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11 December 2006

This Is Just Lovely

Some of our military leaders admit they don't care much for the US:

A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.

In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military.

"I found a wonderful opportunity as a director on the joint staff, as I meet the people that come into my directorate," Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack J. Catton Jr. says in the video. "And I tell them right up front who Jack Catton is, and I start with the fact that I'm an old-fashioned American, and my first priority is my faith in God, then my family and then country. I share my faith because it describes who I am." [Emphasis added.]

Wow. That sure makes me feel secure. A Major General admits that, to him, his country comes third. I guess that if Maj. Gen. Catton and the others decide the US is insufficiently, let's face it, Christian he'll turn his guns and bombs on American citizens.

Army Brig. Gen. Bob Casen refers in the video to the Christian Embassy's special efforts to reach admirals and generals through Flag Fellowship groups. Whenever he sees another fellowship member, he says, "I immediately feel like I am being held accountable, because we are the aroma of Jesus Christ."

It looks like there are a lot of Jerry Boykins running around the Pentagon.

Can you say "Courts Martial"? I knew you could.



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Comandante Agi

Just like General Boykin, eh? The "God put George Bush in the Whitehouse to battle Satan" guy. Thankfully he was reprimanded for giving his evangelical war slideshow.

These people and their followers are literally nuts. They are authoritarians pure and simple. If Dear Leader ordered everyone to drink the kool aid, 30% of our nation would end up like Jonestown.


Nonsense. You would not trust someone who put Country first. You yourself would put truth, fairness, and the common good before Country.

People who put Country first are menaces. These are the people who will do anything -- lie to the American people about attempted yellowcake purchases, claim WMDs exist when even they know they don't, and get us into a war in Iraq that they knew back in 1999 could not be won -- and try to do it with a fraction of the manpower.

Eventually, they wind up like the schlub who wound up on trial for genocide in Israel, and their only defense is "I was just following orders." People who put Country first have nothing to stop them from doing evil in the name of that Country.

While I'm against the death penalty, there has to be something said for Israel hanging them until they are dead, dead, dead. Heck, I'd only have them drop a couple inches and let them take hours to suffocate. You know, for a pacifist, I have a mean streak.

You're completely off base on this one. But you saw the word "Christian" and had to freak.

Back when I worked for Pittsburgh EMS, the firefighters at our station were sexually harassing one of my crew because they weren't sure of her sexual orientation and she was good looking. I repeatedly asked fellow crew-chiefs, supervisors, and finally the chief of ambulances for advice. I was told to do nothing, that nothing could be done.

If I put Country first, I'd have obeyed the orders of my superiors. I got screamed at by female co-workers for not putting the thin blue line first. I didn't, and eventually it cost me the most fun job I've ever had. The only place I'm at home is in the middle of a disaster.

When you go testify against friends, co-workers, and superiors on behalf of someone who (when the whole mess started) hated my guts, you find daily activities become ominous. I was crawling through a burning building doing search and rescue when I realized the people I was scheduled to testify against were the ones doing the fire suppression. I'm breathing through my SCBA when it occurred to me being where I was wasn't a good idea. The threats against my life didn't give me warm fuzzies, either.

My co-worker won her case. If you read the transcript, you'll see where the judge said that I was the only one at Pittsburgh EMS who took my duties seriously.

After she won the case, the woman thanked me. She said she knew the reason I threw so much away on her behalf and risked my life was because I was a Christian.

I hope that wasn't my proudest moment, mostly because I would like to think I've still got such moments ahead of me.

I don't know if the Generals are that kind of Christian, but I pray to God they are. I pray the atheist Generals and the Jewish Generals and everyone else in the military are that kind of people.


rob -

I agree that "country first" is a bad thing but so is "my god first" or "my ideology comes first" a bad thing. The article makes clear where these military men stand. People with power, especially, need to understand that things aren't black-and-white.

You know, for a pacifist, I have a mean streak.

lol! Copyright that and sell t-shirts!

You're completely off base on this one. But you saw the word "Christian" and had to freak.

If I saw the word "Vishnu" or "Ba'al" in this context I'd've reacted the same way.

If I put Country first, I'd have obeyed the orders of my superiors.

(I took care of the "country first" above.) That was a brave and honourable thing you did and you should be proud of it. You know that I'm an atheist but I would have done the same thing; belief in a deity isn't a necessary precondition for being honorable and decent.

You seem to think I pick on Christians. Well, that's because the US is overwhelmingly Christian and *certain* Christians have made it clear that they want some sort of religious domination in this country. Even the "wrong" sort of Christians (read: liberals and Catholics and Mormons) need not apply.

In the end, all that I'm arguing is for a secular nation. That's "secular", not "atheistic." There's a difference.



I think you're missing my point. Yes, indeed, you would also respond to Vishnu or Ba'al. But you yourself would put your own beliefs before the Country.

You may be an atheist, but that, too, is a belief system. Were you to have done the same thing, you would have been putting your beliefs before Country.

Yeah, certain Christians have said certain things.

It seems there's a term for assigning the characteristics of a subgroup to the entire group without first checking to see if that is true.

I tend to get angry at any form of prejudice, and that's what you're doing.

You're arguing that personal beliefs can have no place in the public square. I don't think that's what you really intend. You simply want to argue that certain beliefs you disagree with aren't permitted to be used anywhere that isn't a closet.

A Christian must (ok, should) put God before everything else. You are saying that you would ban all Christians from any significant position because of their beliefs. That's not secular. And this isn't the first time you've argued that way.


rob -

Let's assume for a moment that Dubya's Christian beliefs are sincere. Does that give him the right to use the office of President to force or coerce everyone else to follow *his* particular Christian beliefs? By your definition he must/should do so.

Doesn't that deprive me of my rights?



I never said he had the right to force you to follow his beliefs. Find one example where I said that.

I'm arguing that you can't force me to abandon my beliefs. That's what you're demanding I do. You're the one trying to jam your beliefs down my throat.

You're saying that, in a secular society, a person cannot put God before Country in performing their duties. I'm pointing out that doing so is necessary -- for Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Atheist. To say that Christians can't is an unwarranted imposition on us that sets a dangerous precedent -- the very precident you're concerned about Dubya setting!

Let me ask you this: In my position as a paramedic Crew Chief, where I was told that the official City position was that sexual harassment should be tolerated because it was simple harassment, what would you have had me do?

If I put Country first and not personal beliefs and ethics, I do nothing. I follow orders. That is wrong.

I violated the oath I took when becoming a paramedic crew chief because there were higher priorities in my life than the government. Whether those are personal ethics or religion (my ethics are based on my religion -- although some might argue my religion's based on my ethics, but that's another debate), they must be there to prevent the tyranny of the government.


we are the aroma of Jesus Christ.

Get that Savior some deodorant!


I never said he had the right to force you to follow his beliefs. Find one example where I said that.

You didn't. Maybe I should have said up front that I'm trying to find a common language between us since the convos tend to fly past our respective heads. As for GWB, I *am* forced to fund his beliefs (think "faith-based grants" among other things.)

I'm arguing that you can't force me to abandon my beliefs.


That's what you're demanding I do.


You're the one trying to jam your beliefs down my throat.


What I'm talking about is public policy, not individual beliefs. Maybe this is where you and I are getting cross-wise.

What I'm asking is *where* do personal beliefs end when it comes to public policy?

Again, public policy is my concern.

(And it should be noted that the military officers that appeared in the video were *unambiguously* violating military law.)


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