Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
--Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen
Every revolution evaporates
and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy
--The Castle, Franz Kafka
The last time we mixed politics with religion,
people got burned at the stake
--seen on a bumper sticker
Ranger has hesitated to write this as the subject is so repugnant to him. This is an effort to disgorge the offense.
Background: The American Legion is a congressionally-mandated fraternal organization created in 1919 and tasked with providing fellowship and counsel (when needed) to veterans. "To cement the ties and comradeship born of service; to consecrate the efforts of its members to mutual helpfulness and service to their country." Membership is open to anyone who served in the Armed Forces during a wartime period.
Anyone except Ranger it seems, for his local American Legion Post #13 refused his application for membership, despite the fact that he meets all requirements for membership.
His application was rejected by the Executive Committee, a subset whose actions are not vetted by the membership at-large; no formal rejection letter was provided. The Sergeant-at-Arms (James Steele) simply returned his application and dues, with no action taken. He said the Committee had determined that Ranger was UNPATRIOTIC.
Members have suggested to him that he was black-listed because he writes a liberal-leaning blog, which is to say a thinking blog which toes NO party line. In today's America, such a stance is not brooked and a veteran who does not hew to the conservative is seen as a Benedict Arnold.
Ranger is what the Congress chartered the American Legion to be: he is a non-partisan, true patriot. Yet his his anti-war stance resulted in his denial of Legion membership. Ranger feels the secretive actions of his American Legion post are corrosive, irrational and childlike -- surely not soldierly.
The executive committee -- whoever and whatever that body is -- has gravely offended the concept of veteran brotherhood and has acted in an exceptionally un-American and unpatriotic manner, in violation of their Congressional charter and contrary to their stated goal of 100% support of all things American.
The preamble to the American Legion's constitution states, "For God and country we associate ourselves ... to uphold the Constitution ... to foster and perpetuate a 100% Americanism ... to combat aristocracy .. to make right the master of might ... to promote goodwill ... to promote to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy."
Who upholds the Constitution with more vehemence than Ranger? His entire working life was in service to his country, first as a soldier then a government employee, both times subject to the laws based on our Constitution. An aristocrat he is not, and he aims to spread goodwill like Johnny Appleseed. Ranger's your man if you're looking for a crusader for justice, freedom and democracy -- even if he doesn't have an "S" on his chest.
But it seems the American Legion can only go so far with this "freedom" bit. As if to put the final nail in the coffin, Legion scuttlebutt is that Ranger crusades for the rights of gays to be in the military, and this is one point which earned him the irrevocable black spot. Word was that Ranger's blog ran a graphic of two Marines in pink undies (high apostasy, but also an untruth).
Beyond that, it may be distasteful to the N. FLA American Legion membership that Ranger does not cleave to any religious organization.
In fact, neither Ranger nor any American soldier raised their right hand and swore to defend anything but their country and its Constitution. He swore as a patriotic American to fulfill his duty to citizenship, and did so voluntarily, but God had no part in this equation. The military itself recognizes this by the fact that a soldier may list any religious belief on his dog tags, including "No Preference". God is a separate notion from Ranger's patriotic status, as the Constitution is a separate document from the bible, by design. There is no correlation between patriotism and religiosity.
The Legion has been hijacked by a god-fearing ideology, which taints its non-partisan stance. A group cannot be non-partisan while also hewing to a belief in a conservative god. The confluence of words like "patriotism" and "god" have corrupted our thinking, divided our nation and dismantled our fellowship.
Ranger for one feels that less godliness and more critical thinking would improve our lives, serving as a check on emotive institutional thought gone wild. If this desire for an inclusive and rational civil and political life makes Ranger unpatriotic, than we are certainly no longer "100% American".
Ranger is a free-thinker, champion of the equal rights of all citizens, and celebrates his American right to freedom from religious coercion -- a robust triumvirate of Americanism, something the American Legion claims to be all over (not).
This American Legion Post is violating its charter by using partisanship as an exclusionary device . In the U.S. government, an NGO may still not go rogue. American Legion Posts are subject to Congressional oversight to ensure they are fulfilling their charter.
American Legion Post #13 is not.