Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Billboard update, didn't last long in its original state

The billboard in North Carolina described here less than a week ago has already faced a reaction.  As one commentor wrote:

And you have to admit that what the vandals did in North Carolina was clever and relatively respectful, considering that the billboard was placed along Billy Graham Parkway by a coalition of atheists and agnostics.

Monday, June 28, 2010

verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information

A judge in Texas has ruled against a creationist institution that sought to offer state-recognized degrees in science education.  The Institute for Creation Research Graduate School was suing the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on the grounds that denying the recognition was a violation of freedom of religion.  This supposed institution of higher learning was unable to present even a coherent argument, as the Judge wrote:
It appears that although the Court has twice required Plaintiff to re-plead and set forth a short and plain statement of the relief requested, Plaintiff is entirely unable to file a complaint which is not overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information.
But that's in backward Texas, not in forward-thinking California, right?  Actually, the Institute for Creation Research has already succeeded here in California.  They are accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which California recognizes and therefore must approve of the creationist education graduate degree. 
This approval for a degree in science education was granted despite the fact that TRACS member institutions must, among other things, affirm "the divine work of non-evolutionary creation including persons in God's image."
Texas does not recognize the accrediting authority of "TRACS", hence the suit. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Religious law and secular law

Recently Belgian police detained and questioned nine Catholic Bishops at a meeting, raided the home of a retired bishop and searched the tomb of at least two deceased Archbishops.  This was to search for more evidence of sexual abuse and was prompted by several claims.  The Catholic Church's position has been one of outrage at this lack of respect.  But the Church has used legal deference to its sacred position to hide crimes in recent years, leading to a lack of credibility.  The Pope has agreed to work with legal authorities,
But in his reaction to the Belgian raids, Benedict stressed that abuse within the church needed to be handled by both civil and canon law, "respecting their reciprocal specificity and autonomy".
The Vatican's ambassador to Belgium has compared this lack of respect for Church Law to suppression under communist regimes.  But the Church in this case is not being unfairly targeted for ideological reasons, it is instead being treated as any other organization would be in similar circumstances.  Church Law is revealed law, not created by the governing bodies of Belgium, the USA, etc.  Much as humanists oppose the imposition of revealed truth into scientific or educational settings, we oppose the inclusion of revealed law in legal settings.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Secularist billboard in North Carolina

A group called Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics has put up a billboard for the month of July with a subtle, but unmistakable secular message.  Located on the Billy Graham Parkway (which the group says is a coincidence), the billboard simple repeats a phrase from the original Pledge of Allegiance, before religion was added in 1954.    Some are displeased with the implications:

"They want to exclude religion from the public arena altogether," said Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. "The whole message of the billboard undermines who we are in America."

These billboard campaigns are becoming common, we had our own here in San Diego several months ago.  While they won't change anybody's opinions, they do remind the public that the religious hold large segments of the public is weak.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jesus probably/definitely will return by 2050

According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 41% of Americans stated that Jesus probably or definitely will return by 2050.  Needless to say, this has been about to happen any day now for the past two thousand years.  A partial list of these predictions is here

By itself this belief is harmless.  The danger comes when people believe it so strongly that it affects their planning for the future.  In the case of the Millerites and other doomsday groups, this planning included selling all of ones worldly possessions, cutting worldly ties, and going into the wilderness to wait for the end.  For others it may take the form of living in the present and not planning for the future, since there won't be one.  Myths can provide comfort, but if taken too seriously they can also cause trouble to society. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Russia gets creationism, too

The Russian Orthodox Church has also adopted the tactics of the new creationists.  It's the scientists that are closed-minded and dogmatic, while the religious are open-mined and flexible:
"The time has come for the monopoly of Darwinism and the deceptive idea that science in general contradicts religion. These ideas should be left in the past," senior Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion said at a lecture in Moscow.   [. . .]
Hilarion heads the Church's external relations department. His lecture to Russian Foreign Ministry officials in Moscow was dedicated to fighting "fanatical secularism" of liberals hostile to religion, and called for dialogue with moderate secularists and cooperation with Catholics against common foes.
And they make use of the confusion over the word "theory" (a system of rules that explains and predicts observable facts vs a guess):
"Darwin's theory remains a theory. This means it should be taught to children as one of several theories, but children should know of other theories too."
The creationists, however, have a longer way to go in Russia than they do in the USA.  There are Russian religious leaders that would match the fundamentalists we have, but the mass of fundamentalist followers is, so far, absent:
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a veteran dissident, told Reuters Russian liberals would fight any attempt to introduce religious teaching into Russian classrooms, particularly in science.
"It's a dangerous idea and we will do all we can to stop it," she said. "We overcame Communism as the state ideology and certain forces want to replace it with Orthodox Christianity."
She said it was unlikely religious teaching would replace Darwin in the national curriculum, but it could find its way into some schools with enough pressure from the Church.

Why do atheists care about religion?

A nice five-minute video about how religion affects you even if you are not a believer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Creationists on the march in Northern Ireland

The "teach the controversy" movement is not confined to the USA, as shown by recent events in distant Northern Ireland.  In that case, a group called the Caleb Foundation is agitating for creationism.  One of their targets is the Ulster Museum:
We fully accept that the theory of evolution is the view of the majority of scientists, but it is important to note that evolution is a theory and not a fact. A visit to the Ulster Museum would not give that impression. Indeed, the very clear assertion is made across the entire "Nature Zone", that evolution is a fact. This, presumably quite deliberate, error is further compounded by the complete absence of even the merest mention of any other theory of origins such as the Biblical account of creation, for which there is strong scientific evidence. 
Accordingly, they met with the Northern Ireland Cultural Minister who then took the demands for creationist inclusion to the museum, using the language of equality, human rights, and inclusion.
If Northern Ireland is to move towards a shared future on a genuine basis of equality and inclusivity, then it is only right that a publicly funded institution such as the Ulster Museum is fully and sensitively reflective of the various views of society as a whole - including those of evangelical Christians.
Not to be kept down, the group has also been objecting to tourist information about the Giant's Causeway.  This is an area of interlocking stone columns created 50 to 60 million years ago by volcanic activity.  And there is the source of objection, since some proclaim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

We could dismiss the Caleb Foundation as a small, fringe group, but the fact that they were able to get the Cultural Minister to advocate for them is a significant step in importance and power. 

We can pity the targets of their campaigns.  Scientists, educators, museum directors and others who are pressured to teach misleading and discredited information under threat of being called closed-minded and bigoted.   We can also work to improve the knowledge and critical thinking skill of those around us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Science is a threat to revealed truth

In a fascinating column from Joseph Farah of Worldnetdaily we find bone-deep irony.  At issue is a hypothesis put forward by a research group studying the chemical composition of comets that those comets may have brought the necessary ingredients for life to Earth.  The group examined, for example, the component of Argon, Xenon and Krypton in the atmosphere.  These elements do not decay or interact with other elements, so the amounts we see today are the same they have always been.  Yet the amounts on Earth do not match those of the Sun or meteorites.  They do, however, match the ratios believed to be found in comets, leading to the conclusion that comets have had a significant influence on the Earth.  Some of the elements brought allowed the emergence of life. 

Farah's reaction is one of indignation that anyone would even pursue such a line of questioning:

Knowledge apart from God is foolishness.
And that's exactly what pseudo-scientists trying to answer the mysteries of the universe apart from an understanding of God represent – foolishness. You cannot understand this Earth and His universe without knowing the Creator.
And denying the Creator, and being wise in your own eyes, leads only to destruction and death.
And Farah is clear that such research is evil:
And to proclaim, with such certitude, that life on Earth is simply the result of cosmic accidents, random-chance mutations and billions of years of death and destruction removes any hope for humanity beyond the grave. It denies the revelation of God. It removes any truth to the Judeo-Christian morality that makes human life on this planet tolerable. It kills purpose and meaning to that life. It actually justifies the unspeakable manmade tyranny and genocide of the 20th century.
The irony is that he is using the internet to deliver this message.  The result of centuries of scientific inquiry is being used to rail against scientific inquiry.  Farah is undoubtedly grateful that past researchers followed their own paths even if they lead away from orthodoxy.  But times, apparently, have changed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Targeting San Diego's judge positions: an update

The May 31, 2010 entry described the effort to replace four incumbent judges in San Diego county with four candidates that promised to follow fundamentalist Christian principles.  In last week's elections, all four incumbents kept their positions with wide margins:
Each of the victorious judges got more than 60 percent of the vote in his or her race, and several saw that wide margin as a rejection of the Better Courts Now effort to influence the makeup of the bench.
“I think it’s confirmation that the electorate recognizes the importance of judicial independence,” said [Judge Lantz] Lewis, who has been on the bench for two decades.

But the organization behind the challenges is still talking tough:
But Trask [one of the four candidates] said the totals show the difficulty of unseating an incumbent judge, and not a rejection of Better Courts Now.
“I think it has a lot to do with unseating an incumbent,” he said of the vote totals. “It’s always an uphill task.” Despite the across the board defeat he said Better Courts Now will likely not go away.
“I think if anything this is probably only the beginning,” he said.

