It seems that there is no more skillful use of evasive language than when the military is under pressure from the government to become ever increasingly politically correct and secular. For the purposes of this article, we are going to discuss a gobbledygook memo that was recently circulated by the Navy in regard to the “official policy” when it comes to placing or keeping Gideon Bibles in the vacation lodges that are part of the DOD’s R and R system utilized by members of the Navy.
The present-day route is to eliminate all religious product from Navy Lodge visitor rooms, says an e-mail to the Navy chaplain from The Navy Trade Company Command (NEXCOM). “For all those Navy Lodges with religious materials at the moment in guest rooms, the Navy Lodge Basic Supervisor will speak to the Installation Chaplain’s workplace who will give steering on the removal treatment disposition of these products.”
“Give steering,” don’t you love it? No one would have paid all that much attention to such an egregious suppression of religious liberty, as it appears that the lodges have some degree of autonomy as to what degree they will comply. However, housekeeping staff have told various news outlets that they were instructed to take the Bibles placed by the Gideons out of each room so they could be disposed of. An official NEXCOM spokesperson added to the confusion by stating the following: “Lodge professionals are coordinating with foundation chaplains about the disposition of all spiritual substance,” she said.
“Spiritual substance?” Is that like a “controlled substance?” That is distancing language if I have ever heard it, and I’ll explain what I mean by it. When you are trying to remove yourself from any link to a thing or concept that is not acceptable, either in your view or someone else’s, the first and best way to accomplish your goal is through the use of language. An excellent example is using the term “products of conception” when talking about an unborn child. If you distance yourself from the fact that this is a baby, you can justify killing it.
Therefore, if you refer to what the Gideons have done for over 100 years as placing “Spiritual substance,” in hotel or military lodge rooms, you remove yourself from being responsible for prohibiting the presence of the all-time best seller, better known as the Holy Bible.
This is the work of Mikey Feinstein of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and he has been after the Navy to nix the Gideons for 7 years. Mikey was thankfully prevented from accomplishing his goal of removing scripture from the white message boards posted outside the rooms of Air Force cadets. Here are some of his comments:
“FFRF is delighted to study that NEXCOM has taken critically its constitutional obligation to continue to be neutral toward religion as a consultant of our federal government,” FFRF Sam Grover instructed me. “By getting rid of Bibles from Navy-operate lodges, the Navy has taken a stage to be certain that it is not sending the impermissible message that Christians are favored more than friends with other spiritual beliefs or more than individuals guests with no faith.”
Mikey, the Bibles are in a DRAWER!! You don’t have to open the drawer, you don’t have to take the “spiritual substance” out of the drawer, you don’t have to open up the “spiritual substance,” you have a choice here. I guess you would not have been very happy with FDR, who insisted that every soldier who fought in WWII be given a Bible courtesy of the US government. Well, Mikey, we no likey, and this ain’t over, pal. Athenians, contact your legislators and join in the fight to keep the Gideons doing good for our servicemen and women.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner