20 September 2007

Thursday Night Rant

I haven't posted for a while, but not because I've had nothing to say. Work and Family have occupied all of my time, not that I'm complaining about the latter, so I really haven't had a moment to sit down and write anything.

Tonight, however, I sat down after getting my daughter to bed and picked-up the archdiocesan weekly paper. I almost threw it out, but I figured I'd check to see if they had published any letters from Catholics who disagree with their overly wishy-washy b.s. See, a week or two earlier, two of their regular editorial writers had pieces on Iraq, and they weren't glowing endorsements of the U.S. presence there. Anyway, I checked it out and they did the 50/50 response. The first two letters were in support of the U.S. and our Troops in Iraq, and the other two weren't.

The first lady made some good arguments for seeing the mission through, and the second lady spoke of her son who had served in Iraq. Both were supportive of the Troops and the mission.

Then came the first not-so-supportive letter from someone named Akber Kassam, with no parish listed. Yea, I don't think that ol' Akber is Catholic. He set me off first with his line:

There is nothing to be gained by continued presence of United States troops, which are currently prolonging the dysfunction of the Iraqi government at the expense of American lives and untold amounts of money better spent elsewhere.
Untold amounts of money that would be spent better elsewhere. Really? Take a look at the federal budget, Akber. We're spending untold more dollars on the Great Experiment's War on Poverty than we are in Iraq. Image if we used the "throwing good money after bad in a war that we still aren't winning" argument on the War on Poverty. Hell, we've been throwing more and more cash at that war for decades, yet the bleeding-hearts still think that we should be sinking more cash into that each year.

And as far as the expense of American lives goes, every single one of the Troops who I know understand the risk, but they also want to finish the mission. I don't want to see a single U.S. casualty, but that isn't realistic. War is war, and people will be hurt and, yes, some will die. Those of us who volunteered to put on the uniform were aware of the risk, but we wanted to do something for those who could not or would not fight for themselves. Kiss my exit point, Akber. The Troops know the risk and still keep signing-up so that they can bear that burden and finish the job.

But I took a deep breath and continued. Probably a bad move on my part.

The last letter was irritating to say the least. Her son, currently seventeen, was less than a year old when "the first President Bush declared war." B.S., lady. One, President Bush (Sr.) didn't declare war on Iraq (nor could he - take a civics class). Two, let's keep in mind that Saddam's little excursion into Kuwait got Beach Party Iraq - Part One started. Three, so what if your son was a baby at the time? My buddies and I were all waiting for our calls the night that the ground war started, and I got the extra joy of receiving a call in the early a.m. hours, thinking that I was being called-up for deployment, and instead found out that my mom had been in an accident that would end her life hours later. Still want to discuss the first Gulf War, Lizzie?

That wasn't the end of it for Lizzie, though. Nope, she had to give the tired argument that the Bush and Clinton administrations supported U.N. sanctions that "prevented necessary food and medicine from getting to Iraq." Again, B.S. Saddam's failure to comply with the cease-fire that ended hostilities is what brought the sanctions down upon Iraq, not the U.S. administrations. Also, keep in mind that there were actually exceptions for food and medicine. It was Saddam who kept that from getting through to his own people, not the U.S. or the U.N.

The last two letters were very typical of the attitude that I tend to run into in this Archdiocese, though, and that got me to thinking - am I even Catholic?

See, Akber and Lizzie make arguments similar to what I hear from the social justice type Catholics on a regular basis - they were duking it out before we got there, and our presence is just making it worse, so we should disengage outside of dialogue and humanitarian aid.

If that is the case, if that is what emulating Christ truly is, then count me out. What the social justice types say to me is that, even when a monster is killing innocents, we should just try to talk to the monster and give him goodies that we hope he'll pass on to the downtrodden. I don't want any part of that; I don't want to speak with or understand the Grendels of our day. I want to stomp on the monsters - period.

It seems to me that Catholicism has become a weak-knee, wishy-washy, anything-to-avoid-confrontation sort of belief system. What happened to overthrowing the tables of the money changers in God's House? Or how about cursing the tree that bears no fruit? Does Catholicism have no spine any longer?

If it is only about peace, and it is only about turning the other cheek, then I want no part of it. Honestly, if emulating Christ means that I need to stand by as innocents are slaughtered, doing nothing more than praying for something to happen instead of being the instrument to make the slaughter stop, then I'd rather take the alternative.

I remember an on-screen discussion between a get-the-bad-guys-damn-the-rules cop and a violence-is-always-wrong priest. The priest was condemning the cop for his ways, counseling him to stop the "cycle of violence" and to pray for God to send a solution to the evil of the criminals. The cop retorted with, "What if I am God's solution?"

Am I going to Hell? God only knows, but if the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul is what I need to follow to avoid such a fate, then I'd rather embrace that fate, taking out monsters as I go, and praying for Divine Grace to save me in the end.


No comments: