27 May 2008


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' 'Chuck him out, the brute!'
But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot;

"Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling. [Historical note: “Tommy” is Great Britain’s equivalent of America’s “G.I. Joe,” (as used in WWII, not the doll).]

Yesterday was Memorial Day. As I observed in my blog dated May 19, there is a lot of confusion amongst our citizenry regarding the meaning and intent of Memorial Day.

As usual, I attended the annual Memorial Day Parade and service at the Downingtown Veterans’ Memorial. It was a glorious day, sunny, warm, perfect. The huge flag hung limp at half-mast until the service began. A small breeze kicked up and the flag (19’ x 39’) billowed magnificently during the rest of the 90 minute service, falling still, as if in mourning, during the three volleys of musketry and Taps.

The MC made the same point that I have made so often—-Memorial Day is about our honored dead, those who fell on the field of honor. The WWI memorial at my university said it best: “They sacrificed all of their tomorrows for our today.”

So imagine all the Christian love I felt from the PC(USA) when they did the following on this hallowed weekend:

1. On the eve of the weekend, the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, released a recommendation to the upcoming GA that it undertake the task of getting our country to “Repent, Restore, Rebuild, and Reconcile” for the current war in Iraq.

2. The PC(USA) high point of the weekend was Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s weekend-long retreat at a PC(USA) camp. Entitled “Resisting Militarism,” the purpose of the conference “. . . is to train students (ages 14 to 20) to . . . counter[] the military recruitment efforts on their high school and college campuses."

The ACSWP paper is a one-sided, “hate America first” document. It calls upon the United States alone to

1. To repent of engaging in an unnecessary war, to express remorse for the suffering, and to change the disposition to exercise power without understanding the lasting effects of coercion on both occupying and occupied peoples.
2. To restore responsibility for sovereignty and security to Iraqi civil authorities bolstered as necessary by international troops under UN auspices, with U.S.-built bases contributed to the multilateral effort and control.
3. To rebuild a battered Iraq through serious, well-managed, and accountable foreign aid, including massive healthcare assistance for the wounded and maimed.
4. To reconcile political, ethnic, and religious groups through diplomatic and peace-building measures based in truth-seeking, mutual respect, and peace with neighbors, including the supervised return of as many as three million refugees from Syria, Jordan, and other area countries and two million who have been internally displaced.

It is full of praise for the U.S. Constitution in its admiration of the First Amendment (the freedom of the press and the freedom of religion), ignoring the Preamble that recounts that a principle purpose of government is to “provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. . ..”

Careful reading of the report reveals its true purpose: to bolster the liberal desire that the United Nations be transformed into a world government and the end of our national sovereignty. In so doing, it ignores the reality of the threat to this country by a rabid fundamentalist association of Muslims whose intent is to destroy all believers in the risen Lord and all of western civilization that makes “social witness,” free from the control of intolerant religious courts, possible.

And in releasing its report when it did, it treads disrespectfully on the memory of the men and women who died to preserve the very liberties that make it possible for ACSWP to engage in the activities it espouses. (I’ll ignore the demand that all veterans of the Gulf War, and, by implication, all combat veterans, be given psychiatric care.)

In the late 60’s, former President Truman was asked whether he was ready to apologize to the Japanese for the use of atomic weapons to end WWII. He characteristically replied, “I’m still waiting for them to apologize for Pearl Harbor.” Likewise, I’m still waiting for an apology for the attacks on USS Cole, New York City and the Pentagon before I get into a repentance and reconciliation frame of mind.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship program is another product of muddle-headed thinking. There are those who are insulated from the real world by the freedom and security that come with American citizenship. They refuse to see that our country has enemies and therefore needs to defend itself. There is no way to counter such naïveté. A dangerous world will take care of that if they achieve their aims.

What really bothered me was that former Moderator Rick Ufford-Chase could expect us to believe that the scheduling of the training session on Memorial Day weekend was a mere coincidence. He said the scheduling " . . .is in no way intended to dishonor the valuable service and the great service that has been offered by so many people, Presbyterians and others, who have served in the armed forces, but to create alternatives for students who may not know that there are other, non-military options for living out a life of service to the Church... . . Actually, the significance of the timing was just that it was a long weekend when I thought I could get more participation," Rick Ufford-Chase told The Layman.

As my 11 year-old daughter would say, “Oh, puh-lease!”

First—Ufford-Chase (intentionally, I believe) perpetuates the myth that the weekend is meant to commemorate “the valuable service and the great service that has been offered by so many people, Presbyterians and others, who have served in the armed forces.” In his view, the weekend merely about all those poor misguided folks who never had the benefit of his guidance and actually wore their country's uniform.

If he conceded that Memorial Day recalls, in President Lincoln’s immortal words , those “who gave the last full measure of devotion,” then he would also have to admit the disrespect which his little program displays for those who made it possible for him to live in a society that protects his villainy.

But that's not all!!! He next turns the United States into that which he and those of his ilk claim to decry: a theocracy. He and his cohorts seek to “create alternatives for students who may not know that there are other, non-military options for living out a life of service to the Church.” Service to the nation and service to the Church are one and the same!

So, I am just not feeling all that PC(USA) love today. As Mr. Kipling reminded us “makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep, Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.” I would simply remind Mr. Ufford Chase and the ACSWP that when they engage in this kind of conduct, the troops recognize it for what it is. “An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please; An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!”

1 comment:

Toby Brown said...

One of the board members of ASCWP was my ministry supervisor for my internship. He didn't seem to be an America hater back then, but these documents sure do reek of it.

Anything like this coming from the EPC? ;)