Sunday, September 11, 2011

The End of Poverty?

Life is the result of our choices

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spiritually Unfit Soldiers FORCED to see Chaplains, to get “born again”


just received this chilling letter from a Soldier who recently took the mandatory Soldier Fitness Tracker test, shared to me with permission, from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). The name has been withheld out of fear, but I’m assured that this matter is being worked very hard.

[note: emphasis mine, and I broke it into paragraphs, as the email communication garbled the formatting.]

Before I tell you, Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF of my total outrage at the U.S. Army for grading me as a “Spiritual Fitness failure”, I will tell you a few things about myself. My name is (name withheld) and I am an enlisted soldier with the rank of (rank withheld) in the United States Army stationed at Ft. (military installation withheld). I am in my early-to-mid twenties. I have been deployed downrange into Iraq and Afghanistan 6 times. I will deploy again for my 7th time very soon; to Afghanistan and more combat. All of my deployments have been very heavy combat assignments. I have been wounded 4 times including traumatic brain injury. I have earned the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star and multiple Purple Hearts. I have fought in hand-to hand- combat and killed and wounded more than a few “enemy combatants.”

M[y] religion? I was born a Methodist and guess I still am one. I’m not very religious but consider myself to be a Christian. I don’t go to chapel services that often although I go every now and then. I can’t stand the chaplains as most of them are trying to always get me and my friends to “commit to Christ” and be far more religious as well as they try to get more and more soldiers to get more and more soldiers to be the same type of “committed Christian”. I cannot count the number of times that these chaplains and my own chain of command has described this war we fight as a religious one against the Muslims and their “false, evil and violent” religion. I am a Christian and therefore neither an agnostic nor an atheist though many of my fellow soldiers are such. Now to the point. I, and everyone else who is enlisted in my company, was ORDERED by my Battalion Commander to take the GAT’s Spiritual Fitness Test not very long ago. Let me make this CLEAR, we were all ORDERD to take it.

After we did, our unit’s First Sgt. individually asked us all how we did on the test. There was NO “anonymity” at all. None of us were ever told that we did NOT have to take this Spiritual Fitness Test nor that we did NOT have to tell our FIrst Sgt. what our results were. A bunch of us “failed” the SFT and when we told that to our First Sgt., per his disclosure order, he further ordered us to make immediate appointments with the chaplains so that we would not “kill ourselves on his watch”. None of us wanted to do it but we were scared. None of us wanted to get in the shits with our First Sgt. who can and will make life miserable for anyone who might have said no to him.

They keep saying that this is all to stop us soldiers from killing ourselves but THIS degrading SFT “failure” only makes it worse. Two of my battle buddies who I KNOW are thinking of ending it all were a million times worse off after failing this SFT and being called a “spiritual failure” and then ordered to go see the chaplains. I felt like a total coward for not standing up to my First Sgt. but I did what he told me to do. I was scared to tell him no.

So I went to see the chaplain. When this chaplain told me that I failed the SFT because it was “Jesus’ way of personally knocking on my door as an invitation for me to come to Him as a born again ‘REAL’ Christian” so that I could be saved and not burn forever in Hell for rejecting him, I thought of 3 things. First, I thought of the fact that I was already born a Christian and did not need to be born again. Second, I thought of my battle buddy (name and rank withheld) who took a bullet for me in his face during the Battle of (name of Iraqi battle withheld) and that he was the same kind of Christian as me and this chaplain is telling me that my battle buddy (name and rank withheld) is burning in hell for all time. Third, I thought how I wanted to blow that fucking chaplain’s head right off.

Thank you, Mr. Weinstein and MRFF for listening and standing up. A bunch of us saw you on MSNBC. We also read about the enlisted guy at Ft. Bragg. Please tell Sgt. Griffith at Fort Bragg that he speaks for many of us who can’t handle the consequences if we spoke out. We have all read the letter you sent to tell the Army to stop this Spiritual Fitness Test. It cheered us up alot because that making us take that test is WRONG and using it to send us to the chaplains against our will is also WRONG. Please tell your lawyers at that big law firm company not to forget about those of us who want to speak up and thank them all but cannot. (Name, rank, combat MOS, military unit, military installation withheld)

Whoever this Soldier is, my heart and thoughts go out to him/her. I’m going to print out that letter and keep it in my ACU pocket as a reminder of the real suffering that is happening when the lines of the Separation of Church and State are blurred. The inspirational letter is bittersweet, it sheds light on the fact that there are real-life consequences from all over the globe, that are quite frightening. I’d love to encourage the author to join with us and let him/her know that there is real solidarity to be had with MRFF’s support. This soldier has my utmost gratitude for speaking out, even anonymously, and sharing his/her story.

