Reply to Col. Maxey

Via Ed Brayton’s blog comes this letter from Lt. Col. Stacy Maxey, as reported by guest blogger Chris Rodda.

Letters to the Editor, December 15, 2010So let me see if I understand this: The Defense Department is proposing to let people who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle serve “openly” in the armed forces (per the Dec. 2 article “DADT study group: Full integration is best”), but won’t allow Christians such as myself the freedom to “openly” share the good news of Christ with our co-workers — as the faith we’ve chosen requires?

DOD officials plan to tell servicemembers who have a problem with those living a homosexual lifestyle to “learn to deal with it,” but they are prepared to counsel and/or slap Christians with paperwork if someone feels “offended” by our witness? Wearing sexual lifestyle choices on your sleeve is OK, but not your faith?

Military chaplains who teach that homosexuality is antithetical to and incompatible with Christianity (which it is) can either muzzle their objections or “leave,” but gays will be permitted to parade their lifestyle choices in front of all?

Bottom line: So I’m free to express myself if I’m a homosexual, but not if I’m a Christian? What disgraceful hypocrisy.

Here’s the truth: I will continue to witness to who I want, when I want and where I want. My commitment to my God supersedes my commitment to the DOD and, if officials are upset about that, then I guess they can “learn to deal with it.”

Department of Defense? More like the Department of Double Standards.

Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey
Afghanistan

I feel like writing back to the good colonel and clarifying one or two matters about which there seems to be some confusion.

Dear Col. Maxey;

Regarding your letter of Dec. 15 to the Stars and Stripes, it seems you are offended by the double standard involved in repealing DADT. I’m sure you will be delighted to find out that a fair compromise is easily available that removes all of the issues of double standards between Christians and gays in the military. All we need to do is apply the same standard to both. With the repeal of DADT, the following will be possible:

  • If someone asks whether you are a Christian, you will not have to lie and say that you are not, just as gays will no longer have to lie when asked if they are gay.
  • If the military discovers that you are Christian, you will not automatically be discharged, just as gays will no longer face immediate discharge upon discovery that they are gay.
  • If you are seen openly participating in casual Christian activities, such as going to church or carrying a bible, you will not need to fear immediate exposure and discharge, just as gays who are seen associating with others of the same sex will not need to fear immediate exposure and discharge.
  • Any prayers, Bible studies, or other Christian activities which you engage in on your own time, in private, will not be any of the military’s business, just as it is none of the military’s business what homosexual soldiers do in private, on their own time.
  • If you have a fellow soldier or superior officer who is pressuring you to engage in homosexual activities against your will, you will have the same freedom to file a complaint as a gay soldier has to complain about a fellow soldier who is pressuring them to engage in Christian activities against their will.
  • If a superior officer unfairly penalizes you for failure to engage in homosexual activities, by giving you unfavorable performance reviews, withholding promotion, or giving you punitive work assignments, you will have the opportunity to apply for a redress of your grievances, just as gays will in the case of superior officers who penalize them similarly for failure to engage in Christian activities.
  • Military chaplains who advocate Christian conduct, as well as those who advocate homosexual conduct, will be free to speak as their conscience demands when conducting designated services where attendance is voluntary, but may face pressure, reprimands, or even discharge if they abuse their position to advocate Christianity or homosexuality among those who do not wish to participate in such exchanges.

Granted, you may be required by regulations (if not by ordinary courtesy and professionalism) to make certain concessions. For example, to promote team cohesion and unit effectiveness, you may not be allowed to single out certain members of your team for public humiliation and harassment just because they are gay. But even here, the same standard works the other way: your team members will be required not to single you out for public humiliation and harassment just because you are a bigot and/or have chosen a bigoted religion.

You are right: there have been some serious and injurious double standards in the military. I’m sure that with your interest in justice, fairness, and service, you will be delighted now that these double standards are being ended, and the samel rules applied equally to all service members.

Sincerely,

Deacon Duncan.

 
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Gay rights and Biblical justice

Hey, I just had a stray thought. I know how we can settle this whole gay rights controversy in a way that should please gays, liberals, and even conservative Christians. Let’s use Biblical justice to punish gays for being gay. No, not that whole “stone them with stones” thing. That went out with bronze chariots. I mean that bedrock of moral principle at the bottom of God’s Old Testament Law, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Since gay people sin against us by falling in love differently than we do, we should punish them by falling in love differently than they do. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! Let’s see how they like a taste of their own medicine, eh? They want to walk down the street with a same-sex lover? We’ll show them: we’ll walk down the street with opposite sex lovers. Hah! They want to marry same-sex partners? Let ‘em. But we’ll make ‘em pay. We’ll marry opposite sex partners. Legally! Take that, gays! You want to be different from us? Fine, then we’re gonna be different from you. And it serves you right.

Yeah, none of this merciful, New Testament, God-loves-sinners crap. Paul knew how to deal with sinners. Give ‘em old-fashioned Moses-brand justice, and do to them exactly what they’re doing to us, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. 100% Biblical justice, old school. Then everyone will be able to see just how much harm you can do to someone else by falling in love differently than they do.

 
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Definition of the day

Anticolonial, adj:
See Uppity.

