Monday, June 29, 2009

Militarized Religion or Religionized Military

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rages and hunger and thirst... ~ Mark Twain, The War Prayer
Fault Lines: Religion in the military

After completing MCT (Marine Combat Training) in early 2001, the SOI Bn CO LtCol regaled the young marines (and me since I wasn't so young) with tales of life in the Corps and the brotherhood we had joined and were taking our nascent steps towards. We had spent (most of) the last 17 days in the field learning the absolute basics of military tactics, just enough to understand we knew nothing. After which we had the opportunity to take a shower for the first time in 2 weeks and clean the grime and mud off.

Getting back to the LtCol, at the end of his speech he informed the Marines they now had the duty to clean the showers we had just used because a good Marine always leaves equipment and quarters in as good a condition as the way he found them. However, an offer was made. If the Marines wanted to stay and listen to the LtCol he would tell them the truth of Creationism and debunk the lies of Evolution using a treatise he had written and self-published and of which he had available copies for the Marines to take with them.

I was stunned. I left with the group assigned to clean the mud coated showers and befouled shitters. My reasons were partially because I don't shirk duty but mainly because I was upset over rank ignorance being forced down the mouths of tired and impressionable young men by a Marine in a position of Authority.

Thinking about the situation later I realized I should have stayed and grabbed a copy.


Anonymous said...

Got the name of the First Amendment-violating officer? Where is he now?

Grung_e_Gene said...

I do know the name of the LtCol who was in charge of MCT Bn at Camp Pendleton SOI at the time, but having only meet the man the one time and being keenly aware of the fallibility of the human memory, coupled with the exhaustion of my mind and body at the time of the incident, I'm not 100% sure it wasn't the XO standing in for him.

However, I am certain as possible the CO was responsible for the egregious incident.