A few weeks ago, an active-duty serviceman currently serving in the United States Air Force was forbidden from re-enlisting.
Because he refused to take to the official oath required of all American servicemen and servicewomen, which includes (for many) the quarrelsome expression, “so help me god.” [SEE FOOTNOTE 1]
The Air Force sergeant, who’s name has not been released to the public, is an avowed atheist. For him, pledging an oath to what he believes is a false deity would be brazenly dishonest. What’s the point of raising one’s right hand in a ceremony, and then taking a bogus vow? Wouldn’t that make the oath meaningless and render the entire process a farce? It would be like pledging to obey commands from the Easter Bunny.
When I first read the news story about this brave American serviceman who was denied the opportunity to proudly serve his country for no other reason than not professing a belief in a god — I was dumbfounded. Yet again, we secularists were caught off guard. I asked myself — is this 1914 or 2014? Haven’t we yet reached the ambitious plateau of reason in American governance and society where religious litmus tests are no longer required to serve in the armed forces?
Nationalism is a scourge. Should you doubt this, look at its grisly record.
In its very worst forms, nationalism has triggered countless international conflicts senselessly costing tens of millions of lives. Nationalism has pillaged immeasurable natural resources from our lands and plundered federal treasuries. Nationalism has fortified our most sinister and self-destructive racial and ethnic divisions. Nationalism has provoked bombings, justified invasions, and been used to rationalize longstanding occupations which enslaved and exploited those who were conquered. In short, throughout human history — much like religion — nationalism has caused far more harm than good.
Yet, much like the sword, nationalism cuts sharply both ways. When harnessed constructively, nationalism has be used for much greater common purposes. Nationalism has rallied ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Nationalism has aided significantly in defeating terrible foes, both at home and abroad. It’s instilled a widespread devotion to collective interests as opposed to self-centered individualism. On occasion, nationalism in its various forms — community pride, allegiance to country, flag-waving patriotism — has served societies well, especially in tough times.
Oddly enough, many of the kinds of people we peg most strongly with possessing nationalistic tendencies now brazenly insist they want to break away from the United States of America. That’s right. A sizable number of people in this country, including many self-described patriots, would be in favor of giving our nation a long wave goodbye, followed by the middle finger. And who says breaking up is hard to do?
Once upon a time, we the American people tearfully accepted your proposal. We agreed to wed you. We were thrilled when that big day came when you finally walked us down the aisle called Pennsylvania Avenue. Then, four years after being together, we renewed those marriage vows, by electing you again.
That’s faith. That’s trust. That’s hope.
So, what did you do?
Well, you cheated, Sir. You were unfaithful. Over and over again. You kept promising, and kept failing to deliver. Finally, you even quit making promises. You just walked away. You quit on us.
Don’t deny it, Mr. President. There’s been a long string of mistresses — with cute names like family vacations, golf clubs, ill-timed political fundraisers, and just about anything else which provided a convenient excuse from coming back home to the White House, doing your daily chores, occasionally putting in a little overtime, and behaving like a faithful partner.
What made the great State of Texas go so politically bat shit crazy?
Think about it. Texas used to produce maverick politicians. The nation’s second-most populous state gave our country real leaders who talked straight to us. They worked with elected officials from other regions and even the opposing party to improve the quality of life for all Americans.
Once upon a time, Texas produced political greatness.
Now, the state has become a national laughingstalk. But nothing is funny anymore. The joke’s on us.
Is anyone really surprised or shocked by the repulsively insensitive and highly-inappropriate remarks made by conservative political ass-hat Rush Limbaugh on the tragic death of Robin Williams?
The pill-popping protagonist of reckless right-wing radio slammed Williams on the airwaves Tuesday, barely 24 hours following the widely-reported suicide, essentially ascribing the actor-comedian’s lifelong troubles and battles with addiction — now get this — to liberalism. So, as is typical in Rush’s twisted fantasyland, liberals are to blame for addictions and suicides, too.