If I could say just one thing to this soldier, it would be this: “Telling your story is a courageous thing to do. You are setting the example for others to follow, and together we can fix this problem. Spirituality is a private matter, and your story is a supreme example of why this is true. Thank you for sharing this, and please encourage all of the other soldiers who were also in your situation to come forward and share their experiences. MRFF will be there for you.”

I think it’s time to give up the (Holy) ghost. Spiritual Fitness = Religion. You can’t make this mandatory.

Life is the result of our choices

Brava :D

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Libertarian Freedom

-By my Blogger friend

They don't CARE, Bill.... no more than any cultist would be willing to concede that the object of their devotion is nothing more than a "Elmer Gantry" or a "Lonesome Rhodes"..
They are blind to the fact that "E Pluribus Unem" does NOT mean "every man for himself".
The problem with "Paulistas" ("libertarians”, "laissez faire capitalists”, “Teabaggers", “Objectivists", “Austrian Schoolers”, “Chicago Schoolers”, “Friedmanites” or whatever they deem to call themselves today)... is that they hinge their personal philosophies on the rantings of a lunatic-fringe Congressman from Texas (guess WHO) and a fifth rate novelist who's putrid worldview is anathema to every concept of civil society.

• They seem to think that civilization ends at the threshold of this "free market", which is just a another cynical euphemism for "jungle law". 

• They constantly reap the benefits provided them but refuse to be responsible enough to actually contribute to them, leeching off of the very system that affords them the opportunities to enrich themselves, while ironically accusing the least amongst us of doing the same. 

• They feel that those who might not have been as lucky as they (or as callous) should fend for themselves and be relegated to a life of illness, poverty and wretchedness simply because they are too avaricious to do their part as members of society.. to do their duties as Americans. 
• When it comes down to it, it's really is just about greed, nothing more, nothing less, and their flaccid insistence and phony attempts at loftiness.. that their 'philosophies' are a "moral" or "political" or even an "ideological" stand is merely a way for them to shrink from their own shame, that is, if they are still capable of such. 


• They are the dictionary definition of malignant narcissism, and they are only fooling themselves.
So here is my admonition to them all...
• You agree with the Koch Brothers and object to the concept of contributing to pay those hard workers who support us all??
• You don’t feel that you should pay your fair share as a member of this society???
• Stay off the roads that our taxes contributed to, don't use electricity you can't generate yourself, don't go to the hospital, don't call the police, don't call the fire department, don't watch television.
• If you have kids (god forbid) don't send them to public schools (or really any schools for that matter) because they may get teachers who were educated at public and state universities.
• Don't go to art museums, don't walk on public sidewalks, don't use telephones, don't expect potable water to come out of your tap unless you got it from your own well, don't ever seek protection in a court of law.
• Enforce your own contracts... and while you're at it, dig your own sewers as well.
• In general, stand on your own.
• I don't want people like you to have anything to do with a single thing that the rest of us helped pay for.
• You only get to use whatever minuscule bit your own taxes might pay for, which reminds me, whatever you have in the bank, be sure to sign a waiver exempting you from being able to collect whatever portion of your money is insured by the FDIC.
• Grow your own food and raise your own beef and poultry so that you don't have to depend on the USDA to assure that you won't be poisoned, make your own medicines as well, because the USDA has to approve those, too.
• In other words, you ‘rugged individualists’... you"Ron Paul Libertarians"... put your ideology where your mouths are and stand 'tall'... ON YOUR OWN.
• I mean REALLY stand on your own... just like you incessantly preach that everyone else do.
• Otherwise, just shut the fuck up.

Life is the result of our choices