For (which?) God and (whose?) Country

I just read the New Yorker report on the raid that killed bin Laden.


I took a few things away from it.

1st. There is no military organization in the world that can even come close to matching the courage, determination, ability, and competence of the armed forces of the United States.

This is compounded by the willingness of the American people to pursue Justice.

You can hate President Barrack Obama’s policies and politics, but you cannot doubt his courage, his willingness to make difficult decisions, his admiration of, concern for, and confidence in the military.

He risked his Presidency on doing the right thing.

2nd (and this is more troubling)

The article reports the following transmission was sent to confirm contact with bin Laden (known as “Crankshaft” by JSOC group and referred to as “Geronimo” in the broadcast”).

Inside the compound the Seal team radioed;

“For God and Country, Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo”

This was immediately followed by the words “Geronimo, E.K.I.A.” (Enemy Killed in Action) to confirm he was dead.

The article goes on to describe the tension in the White House situation room.

At one point the article points out “as they awaited word, VP Biden nervously fingered his Rosary”

I was struck by the incongruity of these statements.

It was blind, nonsensical, religious belief that triggered the situation in the first place.

What was the difference? Our praying to a different invisible “God”?

One God sent planes into buildings.

One God guided forces to a house in Pakistan.

Taken in the best light, I guess the “Christian” God is more “surgical” in his vengence.

To borrow a line from a t-shirt I once saw;

“Science flies you to the moon, Religion flies you into buildings”

I do not begrudge people their religious beliefs. I do not doubt their sincerity. As long as it is personal and private.

I am troubled by any of our governmental actions, our elected officials, our powerful military being guided by any religious tenets.

Morality, honesty, and integrity do not exist because of religion, they exist in spite of it.

Studies show humans are evolutionarily “designed” (now that’s Intelligent!) to be moral, empathetic, and ethical.

Religion compels a certain behavior out of fear of eternal damnation or reward of a blissful, eternal life (especially with Seventy-two Virgins).

Humans have an innate sense of right and wrong and most follow that path. Religiosity, a by-product of our evolutionary development, is unnecessary.

If those Seals want to pray to thank God, if the Vice President wants to recite the ‘Holy Rosary’ and go to Mass, if the President wants to acknowledge God’s help in making the decision, I fully support their right to do it, privately.

But not as Officials of the US Government and not using any resources of that government.

I believe the decision to send bin Laden’s remains into the ocean, with appropriate Islamic burial protocols, was a brilliant tactical decision. Equally so, the offer of the remains to the Saudi Government (who wisely declined). But I don’t think they are an endorsement of the efficacy or effectiveness of the religious procedures. Nor should they be.

In the interest of full disclosure and if, in the unlikely event I am wrong and God does exist, Osama bin Laden’s passage into the eternal was dependent our exact adherence to Islamic protocols, I pray we fucked it up!

This will be a better world when the world adopts the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach to Religion.

6 thoughts on “For (which?) God and (whose?) Country

  1. I agree with your overall point with regards to “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and with keeping religion out of government decision making, but not everyone can completely separate the decision making process from their personal beliefs. People are guided by their values. I don’t think that you can equate fingering a rosary with flying a plane into a building and murdering people. He obviously went against his religious belief “thou shalt not kill” when he became involved in the approval of the plan to kill Bin Laden. Why is it such a problem for him to seek some comfort in his rosary if that is his belief? Not all religious beliefs are blind and non-sensical! You are allowed your beliefs, why aren’t others as long as their beliefs don’t hurt or hinder others. (and I am not talking about the extremists of any religion, they are just beyond reason).

    1. The danger lies in people taking guidance from a source that is based solely on faith. There is no proof of the validity of any religious beliefs. Never has been, never will be. The argument that “well you can’t prove God doesn’t exist” isn’t valid. One cannot prove a negative.

      Suppose one’s “God” suddenly decides it would be a good idea to nuke all Muslim countries. If you truly believe, would you follow that logic? Some might.

      I disagree that there is any socially, ethically, morally redeeming value in drawing comfort or guidance from myths. All religious beliefs are, in fact, blind.

      In this country over 60% of the people believe in Creationism which has no scientifically valid proofs and disbelieve Evolution that has overwhelming evidence.

      A substantial majority of people believe the Bible to be a factual historical document. One written by illiterate desert nomads?

      The more I read religious documents, The Bible, Koran, Talmud, etc. the more it is evident they are untrue, motivated to control populations, and dangerous.

      People taking comfort and guidance in an unseen, anthropomorphic, interested being that has direct influence over our lives is frightening.

      Humans are evolutionarily developed from the beginning to look for cause. When they can’t explain it, God did it. It’s called decoupled cognition.

      The single best argument against religious truths is the number of natural phenomenon once attributed to divine intervention, i.e disease, mental illness, thunder, Earth-centric solar system, that are now known to be caused by explainable conditions in nature.

      Because we cannot explain everything today isn’t proof of God’s existence, or religious validity, but merely the slow, but inevitable, progression of knowledge through science and reason.

      Those people that flew planes into buildings are no more different than Bishop Tobin claiming Same Sex marriage is an abomination before God and prevents one from going to heaven. One may be more extreme and immediate in it’s harm, but they have similar effect, to deprive another of their humanity based on an unrealistic, unreasonable, and unverifiable belief.

  2. I hate to type or I would respond in more depth. I can’t logically explain why I believe in the existance of god. I do not believe in any organized religion. The bible and all other religious documents are man made and interpreted. I just finished reading a book about the mormon church and am in shock that anyone could believe that crap. That said, I do believe there is some benefit to society from organized religions (again excluding the extremists). People find comfort, companionship, purpose and a sense of belonging to a group with common beliefs (even if not based on fact). Maybe there is no “god”, but believing in a higher power has helped many people in a time of need. I have seen many sick people in the hospital receive comfort from this belief. If it turns out not to be real, well it still helped at the time. My point is just because it can’t be proven why does that mean it can’t be real. If people believe, let them. If Biden likes to pray with his rosary, let him. I don’t think most educated people make many decisions bases solely on faith. ( extremists not included)

    1. I am glad it compels you to respond. Read the book Pagan Christs. It’s on kindle for 3$ on amazons

      Joe Broadmeadow

      “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary at least one in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things” Rene Descartes

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