 
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A White Christian Nation

As President Obama once remarked, America is not a Christian nation, or at least not just a Christian nation. It’s probably his most-quoted statement (although his quoters tend to have a curious inability to report the “not just a Christian nation” part). It offended a lot of people, even though it’s factually true. There are indeed non-Christians living in America, and since America is a democratic republic, non-Christians do have a significant say in what the country’s values, priorities, and policies are. A simple and even uncontroversial fact—but some people don’t want to hear it. To them, America is a Christian nation, and any attempt to say otherwise is an attack on the Christian faith.

How can we help such people understand why America is not (and does not want to be) a Christian nation? The other day I though of a parallel that might be helpful: calling America a “Christian Nation” is like calling America a “White Nation.” Yes, there were quite a lot of Founding Fathers who espoused at least vaguely Christian rhetoric, just as there were quite a few who owned slaves. And yes, you can find a lot of early American policies and precedents that favored Christianity, just as you can find a lot that favored white men. And you can even argue that, by “freedom of religion,” the Fathers meant being free to choose whatever flavor of Christianity you like best, just as you can argue that when a slave owner like Thomas Jefferson writes “all men are created equal,” he really means only that all white males are equal, and not that women and/or other races are also equal.

If you’re a white supremacist, you may not see anything wrong with doing any of the above. If you’re a Christian supremacist, then you may see a problem only with the “White Nation” arguments (even though they’re the same as your own, slightly re-framed). And that’s the point. The Christian Nation arguments are Christian Supremacist arguments. They’re a bigoted demand that your religion be publicly and officially acknowledged as supreme above all other religions, just as white supremacists demand that whites be held superior to all other races. And that’s why sensible and fair-minded men and women should oppose all efforts to turn America into the kind of Christian nation that our Founding Fathers came here to get away from.

 
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Starring Sarah Palin as Alice…

While I’m ranting about political topics, let me blow off a little steam about the Tea Partiers. I’m not sure how Louis Carroll would feel about seeing a significant element in American politics modeled after Messrs Hatter and Hare, but I rather doubt it would be pride.

The Tea Partiers are the intellectual bastard children of Karl Rove and Rupert Murdock (and similar manipulators of public opinion). Bred from the innuendo and suspicion fostered by conservative political strategy, they have grown up unable to trust any authority, even the ones that created them.

The plan was that by using slander and demagoguery, conservatives could control what people believed and how they would vote. It even worked, for a while. But much to their current surprise and dismay, it’s turning out that the victories they’ve bought with their dishonest tactics are victories they’ve charged to a very expensive credit card. And it’s time to pay the bills.

The trouble with rabble-rousing is that you end up with a lot of roused rabble. And in this case it’s a lot of roused rabble with an inherent mistrust of authority. Is it a coincidence that they’re developing a taste for candidates like Sarah Palin and George Bush, whose popularity is based on their lack of “elite” leadership skills? If you don’t trust your leaders, why not put the incompetents in that position, so they’ll be less of a threat, eh?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There’s no cure short of waiting for the Tea Partiers to realize that denying reality is mostly self-destructive. The question is, can the RNC survive the monster they worked so hard to create?

 
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Colson v. Human Rights

Well, you had to know this was coming. Catholic Charities has announced that, in order to avoid paying benefits to same-sex couples, they will deliberately deprive all employees of their standard benefits. So naturally Chuck Colson is declaring that religious freedom is under attack, though he’s predictably inaccurate about who is doing the attacking.

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Colson’s latest snow job

Boy, Chuck Colson has really been on a roll lately, hasn’t he? This time he’s denying global warming.

The people most inconvenienced by the blizzards weren’t the residents of this region, or the senators-it was the proponents of man-made global warming. Scientists and activists insisted that people on this side of the Atlantic ignore the evidence in their driveways and, instead, trust their computer models.

According to Colson, you can disprove global warming just by pointing out that it’s still snowing.

10 years ago, they told us that, on account of the same global warming, “snow is starting to disappear from our lives.” We were told that, because of all that nasty CO2, British children “just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

Ten years later, they most certainly do. Not only British children, but children in every state except Hawaii. All of Britain, much of the rest of Europe, and the United States have experienced snowfalls this winter. The data suggests, in fact, that “snow is coming earlier and heavier than it used to.”

Ah yes, “they” told us. Nice to have an unimpeachable source, isn’t it?

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Correcting Colson’s Typos

Chuck Colson has a new column about women in the military. It’s a little odd, though, because the text is full of typographical errors that make it sound like he’s talking about gays. Fortunately, his arguments make it quite plain what he’s really saying, so I’ve taken the liberty of correcting all the typos, below. (Corrections indicated by boldface.)

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Bible vs Pro-life

Continuing on with yesterday’s theme, I’d like to look a little more closely at the contrast between the values and principles of the pro-life movement versus those of historic Christianity. The big question here, of course, is whether God Himself would be a pro-lifer. That is, if we imagine a scene outside an abortion clinic, with security guards escorting women into the clinic, and pro-life protesters trying to stop them, which side would God join if He were to show up in person? Would He pick up a protest sign and stand with the pro-lifers?

Based on the Old and New Testaments, the answer is an unmistakable “NO!” God may be a lot of things, but “pro-life” isn’t one of them, by a long shot.

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The New Materialists

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America, so inevitably the pro-lifers were out in force. Having been a pro-lifer once myself, I thought I’d take a moment to share my perspective. Back in the early 90’s I attended a pro-life protest rally with a busload of pro-lifers, and even though I was an ardent Christian at the time, there were some aspects of the protest that bothered me, even then.

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