Saturday, May 13, 2006

Two Dumb Complaints

A Sri Lankan bishop postpones his trip to Britain because he believes that being fingerprinted at the embassy is "humiliating" and "discriminatory." Get real. At various foreign borders, I have been searched, probed, detained, lied to, denied a passport stamp, held at gunpoint, and robbed. Friends have had drugs planted in their baggage so that they could be forced to pay a bribe (the Peruvian police take credit cards). Those were humiliating and discriminatory. But offering my fingerprints in an effort to make international travel safer strikes me as the least a person of good consciece can do in these parlous times. Or, put bluntly: Wake up and smell the terrorism, Your Grace.

A Navy chaplain complains of religious persecution. He argues that the Navy wants to discipline him for praying in uniform. But this is disingenuous; he happened to pray while appearing in uniform at a politically-motivated press conference. And -- as the Right has recently taking to reminding retired generals -- there are strict rules governing the involvment of the military in civilian political affairs. (The difference being that the said generals have returned to civilian life, while Lt. Klingenschmitt remains on active duty. For now.)

Oh, and be alert: Friends in military chaplaincy have been worrying for years about the grpwing dominance of fundmentalists with a a hard-right political agenda. (See under: Air Force Academy). Klingenschmitt is a symptom, not the problem.


Anonymous said...

Do your research before you judge the chaplain...he had prior written permission to wear his uniform outside the White House, provided he limit his remarks to prayers, which he obeyed. Details here:

To prove the Chaplain violated orders, the Navy must first argue his prayers were "not a religious observance." Good luck.
This is an open and shut case, and the chaplain will win.

Father Anonymous Bosch said...

Wow. That is one awful website -- the sidebar floats over the text, so you can barely read the headlines.

But I clicked on what the site called the "smoking gun" -- a somewhat confused memo by Chaplain Klingenscmitt in which he tries to defend himself against charges before they have been filed. None too convincing.

Frankly, the memo seemed to suggest that he didn't know which orders to follow, and made some irresponsible choices about interpeting the ones he chose to follow. And that's his defense.

And the charges were filed in spite of his attempt at pre-emption, which suggests I'm not the only one who sees it this way.

But you're right about not doing my research, in that I am no expert on the UCMJ, nor do I intend to become one. Even so, "open and shut" seems a little overconfident. Let's see what the disciplinary process brings....