Hi, and welcome back to the Bearded Atheist blog. It's been four years or so and this made me mad enough to start the entire thing up again. It's good to see you.
This is an evolving story and I will edit this to reflect any changing information or knowledge. This happened to myself earlier today at work; my place of employment is left vague intentionally to keep my Corporate Overlords from getting awks about it. I have witnesses to these events, but would prefer to keep their identities secret for the same reason.
To set the scenario up, it is important to know I carry myself with a much more queer bearing than I used to when I was younger. I was wearing pink earrings, blue nail polish, and I'm lucky enough to work at a place that allows me to wear a button that showcases my sexuality.
|This one, because I also like DIIIICKS.|
I currently work as a cashier at a popular grocery outlet near a busy intersection. During lunchtime it is not out of place for me to wait on a wide variety of customers, from actual farmers, WoC in hijabs, skateboarding teenagers, and soccer moms, all the way to Mormon missionaries, travelling businessmen, members of the state government, on duty police officers and the military. I have a dry sense of humor with strangers, but am mostly open and friendly to everyone. As always, I am passionately curious about people and what motivates them, frequently engaging in micro-conversations with the random aspects of humanity I meet. Within this mess an older, white male in full military camo, with an Army Ranger patch on his arm and a Lt. Col. insignia on the front of his uniform came into my line in express. His name was Peterson.
|Lt. Colonel or Tree Star, I can never tell|
Peterson and I talked about him going camping this weekend and then him heading further south to catch the upcoming Solar eclipse moving through our state in a few days. It was friendly and cordial, but then, right as he was about to leave, he reached into his back pocket and gave me this:
|Watch a review about this here.|
This, my friends is a Chick Tract. For those of you who aren't aware of these wonderful little booklets, they are handed out by a lot of Christians in an attempt to scare people into/back into their religion. They are full on garbage, and this one is horrible for a lot of reasons. If you've got 45 minutes. listen to my friends Hugo and Jake over at The Bible Reloaded do an entire episode on this one right HERE.
I have several problems with this. First off, an officer in uniform threatening civilians with violence by sending them to hell is highly unethical. These things are hate speech. Filled with lies and hypocrisy from the early 90's, this issue not only makes up what the bible says and what was happening within the LGBT community at the time, it insinuates that all gay men are also pedophiles through illustration, and it uses the story of Lot to make judgment on us. INCLUDING THE PART WHERE LOT GIVES UP HIS DAUGHTERS TO BE RAPED. That is not a typo or misrepresentation at all; in this story, the "godly" man offers his virginal daughters up to be raped and yet he is somehow considered a good person. According to this tract, Rape > being Queer.
So, to my full understanding. Lt. Col. Peterson finds it be completely acceptable to hand out religious paraphernalia threatening violence to people while in uniform, and does so from the cowardly position of them being forced to be nice to him since they are at work and doubly cowardly because he did it at the end of the conversation. Like a cowardly coward. Let me repeat that, Lt. Col. Peterson is a coward.
Now, I'm personally pro-soldier because they get me drunk a lot when I'm on the road doing comedy and many of my friends and family have served, also they do not create the horrible policies I am actually against. I also know it is most likely against the rules and this behavior does not represent the Army Rangers or the service they have done for this country. But our taxes pay this man and he is representing our country in a leadership position and we should expect more from him, and I'm certain most of you can at least agree we don't want our military officers using their uniform to push whatever religion they happen to be into. This is unacceptable and I am not going to drop it.
Feel free to leave comments or questions here and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I will be talking about this on a podcast in less than two hours and will post a link to that with our opinions as soon as it's posted. Thanks for reading.