You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Oct 31, 2011
Memo to John Culberson, and to a lesser extent, the VA: YOU ARE DUMB.
Settling a lawsuit out of court is frequently seen as a good way to make the crazy person go away, assuming you have the resources to pay for and negotiate a settlement. Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of validating the crazy person taking legal action against you. And when that crazy person is taking the action based on a crazy worldview, then the side effect extends to validating the crazy worldview.
A week and a half ago, the Veterans Administration settled a lawsuit brought by some veterans' groups who claim the Houston National Cemetery was "preventing" religious services for dead veterans and soldiers. Under the terms of the settlement, the VA didn't admit wrongdoing, and specifically said this wasn't their policy, but they promised that this wouldn't be their policy going forward, either, allowing John Culberson to declare victory.
Culberson is a Texas congressman who's made this fake controversy his fake cause in the hopes of gaining real attention. After the lawsuits were filed, Culberson claimed to have gone "undercover" at a funeral and witnessed the incredible censorship taking place. He gave his account, of course, to Fox. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"Culberson said the commander of the honor guard was told by cemetery officials to approach a grieving widow to reconfirm that she wanted the word God mentioned at her husband’s graveside service. 'He quite correctly said as a Texan and a man of honor and integrity, "I’m not bothering that poor woman at this most terrible time of her life. We’re going to do the ritual,"' Culberson said. "Right in front of me, the VA directly and deliberately attempted to prevent the VFW from doing their magnificent, spiritual ritual over the grave of this fallen hero.'" - Fox News, quoting Culberson.
Here's a fun hint. When you have to slap that much rhetoric, and that many adjectives, around your story to make it sound bad, you're probably full of shit. Strip all that away, and what have you got?
Well, the cemetery asked the honor guard to confirm that the family wanted a religious ceremony. The honor guard refused to confirm that, so the people in charge of the cemetery said they couldn't do it. That's what this whole fucking thing is about. Asking the families if they want a religious ceremony, versus assuming by default that they do.
Assholes with privilege bristle whenever they're told they can't be the default. Gay people "shoving their gayness down our throats" is just straight people pissed that they can't assume everyone is straight by default. White people hate multiculturalism because it doesn't assume white dominance is the default. Racists balk at "Press 1 for English" because they want everyone to assume English by default. And these fuckwads sued the VA because they wanted the Muslims and the atheists and the Jews and the Wiccans and the Buddhists and the agnostics and the rest to be the ones who had to jump through hoops to opt out of Jesus, and make a "magnificent, spiritual ritual" be the default.
Under the settlement, Jesus still won't be the default, by the way. But the VA did make concessions making it easier for families to Opt In To The Savior, and promise not to do what they weren't doing ever again, and that was enough for Culberson to declare victory.
"Far too many of our military veterans have been laid to rest without a final prayer spoken over their graves because of some misguided policies that were blindly enforced. This practice has finally come to an end."
I think that first sentence says everything you need to know. Since we know that families can get prayers spoken over their loved ones' graves whenever they want, then a lot of those military veterans DIDN'T WANT. Notice that Culberson doesn't address the desire for the prayer when he says far too many went without it? That's a tell. It indicates that, like far too many Christians, Culberson thinks the heathens need to hear the magnificent spiritual rituals of Christianity, even after they're dead.
Plus, it gave the fuckhead a platform to spend two months reinforcing the belief that Obama and liberals hate Jesus and religion, and want to censor and ban it whenever possible. So it's simultaneously a shameless political ploy and the worst kind of honest zealotry. Hell of a combination. And with the VA settling to make it all go away, a hell of a thing to embolden.