There are a lot of issues that I really understand both sides of. Most anything with money will benefit some at the expense of others. I don’t think gun control or drug policy have “clean” answers: I’m not at all comfortable banning guns, but I’m not at all comfortable allowing felons to own automatic weapons; I don’t get why smoking marijuana is a crime, but I’m not at all opposed to putting heroin dealers in jail. And I still struggle with the issue of abortion.
But there have been some really strange things going on…
- In 2006, the military established a policy manual describing what was–and what wasn’t–an acceptable interrogation method. In particular, it banned:
- Forcing detainees to be nude for interrogations
- Engaging in sexual acts, real or simulated
- “Beating, shocking, or burning” them
- Mock executions
- Starving or freezing them
In my mind, this is a no-brainer. We’re not some backwards third-world nation led by a cruel military dictator. (Well, snide comments aside…) We’re the freaking United States of America, and we pride ourself on being ‘advanced’ past barbarism. The 2006 military policy confirmed this.
- A bill that would require the CIA to follow the same rules got struck down in Congress. Of course, don’t be so quick to fault Congress–if it had made it through, the Administration said it would veto it anyway.
- So what did Congress pass? I’m glad you asked! The House passed House Resolution 847. It’s a non-binding resolution, which is a nice way of saying that it’s utterly pointless and carries no weight. It contains lots of feel-good stuff endorsing Christmas. But a lot of people seem troubled by the fact that it also “recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world.” I mean, I’m a Christian, and, if you define “great” in terms of numbers as opposed to quality, it’s a fact that Christianity is one of the “great religions.” But I’m still left with an uneasy feeling about this. Even if “it’s true,” why is Congress giving Christianity its stamp of approval? It just seems really strange. And our Founding Fathers were uneasy about it, too. (Of course, the First Amendment bans Congress from establishing a religion, not endorsing it. But a case from the 80′s gives us a clarification that government endorsement of a religion still construes an Establishment Clause violation.)
But of course it’s a moot point, because the First Amendment starts off with “make no law,” and this isn’t a law. It’s a Resolution. And it doesn’t really do anything except proclaim to the world that the United States likes Christianity. And frankly, I’d like it if our proclamations to the world were kept in line with our Constitution.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Christianity. I just find it really, really weird that Congress is endorsing it. Especially when half the world thinks we’re in a war against Islam, where endorsing Christianity is only going to further that misinterpretation?
Raise your hand if you think that Congress has lots its mind!