Why I’m Happy About the RFRA and Other Random Ramblings

I finally graduated my new MOS course for the Marines. I’ve lateral moved from Artillery to Civil Affairs. It was pretty easy from a physical fitness perspective. We didn’t PT a single damn time. Now, that’s my kind of course! On the other hand the mental portion was extremely grueling. They crammed a lot of information into way too short a time frame. The information was really good, even if I felt the instruction could have been much better. I guess I’ll just be stuck continuing to study it on my own for awhile.

Me changed into civvies 20 minutes after graduation.
Me changed into civvies 20 minutes after graduation.

During the course of the last few months I’ve just been sitting back and watching everything political and religious that I used to write about much more frequently. I realized I had just been putting far too much effort into it and was burnt out. I’ve begun to engage more with the joking manner like I used to before. It seems to have improved my mentality towards issues in life and that’s the direction I’m going to take going forward with my writings. I’ll still cover important things, but I’m just going to take it with a grain of salt.

RFRA

Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently and it sent a firestorm throughout the national media. At first, of course, I was pretty pissed about it. I’m a hoosier. I grew up in Indiana. I really like the people there and I think they are some of the nicest people in the world. It’s incredibly affordable, and one day I might like to retire there.

As glad as I was to see the national outcry over the passage of an obvious anti-LGBT hate bill, I was much sadder to see that it made its way through both houses of my state legislature (by an overwhelming majority) and then signed into law by Mike Pence, who used to be my Congressman before he was elected governor. What made me really really happy about it, though, was the internal outcry from so many of Indiana’s citizens. Cities across the state immediately began passing municipal statutes outlawing the use of RFRA, creating sexual orientation as a protected status, and some elected officials calling for Pence’s resignation.

My hometown of Muncie, Indiana, even surprised me (yes, the same one that had a mobile meth lab in Wal Mart). Growing up there, I saw a lot of homophobia and was heavily influenced by it in my younger years. When I moved away I learned that this kind of behavior was detrimental and hateful. So I naturally assumed that Muncie would stay silent on the issue, secretly supporting the passage of the RFRA. They did not. They came out with a swift rebuttal and at their next City Council meeting will be stripping the RFRA from being enforced within Muncie.

The Mayor of Indianapolis signed an executive order keeping the RFRA out of my state capitol – a Mayor who is a Republican, btw. The indignation and outcry all over the state was bipartisan. It was great to see that. I know there is always a lot of vitriol across the country against the backwards policies of Republicans, but that doesn’t resonate with the Republicans that I grew up with. I might disagree with them on quite a few issues but they are decent, hard-working, and caring. At the national level the radical tea partiers have voted out the sane moderates. But I still see quite a few of those sane Republicans flourishing at the local level – the Chamber of Commerce is one example I have seen of the fight to bring back decency to that party.

Atheists in uniform

I haven’t been real involved with military atheism for awhile. For me, personally, I’m just over it a bit. I get that there are atheists in uniform and I always think that somehow other people should come to that conclusion, but I continue to get emails for help from fellow foxhole atheists. It’s a stark reminder to me that as annoying as it is to continue to parrot the same line and argument time and again – there are many people who feel we don’t have a right as an atheist while serving in the armed forces to not worship, or they just don’t care and want to cram it down our throat.

I don’t intend to sound down on the issue. I just wish it didn’t exist. That would be ideal…

I also have people asking me when the next Rock Beyond Belief will be. Never, I hope. Because that means that the military is funding sectarian religious concerts. Putting together events like that take a lot of money, effort, and work. When Justin put together RBB in North Carolina the whole point was to not have another religious concert. When I petitioned Camp Pendleton for RBB2 the whole point was to not have any more religious concerts. That’s been successful on both those bases. If someone sees violations like that occurring on their base, I will fully support them in an effort to petition for their own concert.

I also have a lot of people asking me about when Justin Griffith will be returning. Unfortunately, that answer is never. He told me that he wants to live as a private citizen. The effort behind RBB put a huge toll and strain on many aspects of his life and, while he is glad he did it, he doesn’t want to be an activist anymore. I totally understand that and think it’s something he has well earned. I wish him all the best and if he ever changes his mind have no doubt that he’ll have a home here to place his random ramblings.

I guess I’ve run out of things to ramble about.

Featured Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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