I've treasured Sunday as a day for reflection since the fall of my eleventh year, when I walked down the aisle of Newmarket Baptist Church and accepted Jesus as my lord and savior. It was heady stuff.
After being born again, I attended church five or six times a week until I headed off to the US Naval Academy, where church was less frequent, but still mandatory. Every Sunday morning we marched off to chapel, platoons of clean-cut young men who would much rather be sleeping in. Four years later, I was a newly commissioned ensign. My duties included being the navigator on two ships, and jumping out of airplanes with Army Rangers and Marines. That's when the messianic glow started to fade.
As I look back, I realize I found myself at odds with two kinds of special forces. The military kind, where assassination and killing was the name of the game. And the religious kind, where magical thinking could justify almost anything anyone wanted to do. Based on my reading of the Holy Bible, Jesus was being cherry-picked to death, with eager souls everywhere defending their actions by quoting red text. I was witness to the rise of prosperity gospel, mega churches, and institutional racism.
Of all those things, it was the racism that finally did me in. Although the military has fostered integration in some ways, it has also been a known haven for bigots and misogynists. It still is.
This week, racism is the least of the Navy's worries. Another kind of evil has reared its head.
In an extraordinary act of bad judgement, Donald Trump has pardoned ta US Navy SEAL for war crimes. Against the advice of his senior staff, he has thrown a chain saw into military discipline, undercutting the professional judgement of people who have given their lives to military service. The Secretary of the Navy has a moral dilemma. Obey the draft-dodging dirt bag in the White House, ignore the draft-dodging dirt bag in the White House, or quit?
What would Jesus do? I'm guessing He'd have harsh words for everyone involved. Red text and all.