The Echo Chamber
Thursday, January 23, 2003
  10:27 AM

Back After a Month

I took about a month off from blogging. There was plenty to write about, but in writing everyday about the war I found that I was repeating myself. I was also saying the same thing that other bloggers were saying. So I just stopped writing until something came along that inspired me to go at it again.

So I see this article and think to myself, "what kind of military honor guardsman would have a problem with the phrase, ''God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America.'?"

Here's the context: honor guardsman Patrick Cubbage has been fired for using that phrase as he handed over a flag to a grieving family member. His training calls for him to say ""This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service." His training further mandated that "if the next of kin has expressed a religious preference or belief add: 'God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America.' "

A fellow honor guardsman complained that this phrase created a hostile environment so Cubbage was instructed to discontinue using the blessing. Later when serving at a funeral involving a particularly religious family, he used the blessing again. Apparently this fellow honor guardsman practically ran to report this blessing. Ultimately Cubbage was fired.

First, this tattle-tale has no business being an honor guardsman. An atheist with such delicate sensibilities shouldn't be in a position were he must attend funerals that are usually religious.

Second, why is it only the atheist who has sensibilities that must be protected? Why not protect Cubbage's sensibilities (and the sensibilities of the suffering families) from this proselytizing atheist? Cubbage wasn't asking this guy to do anything or say anything. He wasn't saying anything to this guy or asking him to believe anything. He was simply reciting an ecumenical blessing. Why shouldn't the atheist be required to show some tolerance? But this whimp wasn't satisfied until he stopped a practice that offended noone toward whom it was directed and was a source of comfort for many.

Lastly, Cubbage was following standard protocol. The military should have stood by him and should instead have offered a transfer to this cry-baby.  


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