Knowledgeable observers are in agreement that this could indeed be the beginning of a trend:
But Adam Skaggs of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's law school said Better Courts Now supporters leave the impression their goal is part of a long-term strategy.
"These groups are committed and are not going to go away quietly," Skaggs said. "If they continue to be unsuccessful and struggle to make progress in actually getting their favorite candidates elected, it may be that the movement runs out of gas."
The humanist position is to oppose founding any government actions, including court case rulings, on revealed truth rather than observed and reasoned truth.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The role of myths

Joseph Campbell was a 20th century professor and writer who took a hard look at mythology across many cultures and popularized, through his writings, the study of myths.  To Campbell, a myth is a story from which the listener or reader can draw life lessons.  We can look to the hero of a myth for an example of how to face a challenge and how to live at least some aspect of our life.  So many stories are about young people approaching adulthood because that's when myths have the greatest effect and are most needed.  After reaching adulthood, life and its challenges only become more difficult, but since we're more developed and experienced, myths have less power and are therefore not as needed.  Campbell was quick to point out that many people do not need myth at all.  If you can live your life with sufficient self-direction, you don't need to look to myths.  While others, at some times, can look to myths for inspiration.

One of the prominent uses of religion is to provide myths that help us face life challenges.  This is no secret.  Most sermons about Bible stories instruct the listener to not only consider the story to be an amusing tale, but also to draw life lessons and to apply those lessons.    But, as Campbell pointed out, the Bible is only one source of myths.  Cultural and literary sources are another. 

It is common to ridicule people who are really into fantasy, particularly the Star Trek phenomenon.  But the myths of Star Trek speak more directly to many modern people than the two thousand year-old myths of the Bible or the ancient myths of other religious texts.  Nearly all episodes of Star Trek, both old and new, dealt with morality.  And they did so with a modern perspective on issues such as slavery and war.  And, more importantly, everyone acknowledges that Star Trek is fiction, so it doesn't carry the baggage of supposed absolute truth and arbitrary commandments.  As humanists, when we see a Fundamentalist insisting with absolute certainty that dinosaurs coexisted with people, or that inherent homosexuality does not exist, or that following his way is mandatory, we might think that the Star Trek perspective on myth is more agreeable.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Walking the prayer labyrinth: calm meditation without the supernatural

The labyrinth, a life-size pattern leading to the center area, has ancient roots but was adopted by Christianity as a prayer-tool.  The patterns exist on several European cathedrals, and the prayer labyrinth has been experiencing a resurgence lately.  The basic idea is to walk slowly through the path while praying, reach the center, pray some more, and then pray as you walk out.  By itself, this can be a calming way to spend some time, and if we substitute meditation for prayer, can be secular. 

But the religious are perpetually on the march and the prayer labyrinth is also a means for recruitment, and it carries with it the usual religious baggage.  The head of Faith, Hope and Love Ministries describes using prayer labyrinths to spread the word:
Prayer is bringing hope, healing wounds, and transforming lives in some of the most troubled places in the world. From Bulgaria to Rwanda, Congo to Myanmar, my wife Jill and I have the opportunity to talk with many different people who suffer from poverty, war, oppression, hunger, disease, and sexual violence.
Around the world, they build labyrinths and take people through them, with powerful, if perhaps exaggerated results:
For example, one construction worker at HEAL Africa compound (Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo) said, "When I prayed the labyrinth, I realized that even though there are many challenges, and different things happen, the important thing in the spiritual life is to keep going. Perseverance is necessary." A young man in scrubs told Jill, "As I walked, I saw the way was long and very difficult. Then I realized that what needed to change was my attitude. The way was long, but I had the possibility of choosing what I thought about it." After another walk, a woman waiting for a fistula repair surgery after being raped, wanted us to know, "This is the path of my life. I am walking to God."
The results, as described, are certainly inspiring.  But the Reverend makes clear he is not interested in only a mental lift through calm meditation:

They walk, they pray -- without liturgy, with few instructions -- and they find God. Some rediscover Jesus and find great encouragement from his experience of suffering and message of hope. Most simply sense God's presence or hear a pertinent word from the Holy Spirit that comforts, encourages, or strengthens them to carry on.
An apt analogy may be to the motivational speakers who use the trick of fire-walking to hook and to inspire their followers.  It's not really related to the rest of their presentation, but they can amaze the crowd and spin it as part of their own system.  And so the meditation labyrinth became the prayer labyrinth, and those that enjoy the experience associate it with religion.  But the activity and its results are not, however, linked to religion (outside of the Reverend's claims).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A little humor

A 4-minute clip:  I'm a Teabagger for Jesus

Teaching opportunity in Africa

The Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is partnering with its affiliate, the Kasese United Humanist Association (KUHA), to provide the opportunity for between 4 and 6 volunteers to spend two to three months this fall, beginning September 1, 2010, in Uganda teaching children ages 6 to 12 years at the Kilembe Valley Humanist Nursery & Primary School. Candidates are not required to have a teaching certificate or degree in education to be considered for this opportunity. Applicants ARE required to submit a $250 participation fee with their application, be at least 21 years old, have a current passport, have at least an Associate’s Degree from an accredited institute of higher education, and sign a waiver of liability. The $250 participation fee will be used for the first month's expenses in Kasese  or returned to applicants not accepted to participate in the program.
Round-trip travel to Uganda will be covered by AAI. Training and all teaching supplies will be covered by KUHA, and KUHA will provide meals and lodging. Volunteers are being asked to cover their own meal, lodging and travel costs ($2/day for bus between guesthouse and school) and any entertainment costs  while in Kasese.  Such expenses are estimated to be US$500 per month, so for the three-month period, those costs are expected to total US$1,500.   However, if financial support is a problem, let us know as some support stipends may be available for those in financial need.
Schooling is privately funded in Uganda, it is not provided by the government. Most schools are run by local religious groups. The Kilembe Valley Humanist Nursery & Primary school, founded by local humanists Mr. Bwambale Robert and Mr. Baluku Yusuf, is the first secular school in the Kasese District of Uganda. The school is a project of KUHA. The curriculum is designed to provide education based on the foundations of humanism and science.
Candidates are not required to have a teaching certificate or degree in education to be considered for this opportunity. Applicants ARE required to be at least 21 years old, have a current passport, verify that they are in agreement with the values of humanism and science, have at least an Associate’s Degree from an accredited institute of higher education, and fill out an application for a background check along with a $250 participation fee to cover processing and other costs required to participate in this program.  (The $250 participation fee is refundable for applicants not accepted to participate in the program.)
Volunteer teachers will be co-teaching, with professional teachers attached to the school, primary school students 7 - 13 years of age in a variety of subjects, including mathematics, reading / writing (english), social studies, science, agriculture, arts and crafts, and "religious" (humanist) education.  The educational level of the classes will be Primary 2 - Primary 5, the equivalent of 2nd - 5th grades in other countries.  Classes will be held five days a week, Monday through Friday, with weekends off.  Classes are held from 8:30 am to 3:30pm with mid-morning and lunch breaks.  Volunteer teachers will be given 5 days of training before the start of the term on September 6, 2010.
AAI volunteers will be housed together in a secured residential unit directly in the town of Kasese with bedding, running water & toilet.  Meals will be provided by KUHA.  The Kilembe school is about 10 kilometres away; teachers will be taking private bus transportation from their Kesese residence to the Kilembe school each day, costing USD$2 round trip.  All program costs, including round-trip travel to Uganda, lodging, meals, and teaching supplies will be covered by the AAI Foundation and KUHA.   Volunteers are encouraged to bring additional spending money for personal use while on assignment.
KUHA is also seeking donations to fund school tuition for 34 orphaned and needy students. The cost is $30 per student per term, or $90 for the entire school year. Donations made to AAI to cover these costs are entirely tax-deductible. Additional information about the school can be found online at
The application may be downloaded here; or you can request one from Completed applications with deposit must be received by July 15, 2010.  If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out an application and e-mail it to, or mail it to AAI at 1777 T Street NW, Washington D.C. 20009. If you are e-mailing your application, please pay the $250 fee online at the AAI merchant account site .  You may also mail your application to AAI, 1777 T Street NW, Washington D.C. 20009.
If you have any questions regarding this opportunity or the AAI Foundation, please e-mail Patty Guzikowski at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A word from the other side: Christianity with Church/State sep. is evil

The head of Faith2Action and the author of "The Criminalization of Christianity" has written a column that exemplifies the opposition to the humanist positions quite well.  It begins:
The "separation of church and state." I could be reading from the constitution of the former Soviet Union, a decision by Ruth Bader Ginsburg or a fundraising letter from the ACLU. But instead, I'm repeating a philosophy of "Christian" groups like Discernment Ministries and their website, "Herescope."

