Prayer holds a special place on Memorial Day
Bill Wiener wrote Friday, May 27, 2011, to request that on Memorial Day “we keep divisive religious practices out of the Memorial Day ceremony.” He stated that “recitation of a Christian prayer at this event does not honor this freedom,” referring to religious freedom. Next, perhaps, he will protest the Pledge of Allegiance at this voluntary gathering of remembrance.
Bill, get a clue, or several. First, as a nation founded on Christian principles of tolerance and behavior and exercising throughout our history a commitment to Judeo-Christian concepts of humanity, a prayer is more than appropriate. Ever heard the saying, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” Well, there may be some, but I personally saw a number of extreme religious conversions.
Second, maybe you would prefer a more enlightened society and soldiers like that of Egypt where now, in ungoverned turmoil, the Christian Coptics, men, women, and children are being attacked, tortured, and killed by numerous groups of religious freedom-loving Muslims. Or maybe, as an example exemplary of non -Judeo-Christian service members, you were referring to the enlightened Muslim U.S. Army doctor who murdered fellow soldiers in Texas a couple years ago. Or the wacko Imam who issued a fatwa on Rushdie for exposing some ugly truths?
Third, maybe your would prefer U.S. soldiers with no conscience, uncomplicated in their emotions by horribly necessary duties and actions seemingly inconsistent with their lifelong Judeo-Christian concept of humanity … Nazi Germany had a bunch of those soldiers, as did Communist Russia, and let’s not forget the “atheist”-governed Chinese, just to name the biggies. None of them had any problem slaughtering indiscriminately and some times on purpose, men, women, and children.
Fourth, no one is “excluded” by a “sectarian” prayer. Due to religious freedom and freedom of speech in this country, you can listen and reject, reflect on, or accept as you prefer. You can also cover your delicate ears with your hands and not listen.
Fifth, other than in Judeo-Christian- based countries and societies, where else is the freedom you recite?
Is it anywhere in still communist thinking and dominated places in the world, like maybe North Korea? Is it anywhere in the Muslim-dominated world, like about 80 countries with little real freedom, state-sponsored repression of equality for women, lest we forget their repression of religious freedom?
Government policy decisions aside, in other words irrespective of whether the soldiers wanted to be there or not, or even whether as a nation we should have been there or not, American soldiers have been in conflict and war after conflict and war, and they have been the most world’s most effective fighting forces but also the most humane … too humane in many instances to their own life sacrificing detriment. Our worst treatment of opponents consistently throughout a war was reserved for own fellow citizens in our own Civil War … a real war truly in defense of freedom … not the phony war you want to incite due to your ridiculous, politically correct protest based on severe misunderstanding of some “religious freedom” being abused.
The many children I saw in Vietnam were less afraid of American soldiers than their own … and thousands of pictures show the same to be true in the Middle East hellholes we are bogged down in today … not to mention those from WWI, WWII, and event the Korean War. Why were the children not afraid? Simple, the vast majority of American forces through the years exhibited much restraint and showed as much kindness and innate grounding in the Judeo-Christian concept of humanity as they did exhibit fighting prowess.
I don’t really care if you are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or whatever. I’m not a regular churchgoer myself. You and millions of the “other-side” combatants and civilians have benefited from our armed forces overriding, if unofficial, governance by a code and concept of Judeo-Christian humanity with on-the-ground humanitarian results due not only to commands and “orders,” but to the hearts and minds of the individual soldiers, soldiers infected with our country’s Judeo Christian concept of humanity … even in war.
Restraint, even in the rage of combat, is the hardest part of being a soldier … when the guy next to you has been literally destroyed, it is a almost subliminal belief in humanity and the upbringing in our society with its Judeo-Christian concepts that prevents one from instant unrestricted response on the most available target, man, woman, or child. If you had been a soldier, you would know and honor … but maybe you were and forgot. In that case, please forgive the reminder. You are the only person I have ever heard even mention that we are not honoring all who served … regardless of gender, color, or creed. You are the only divisive one.
This day is to remember and honor the fallen and the giving and their inspired conduct, and if a prayer is so offensive to you, why don’t you stay home and listen to NPR?
Jack Kaufman, veteran
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