Invoking God while fighting religious extremists

Tilberian's picture

So I'm at my daughter's Remembrance Day assembly and the principal is making several nice points about how we are observing this day to honour the people who died fighting for our freedom and wouldn't it be nice if we all could fight less. Good stuff. Then Mrs. X [I'll withhold the name on the off chance that someone from the school sees this] gets up and gives us an emotional talk about her brother-in-law who was the killed in Afghanistan. She talks about her five-year-old son who told her that she shouldn't be sad about Uncle X because he's in heaven getting his wings and when he looks up in the sky and sees the brightest star he knows it's Uncle X looking down on him. Then she says "Who would have thought a five-year-old could be so wise."

My thought was "Who would have thought a five-year-old could sound so much like a paranoid schizophrenic."

I was a little miffed that my daughter was hearing all this garbage coming out of the mouth of one of her public school teachers, but it was her personal opinion so whatever.

Then the show goes on, which is mostly music by the school band and the choir. But the choir sings not one but two songs with conspicuous mentions of God.

I left feeling rather depressed about the state of our discourse, even here in fairly secular Ontario. First of all, the kids aren't even told why our soldiers are over there. Saying that they are protecting our freedom is a lie: the Taliban is not equipped to come over here and overthrow our government, so it isn't about our freedom. What the Taliban can do is fund and train Islamist extremists to come over here and terrorize us with suicide attacks. So the real reason we are in Afghanistan is to root out a band of extreme religious fundamentalists who have gained too much power and now pose a threat to the whole world.

Good for us. But we can't say that, because tying our fight to religious extremism might offend our our religious people here at home. Again we see that protecting and shielding the basic idea of religion and Islam from any criticism is the most important goal of discourse, trumping even the need to explain to ourselves what we are doing over there. So we proceed with some half-baked, weak sounding rhetoric imported from the Second World War. Is it any wonder that people are starting to oppose the effort?

What a perfect example of religious moderates providing cover for extremists. Canadians, religiously moderate people if there ever were any, have to pretend that we're in Afghanistan for a myriad of off-the-mark reasons in order to avoid the suggestion that there might be something wrong with too much religious belief. Instead, every one of our public figures should be standing up in front of cameras to declare loudly and clearly that we are in Afghanistan fighting fundamentalists who have chosen only to accurately apply the actual instructions contained in their religious texts. And moderate church leaders should be lined up at the microphone to denounce the practices of the Taliban and make the strong point that application of a thousand-year-old system of morality and justice is not going to work in the modern world. But they remain silent, except when someone tries to blame Islam for the nuttiness of the Taliban.

So we are left invoking God at Remembrance Day ceremonies commemorating soldiers killed fighting against excessive belief in God.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Cpt_pineapple's picture

It's more that we're

It's more that we're helping America protect theirs. The invasion began after the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden's target was America, not Canada.



What the Taliban can do is fund and train Islamist extremists to come over here and terrorize us with suicide attacks



I have yet to see Canada become a victim of a terrorist attack beside the FLQ in the '70s. (In the Air India bombing, Canada was not the target, India was)


The reason they would want to attack us now, is our presence in Afghanistan.


In short, their target is the U.S, not us. The reason they are targeting the U.S in the first place is because of the U.S military presence in Saudia Arabia.



On a side note, I notice the Liberals are ragging on Harper calling it a failed mission. I find that weird since the Liberals are the ones that put them there in the first place. 

Brian37's picture

OP/ED aimed at Christians

OP/ED aimed at Christians reading this. 

It is sad that someone couldnt leave their religous opinion out of a cerimony that is supposed to honor fighting for the freedom of all. If someone mention their non-belief in remembering an atheist soilder killed in action, there would be an uproar.

I do think courtacy in these types of events is due. It is the protection of "freedom of religion" in protecting the constitution that the soilders bravely give their lives for. But Christian Americans have taken that to mean that they have sole ownership of the goverment and therefore think they can monopolize such events.

There ARE non-Christian soilders of other faiths and SUPRISE atheist soilders who proudly serve as well. All should be honored, but in doing such the majority needs to understand that they dont have the right to monopolize these situations to promote the Christian god.

"Freedom of religion" means freedom for all, not a right to a monopoly on what it means to be an American or a by proxy assumption as to what each individual soilder believes. This is OUR country, not the property of Jesus. I am happy to honor soilders who believe in Jesus. But I dont think they deserve special privalige by proxy of a majority. They should remember that non-Christians serve along side them.

If I were at a private cerimony, then I would find it acceptable that they talk about their god. But at such a public event I find it a tottal lack of respect to the constitution to assume by a Christian soilder's death(no matter how unfortunate) that gives goverement the right to ignore in the mourning process, that others feel just as deeply and are just as capable of caring.

They have to remember, whomever serves, be they atheist or Christian or Jew, you are not fighting for yourself or soley your belief, you are fighting for everyone's right to be free, including those who do not believe what you believe. Public cerimonies should be mindfull of that, especially when it comes to the death of a soilder.

Our Constitution is not Jesus owned, any soilder who thinks it is IS NOT fighting for everyone's freedom, they are fighting to defend a monopoly as to what it means to be an American. Not even a soilder has the right to tell you what you should be or what you should believe "just because".

This nation is great because a diverse group of people decided to wright such a brilliant Constitution as to allow you, NOT GOVEREMENT, to decide what your concious tells you. 

If these atheists fight alongside Christians then they deserve not to be treated as if they should keep their mouths shut and should have the same oportunity to be publically honored without the assumption that they faught so Christians could monopolize what it means to be an American.

So, if they want to invoke "God" at a public cerimony for a Christian soilder then they should have the same respect to allow the loved ones of an atheist soilder who died to be honored with the same scale of display.

If you are unwilling to do that, then the fair thing to do is keep public cerimonies neutral. 

My point is, that your story is smptomatic of the brainwashing of society that because Christians are a majority somehow they are intitled to say for everyone that Jesus, and not humans, wrote the constitution. I say, if that is the case, then non-Christians of all labels(not jsut atheists) should not be allowed to join the Military nor should any non-Christian be forced to pay taxes. 

If you allow non-Christians to join, then you owe them the same respect and display and the citizens who support them, encluding people who do not believe in Jesus. This is OUR country, not mine, not yours, OURS. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

Brian37, I don't quite

Brian37, I don't quite follow.

Ms. X mentions something about heaven making her feel better about the death of one particular soldier (I don't quite follow her theology, but whatever). Does that defame any other soldier?

How does singing an overtly Christian song (mentioning God) offend anyone?

Would you agree there is a disconnect between the popular treatment of Christianity (which no one hesitates to offend), and Islam (which people trip over themselves to honor)?