Saturday, April 24, 2004

The Military-Religious-Industrial Complex Can Bite Me

I wanted to expand on two points that I’ve raised below, part of which was about religion, and part of which was about nuclear research. They’re unrelated, but I’ll combine them in one post.

Religion and politics: On the specific issue of the Catholic Church’s ridiculous attempt to sway the election towards pro-life politicians, Atrios has it exactly right here and right again here. Really, the big things that Atrios is examining is the media’s reaction to the Catholic Church’s advising vis-à-vis communion and pro-choice politicians. There are pro-choice Republicans and that’s not being looked at.

Also, Atrios points to an interesting post by Amy Sullivan that points out how little Bush goes through the performance of being devout. His church (United Methodist) opposed to war in Iraq and Bush doesn’t even really attend church these days. What does that say about his faith? I’d say it says that he prefers to worship in private and thinks religion is a private matter, but he clearly doesn’t think so, and the media tortured Howard Dean for saying pretty much that, so I think it’s time to examine Bush’s faith a little more clearly. In what ways does it guide his actions? Does he believe god talks to him? How does that manifest itself? Does he see visions or hear voices? Is his policy towards Israel dictated by the Christian Zionist movement or not? Why doesn’t he go to church? What sort of worship ceremonies does he follow? I just think that if everyone else is going to have to go through the faith-based wringer, let’s not take Bush at his word when he says he’s a devout Christian and let’s see how much his faith dictates his actions.

And also, I think it’s important to say that, in my humble opinion, in any movement (religious or otherwise) there’s a fine line between devout believer and barking lunatic. I’m not saying that Bush is a barking lunatic, I just think that getting some of the questions above would help the American people figure it out. I mean, even most religious people would probably have a problem with a commander in chief who hears god’s voice regularly and has visions, right?

Anyway, on to the nuclear research thing.

Hopefully, you’ve read Fred Kaplan’s great Slate piece on nuclear research. If you haven’t read it here. Now read this New York Times piece from this morning. An interesting juxtaposition, eh? We’re spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons that we won’t/couldn’t/shouldn’t use, in other words, we’re putting our national security at risk with foolish Cold War appropriations requests, while at the same time hanging the very people protecting our national security out to dry (the article, if you just want to skim, is about a homeless Iraq War veteran).

Surely some of that 30 billion dollars over four years for nuclear research could be put to better use, like paying people risking their lives a wage that allows them to live.

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