Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fatted Calf

Oh God said to Abraham kill me a son
Well Abe said where d'you want this killin done?

--Highway 61
, Bob Dylan

"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother

when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee,
Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven
--Matthew 18:22

I came that they may
have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance

--John 10:10

Thou shalt have no graven images

--Exodus 20:4


Sunday homily
: What do you sacrifice?

There is a contradiction in the way avowed Christians value life when it concerns their soldiers. According to the Christian, his leader is a good and loving God who values all of his children, but those who oppose our God-mandated actions are evil, or at least misled.

Christianity offers Jesus, whose message is a supposed deviation from that of the vengeful God of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham who requested sacrifice to appease His anger and to save debased man.

Ranger does not much care about religion, but does care about his Army and the country that supposedly walks in Jesus's sandals.

Yesterday Ranger visited the Special Forces Museum at Ft. Bragg and met a Vietnam veteran Catholic Chaplain, probably a retired officer still working at the Post Hospital. The Chaplain proudly recounted the story of how he received the last confessional an SF Captain shortly before he was wasted in Afghanistan. He said several years hence he received his son's confession, and told him his father was "looking down on him from his place in heaven."

At that moment Ranger knew Catholicism had crossed over and become yet another enabler of our phony wars.
Christianity is a supporting arm of our government's newly acquired warrior mentality. Religion has shifted its focus from saving individual souls to propping up national policy.

Ranger was taught to protect the lives of the soldiers entrusted to his leadership and care. Though this stewardship is what we are taught, it is a lie.
The Army (military) requires human sacrifice. We drag our soldiers up to the altar, bless them, then sacrifice them to false gods and prophets.

As an Army we worship badges, tabs, medals and all other accouterments, such as battle streamers, service hash marks and especially victory medals. All of this and none of this has any value unless there has been death and serious suffering in the journey to achieve these baubles.

Our system is based upon human sacrifice that we know by the name, "soldier". Until we cease valuing this sacrifice our policy and our badges are pinned to a vengeful god that requires sacrifice.

We have made no progress since either Abraham or Jesus. Worse than al Qaeda who wishes to regress to the 13th century, our sacrifices are rooted in a belief system created several centuries B.C.E. Jesus's death was supposed to mark the end of human sacrifice, yet we still engage in sacrifice.

We sacrifice to a flag now, and we justify it with a love of God, but Jesus was not a Green Beret.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Jay said...

As a 30 year student of philosophy and theology and former minister, I can tell you I have never seen the truth put so clearly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 10:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Interestingly, the only decent chaplain I ever knew was Father Jack, the 3rd Brigade sky-pilot at Ft. Bragg. He was a pragmatic guy who understood that in war the question of who got to stay and who went was pretty random and that all the pretty words in the Scriptures couldn't beautify the ugly kinds of deaths that happen to soldiers.

Most chaplains were fairly worthless. I almost ended up in front of the commander for getting into a violent argument with an Army Reserve padre who, though utterly worthless the rest of the time, would wander around in the field pestering the troops about profanity.

I will repeat then what I told him now: soldiering and war are the Devil's work, and when you put on the tree suit you accept that you're working as the doorman at the gates of hell. I am and was OK with that, but as the supposed servant and prophet of the merciful and loving God, he didn't have much of an excuse.

Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 10:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks for your kind words, I'm humbled.
Yesterday I was asked if I believed in God and I failed to respond ,but my standard reply is-does He believe in me.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Is it safe to say that Chaplains are God's pimps?
Does God write their OER's?

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i am still close friends with a chaplain who was at dong ap bai. he was a good and decent man in a place and time where goodness and decency were in short fucking supply.

he was also a shitty poker player. that's something i always liked in an officer.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 10:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Jim: I was OK with their pimping for the Big Guy. It was their ability to serve both God and Mars that I had a problem with.

In my experience, the good were terrific, but the bad were worse than the most ate-up, worthless dirtbag of a private.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 12:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your post a lot. Seems obvious now that I've read it. I thank you. I also extend my thanks to the previous commenters. I've wondered what sort of opinions were held by soldiers about chaplains - now I have at least a sample.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 1:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Publius said...

I got into it with a chaplain way back when I was a lad in Vietnam. I don't recall the particulars, but it had to do with how he thought he was a real officer, and how he interacted with enlisted personnel. Embarrassed the shit out of him and he stayed away from then on.

Years later, on another overseas assignment in an area with only about 35 officers, I spoke with a chaplain about his habit of telling stories in the O Club about enlisted parishioners. Reminded him of the confidentiality provisions of his job and asked if he wanted to stay in the Army. Point taken.

I know we need chaplains in the military, but I think they should be scrutinized far more than they are, with the secular chain of command clearly outlining the limits of their job and also directing that they refrain from proselytization. In this respect, I'm thinking of the Air Force in particular, and its love affair with fundamental Christianity. The Army has its problems there, too.

If one thinks about it, the problem does not lie with the chaplain corps, the members of which all work for line officers. The problem is with the many military officers, some very senior, who see no problem whatsoever in chaplains espousing the old "Kill a Commie for Christ"—now updated to include adherents of Islam—and in fact encourage the God Squad to do so.

The ultimate blame is with the NCA, where the military gets told what to do. The president should invite any officer who doesn't like the fact that we're a secular nation and that military personnel should not have religion imposed upon them to seek other employment. The fact that presidents and members of Congress do nothing speaks volumes about the ongoing degradation of the nation.

