Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Holidays in Jesus' Name

I didn't think it was a slow time of year for news. We've got Bush listening into phone conversations of American citizens, things don't look so pretty in New York, and there's that whole war thing, not to mention the wonderful Patriot Act. Forgive me for not taking up sides on the alleged War on Christmas.

I'm a personal fan of the late Savior of the world, but the holiday has become pretty secular. While Linus reminds us of the true meaning once a year--between commercial breaks of course--Christmas just isn't about Christ anymore. This is unfortunate, but worrying about semantical considerations is a petty thing to do. Wishing someone Merry Christmas doesn't change the fact that Jesus is probably not exceptionally pleased with the way we celebrate his birthday.

This being said, there is another story of late in which Jesus is heavily involved.

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

The hunger strike is intended to persuade President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faith traditions. The American Center for Law and Justice has gathered 173,000 signatures on a petition seeking an executive order.


Mr. Baugham said the 350 chaplains he oversees are concerned about a new set of guidelines issued in August after complaints about Christian evangelism at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The Air Force guidelines allow "a brief, nonsectarian prayer" during military ceremonies "to add a heightened sense of seriousness or solemnity, not to advance specific religious beliefs."

"So, to what deity do you address your prayer to?" Mr. Baugham asked. "No one knows. And who gets to write the prayers? Once the government becomes the approving authority, the poor chaplain is forced to be an agent of the state."

This one reaches the level of absurdity. I am not sure who is behind this nonsensical policy. Lest we forget, these kids are out there dying. If someone who is going to take a bullet for me wants to pray to the smurfs, and a chaplain can help him out in that regard, by all means pray away. Who on earth is complaining about this kind of thing?

This has got me razzled. I know I've said this before, but I think we've all lost our minds. As I recall from history class, the pilgrims came over here for religious freedom. The reason our soldiers go to fight--in theory anyway--is to protect these and other freedoms. Just how on earth we are worse off if a chaplain prays to Jesus is utterly beyond me. I just don't get it.

It's a wonder we still have people who wish to die for this country at all. It shouldn't take an executive order from Bush to get this mess straightened out. We just need a little common sense, we are absolutely lacking. Jesus, err.... God help us.


Regular Ron said...

Eric...Just wanted to say I hope you have a Merry Christmas and you and your family have a Blessed New Year my friend.


A Wiser Man Than I said...

The same to you good sir.