Saturday, November 2, 2013

The LAX shooter, the New World Order, and the 'Religious Right" pt 2

There is a problem with religious fanatics who don't take no for an answer when rebuffed by fellow members of the military who don't know how to respect boundaries when proselytizing.  The best equivalent would be if you politely listened to someone who came to your door wanting to hand you pamphlets, talk to you about their religion -- and then would not stop, would not leave, but proceeded to hound and harass you "for your own good" whether you liked it or not.  THAT is what the religious right considers their religious freedom.  That is part of the conservative meme that if they can't harass and verbally abuse you, their rights to religion and free speech are impaired. That is the essence of another part of the email from the Minnesota Family Council, always with the hysterical hype type heading:
Christian Organization Labeled as "Domestic Hate Group" by Military Officers; Seriously? "Two weeks ago, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, counter-intelligence officers presented a briefing that identified the American Family Association – a non-profit Christian organization – as a "domestic hate group." This was not the first time something bizarre like this had happened.
And then the MFC links to an publication on-line by a Bachmann crazy-eyed fanatic which includes this:
As Tim Wildmon, President of AFA, wrote in explanation, "The truth is that the American Family Association doesn't hate anyone. We love everyone, including homosexuals, enough to tell them the truth about the moral, spiritual, and physical dangers of homosexual conduct. Disagreement about the normalizing of homosexual behavior is not hate; it is simply disagreement."
 Here's the problem; there has been a long and ugly history of the abuse and hatred towards individuals, including in the military, who are same-sex oriented.  The reality is that, like it or not, there is no more government sanctioned religious bigotry in our military anymore.  We have a policy of tolerance, and it is not acceptable to try to undermine military policy and military discipline by ignoring that change in policy.  When you enlist in the military (or are drafted) you have to abide by military policy and discipline.  You can keep your beliefs, but you cannot undermine military policy and discipline, and you cannot inflict your beliefs on anyone else who DISAGREES with your beliefs.  This is not about simple disagreement, it is about respecting boundaries.  Your beliefs might dictate racial separation - as is the case with some neo-nazi/white supremacist groups, and there are such groups within our military.  But you cannot object that your religious rights and freedom of speech are being abused, or that you are being treated unfairly, because the armed forces are integrated, or because you are limited by military discipline in what you can display, for example tattoos that show outside your uniform.  You have to keep your bigotry and racism to yourself.  You cannot terrorize your fellow members of the armed forces, however much you want to do so. Then we have the next hysteria headline from the factually deficient source Faux News:

Does Army consider Christians, Tea Party, a terror threat?

Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A soldier who attended the Oct. 17th briefing told me the counter-intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour discussing how evangelical Christians and groups like the American Family Association were “tearing the country apart.”
I find this to be another example of fake news.  It is so improbable that anyone donating to the tea baggers would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  There ARE limits to what a service member can do while in uniform, in terms of attending events, marching in political related parades, etc.  But so far as I can tell, there is absolutely no prohibition in the UCMJ that applies to donations to organizations like the Tea Party.  There is a prohibition against sending funds to organizations that are designated as terrorist groups, either foreign or domestic, but that is pretty much identical to the same laws which apply to civilians. It is of course true that the actions encouraged by the AFA are contrary to the positions of the U.S. Armed Forces, and that flouting those policies and regulations might get someone in trouble for disobeying orders, etc.  Ultimately, the U.S. Armed Forces is a FEDERAL entity; we see that collision with fundie right wing evangelicals and the feds in which our armed forces are in the middle - again from Reuters via the Huff Po:

Same-Sex Couples' ID Cards Spark Clash Between Pentagon, GOP-Led States
* Defense chief says action furthers prejudice in military
* Officials say Pentagon demand violates state constitutions By David Alexander WASHINGTON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Several Republican-led U.S. states on Friday rejected Pentagon demands that their state militias issue identity cards to same-sex spouses and accused the Obama administration of using the military as a pawn in its bid to force social change. The resistance put the Pentagon on a collision course with states that have rejected a Defense Department request, first issued in September, for identity cards to be issued to same-sex spouses so they can begin receiving benefits due to married couples.

This isn't about genuine religious conscience and it isn't about freedom of speech. It is about an offensive lack of integrity on the right, and their determination to be obstructive, to mislead and inflame people, and their desire to create havoc when they don't prevail in their bigotry.

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