If fact he can try out, he can show his skills, if they don’t match up then he doesn’t get the gig. In the military women couldn’t even get the opportunity to show their skills, yet have served on the front lines. You see what is important about this is that while women already serve in forward units they do not get the same credit for combat duty. That means pay, promotion, and ability to move up in the ranks. It makes sense that you don’t want Colonels and Generals leading combat troops who have never been in combat. This opens the door to qualified women who can both physically and intellectually prosecute a war and it allows them to add their talents to the cause. Recently elected Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is a double amputee after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq. When asked about it said something to the effect that women were already in combat saying “I didn’t get my wounds in a bar fight”. But the sexist claptrap that comes out of the mouths of people, many who avoided service in the military, was loud and proud. Funny the right wing war on women extends to not allowing them to develop as warriors, I wonder why?
In more doors opening news a trial balloon was sent up by the Boy Scouts to allow gay scouts and leaders to serve openly. There have always been gay scouts and scout leaders. But they had to hide the truth of who they were to participate in an organization that values honesty. It appears that in the near future the Boy Scouts will be about continue to there slow but steady growth as they reflect the changing norms of society. One thing the scouts have always prided themselves on is a strong moral code. That code has always taken its lead from the culture. While bigots have responded with loud and stunningly ignorant responses including the continued equating of homosexuality with pedophilia, the Boy Scouts have shown a willingness to grow as they have throughout their history, we can only hope that many others will follow suit.
However the Indiana state legislature isn’t one of the groups that are changing. They plan to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state Constitution. Of course there will be a fight, as the United States Supreme Court will be taking up the issue this year with two cases it will hear. I still can’t figure out how two people who love each other and say so publically will have any impact on me and my family. I just can’t comprehend how there can be such a strong fight against gay people being able to openly enjoy the same rights as straight people. I mean I don’t see how two people who share a life together can hurt me in any way. However there are so many people willing to stand up for the rights of gun owners to be able to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time. To me that is something we should be trying figure out, but there are those who would hate to even have the conversation. Case and point:
The NRA continues its parade of lunacy, bringing it to Fox News on Sunday. I won’t get into the debate much here, but if Fox News calls you on lies about the President it is time to reassess your position. We also learned this week the Wayne LaPierre got a deferment from Vietnam for a “nervous condition”, isn’t that a mental illness that would require that we take the gun out of your hand sir?
Speaking briefly of guns the family of Chris Kyle, known to Iraqi insurgents as the Demon of Ramadi was murdered this weekend. He was shot by a fellow veteran who he was trying to help get over Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kyle, a Navy Seal and sniper with 150 kills in the Iraq war was considered by many an American hero. He wrote a book about his experiences and gave some insight into the mind of a warrior. However you feel about the war, Kyle saw his duty and did it. If the civilian leadership screwed up and I believe they did, Kyle and his comrades where there cleaning up the mess. Two narratives exploded in cyberspace. One more disgusting than the other. The first was that it was Karma that his killing led to his death. The second was that the government did it to further promote gun control. People, I beg you, stop. It is hurtful, idiotic and frankly cowardly. I hated the idea of the Iraq war, I thought it was a ginned up reason to go, I knew we would not be seen as liberators, I knew that we would be fighting insurgents and tribal in-fighting would put lives in danger and I knew that we would not find any of the weapons that Rumsfeld assured us he knew existed and where they were. But to call this Karma or to say that government forces did this belittles the memory of a hero. Rest in Peace sir, I am sorry your country let you down.
So it was quite a week and the new one has started. Who knows what is next.