Military chaplains used to actually give succor not only to their own side, but to the wounded and dead of the other side. We don't see that anymore, do we? The God Squad has chosen sides—and they would say it's because their counterparts on the other side have done the same—but what it's done is result in their losing whatever legitimacy they may have once had.

IMO, the God Squad no longer has legitimacy. Right along with our political and military leaders. We've essentially become a mediocre nation that pays lip service to a god, but actually only worships at the throne of Mammon.

What if the ancients were right, and there are many gods? That would explain a lot.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"What if the ancients were right, and there are many gods?"
"The Gods of Eden" by William Bramley.

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim said...

We are in almost complete agreement. My only sticking point is that i must pray on this some more before making further comment./// I believe that the basic contradiction of Christianity is that GOD IS GOOD when all observation leads one to the opposite conclusion. All we must do is pull our heads out of our asses to see this fact. We have stripped god of his majesty by making him a good guy. If I were god this would piss me off and I'd start a flu epidemic.

I agree with FDChief that we are doing the devils work when we carry a rifle and chaplains being present doesn't change that fact. I'm not religous but killing is not a christian or democratic value.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

I gotta say Ranger I am slightly perturbed at the ease at which you string together such a short essay whose prose flows so well.

You've nicely encapsulated the just feed the war cannibal animal. Excellent post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 4:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Trust me there was no ease in writing this. It chewed on me for 2 days before I realized the connects and disconnects.I was in a foul, nasty mood until I spewed forth this essay.
Be advised that the smoothness comes from Lisa's excellent editorial skills as I tend to write more basically without smoothness.
God help us all. Glad to see you still with us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 5:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Please do not use my thoughts as indicative of what the average soldier thinks. I'm fat , dumb and happy without any hot metal slicing thru the general area of my body.
It's all perspective , and I offer only mine, but I will say as a CO. CDR. I actually had to have required formations to get the troops to go to church. I did so because the Bn Chaplain was a friend and he requested the Co Cdr's help. I also often tied 72 hour passes to a church visit as a requirement. Most troops gladly accepted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 5:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

i suspect war is not about God at all.... you only live once

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 7:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Oh, boy -- don't that just say it all. *sigh*. There's some truth here. Sadness on the personal = sadness on the universal.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 7:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger stephen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 11:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

We can be contacted at ranger@rangeragainstwar.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger samcooke said...

Good read. As my WWII Recon-type Dad used to say "now you're getting down to the nut-cuttin' "

Your use of song lyrics in your pieces is really good and has sent me looking for some your songs more than once.

I've been waiting years to tell this one again, it might fit the conversation:

Sometime in the Spring of '68 out west of Ben Het....least I think it was, since Ben Het was the last village we saw, a priest came out to us...morale boosting, I suppose.
Since I'd had enough of that particular form from spending a lot of my childhood in Louisiana, I passed on the ceremony.
Wasn't real wine anyhow.

I did happen to pass by the priest as he was packing up his artifacts. When he finished he bent over and picked up a web belt and began strapping on a .45 pistol.
"Whoa there, Captain O'Malley", I said to him, "when did men of the cloth start carrying pistols?"
Pulling the belt one notch tighter than was necessary, for my edification, I'm sure, he looked up at me and said:
"When the sons of bitches started shooting at us."

He turned and headed for the chopper.
I stood there with my mouth open.

There it is....

Deryle Perryman


Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

samcooke: Your padre was the heir to a great tradition. Supposedly William the Conqueror brought his nephew Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, along with him to Senlac. Odo carried a mace rather than a sword so he could technically honor the church's prohibition against shedding blood.

Or, as the medieval cleric Arnulf-Amalric said when his lieutenants advised him that his troopers were butchering good Catholics along with the heretics: "Slay them all - God will recognize his own".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Sam Cook,
I knew an SF Chaplain that carried an M 79 and when I called him on it he said-Hruska yore not much of an Infantryman, this is only a wound producing weapon.
Nice to have you on board.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 4:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

my chaplain friend asked me to show him the fine art of the stoner. a lovely weaon.

i am all for folks handling their own shit when all shit is hitting all fans. and on a marine firebase that was shared by the teams the whole idea of nonfuckingcombatants was a bit on the bizarre side.

the chaplain corps i've seen in action now is lockstep godmongers who preach the gospel of republican jesus.

fuck that. fuck them. they ask "what would jesus do?"

my answer: "probably bitchslap your lying ass."

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Serving Patriot said...

@ Minstrel Boy,

the chaplain corps i've seen in action now is lockstep godmongers who preach the gospel of republican jesus.

Amen brother! AMEN!!!!!

You said it way better than I could!

And oh so right you are.


Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 10:30:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Mad Celt said...

A Vietnam veteran was overheard rebuking the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, about his unswerving dedication to non-violence.

"You're a fool," said the veteran - "what if someone had wiped out all the Buddhists in the world and you were the last one left. Would you not try to kill the person who was trying to kill you, and in doing so save Buddhism?!"

Thich Nhat Hanh answered patiently "It would be better to let him kill me. If there is any truth to Buddhism and the Dharma it will not disappear from the face of the earth, but will reappear when seekers of truth are ready to rediscover it.

"In killing I would be betraying and abandoning the very teachings I would be seeking to preserve. So it would be better to let him kill me and remain true to the spirit of the Dharma."

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 5:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


re. MB's "the chaplain corps i've seen in action now is lockstep godmongers who preach the gospel of republican jesus"

Have you seen Al Franken's "Supply Side Jesus"? Brilliant.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 1:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Serving Patriot said...


That was GREAT!!! Thanks for pointing it out! Made my evening!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 7:29:00 PM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home