May 10, 2011

Washington Times Takes On Air Force Pagans

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Photo: Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

The Founding Fathers: What a bunch of PC tree huggers, what with all their kooky ideas about religious freedom and tolerance. So sayeth the Washington Times. Alright... I'm paraphrasing.

I'm not surprised but I am dismayed to see the albeit ludicrous paper take aim at religious freedom in the military. Early last year I reported impressive strides in the Air Force when a Pagan temple was constructed at the installation in Colorado Springs. Well, the Washington Times isn't taking this lefty incursion into our ranks lying down and, somewhat unsuprisingly, has even found a way to work in a glorification of the imperial conquest of indigenous peoples.

The U.S. military’s success in Pakistan this week proved the importance of maintaining a team focused on accomplishing dangerous missions. Others on the left prefer to look upon the armed forces as a playground to experiment with fringe ideas. Take the Air Force Academy which reportedly held a ceremony on Tuesday to dedicate a pile of rocks in the academy’s “worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions.”

. . .

All of the actual Wiccans and Druids died out hundreds of years ago. The religions of the barbaric tribes of Europe faded away as the Roman conquest brought civilization to the region. Teachings once handed down by oral tradition were entirely forgotten over time. Around the 1950s, fringe leftists enamored by the concept of worshipping the Earth adopted the ancient labels and pretended to follow the old ways. They just left out the inconvenient bits, like human sacrifice. “They have likenesses of immense size, the limbs of which are composed of wicker, that they fill with living men,” wrote Julius Caesar, describing a Druid ceremony. “After these are set on fire, the men inside perish in the flames.”

Silly Washington Times, Pagans almost never sacrifice people in wicker man ceremonies anymore. Christianity, however, is an entire religion based on a human sacrifice... but I don't want to nit-pick. One thing I have yet to see is the Washington Times taking aim at that dirty hippie Jesus.
I noticed this item on Mikey Weinstein's Twitter feed last night and he has written an impressive rebuttal. Weinstein graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and has been following developments there closely.

Among other asinine assertions, the Times argues that certain nonmainstream religious faiths being practiced in the United States military are "fringe ideas" not worthy of any institutional respect, and even derides one faith group's worship area at the United States Air Force Academy as "a pile of rocks." A complete detailing of the Times' egregious savaging of the legitimate, religious civil rights of honorable US military members, who apparently don't meet the Times' own convenient "religious test of legitimacy," is beyond the intended scope of this brief rebuttal. I will restrict my responsive comments to two substantially enormous errors committed by this degradingly disgusting Times editorial; to wit, (1) the illegality and real-world danger of the Times' "religiously profiling" any faith as "fringe"; and, (2) the Times' selection of the United States Air Force Academy as the would-be quintessential example of too much religious accommodation gone awry.

It seems that the Times has either suspiciously forgotten or is engaged in "willful ignorance" (i.e., being stupid on purpose) regarding the purpose of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. This compendium of the first ten Amendments was absolutely not passed for the convenience of the majority, but to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Who is the Times to establish a "Religion Legitimacy Star Chamber" to seemingly render verdicts, sua sponte, on which faiths are "mainstream" and, thus, deserving of constitutional rights in our nation's armed forces and, alternatively, which are "fringe" and, consequently, should inherit the wind?

Such vile journalistic carelessness, callousness and arrogance have real-world consequences that go well beyond the oft-used analogy of a mere slippery slope. Oh, how we have seen these "Star Chambers" before. History is replete with draconian example after example, swimming in oceans of blood, as civil majorities have first categorized "fringe" religious faiths as unworthy, and secondly, moved to exterminate them from the planet earth. Our United States Constitution represents the very first time in human history that any nation-state has ever created a governing document that did not invoke the name of someone's particular deity. And besides the First Amendment to that same Constitution clearly creating and mandating a distinct separation of the metaphysical from the physical, the spiritual from the temporal and the church from the state, the actual body of that great document, at Clause 3 of Article 6, just as clearly proclaims that there will never be a "religious test" for anyone serving in the government of the United States. Last time I checked, members of the United States armed forces would seem to so qualify.

More details on the dedication ceremony can be found at The Wild Hunt.

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