and continues to the thesis of the unacceptability of non-crusading Christianity:
In the 1950s, when Darwinism was allowed into the school system, these "Christians" sang their hymns and did nothing. When the Supreme Court ripped out the right to pray in schools in 1962, they sang their hymns and did nothing. In 1973, when the Supreme Court ordered the recognition of "freedom" to kill innocent children, they sang their hymns and did nothing. Apparently "Onward Christian Soldiers" wasn't on the song list.
After citing several examples of Christians deferring to secularism (the title of this post is not an exaggeration, there is the usual reference to the Nazis), the piece concludes:
To those who still believe that we should stay out of the cultural war, I have a question: How is that working out for you?
We now have two generations who are lost in the lies of humanism, evolution and homosexuality, facilitated into fornication and abortion, trapped in pornography and devastated by divorce. Congratulations.

Humanists need to read this entire article because it shows what we are facing:  hang-ups and prejudices masquerading as righteousness, a sense of victimization when things only go 95% your way, and a complete reliance on revealed truth (it's up to reality to change to meet that truth, not the other way around).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Today's light reading: religion and health

"Advances in the Conceptualization and Measurement of Religion and Spirituality: Implications for Physical and Mental Health" American Psychologist, Vol 58(1), Jan 2003, 64-74:
From the abstract: Empirical studies have identified significant links between religion and spirituality and health. The reasons for these associations, however, are unclear. Typically, religion and spirituality have been measured by global indices (e.g., frequency of church attendance, self-rated religiousness and spirituality) that do not specify how or why religion and spirituality affect health.
Some surveys have shown a link between religion and good health.  Not if you find yourself on the wrong side of a religion, of course, but for many people who lead otherwise safe lives, the religion can, in some cases, lead to better health.  Some large percentage of disease incidence correlates with lifestyle (diet, stress, etc.), and religion can regulate that lifestyle. 

A series of studies of Seventh-Day Adventists, for example, found an increased lifespan for practitioners.  This is probably due to the healthy diet that the religion commands.  The increased lifespan of men, 7.3 years, over that of women, 4.4 years, may be an indicator that the diet is reducing risk factors that affect men more (e.g., heart disease).  Another study in Utah found that Mormon men live 7.3 years and Mormon women live 5.8 years longer than non-Mormon residents of that state.  Again, the causes may be lifestyle factors such as tobacco, alcohol, diet, and stress.

These results are not counter to humanistic belief.  Religion is about human psychology, not supernatural forces, and religion does offer help to some.  Others can find those benefits from non-religious sources.  And religion comes with a lot of baggage in order to get those good effects.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Will the "Spiritual But Not Religious" movement challenge religion?

A recent article on CNN asks, "Are there dangers in being 'spiritual but not religious'?"
The article points out:
The "I'm spiritual but not religious" community is growing so much that one pastor compared it to a movement. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72 percent of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they're "more spiritual than religious." The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook page:
 The primary danger is to the established clergy, who need followers.  Their response is that they hold the keys to morality:
"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"
But many see religion as practicing "self-centeredness", and this type of grandiosity and sense that the religious establishment knows better can be a turn-off. 

As rationalists, we see the "SBNR" movement as a natural outgrowth of increasing communication and transparency in civilization.  We can now say confidently that your prayers will not heal you or your family members, will not stop earthquakes, and they will not alleviate your financial difficulties.  Supernatural miracles collapse under the light of modern inspection.  There is no booming voice from the heavens telling you what to do and there never will be.  And the mythologies of religion can be recognized as fitting within the framework of ancient tales to amuse and instruct.

There is still room for religious thought, such as Deism (a supernatural intelligence as a grand clock-maker who set the universe in motion and then stepped back), and for the "SBNR" movement.  But running your life by the dictates of an organized religion (a back-story that's fantasy, endless rules that derive from that fantasy, a professional class demanding respect and obedience) seems increasingly futile.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Compulsory religion in the military

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is working to oppose the Christianization of the armed forces in the USA, a process which has increased significantly in the past decade.  They spurred an investigation at the Air Force Academy in Colorado that found, for example:
Among other things, it revealed that the commandant of cadets taught the entire incoming class a "J for Jesus" hand signal, that the football coach had draped a "Team Jesus" banner across the academy locker room, and that more than 250 faculty members and senior officers signed a campus newspaper advertisement that proclaimed: "We believe that Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the world."

A group member writes:

He calls it the "fundamentalist Christian parachurch-military-corporate-proselytizing complex," a mouthful by which he means holy warriors in contempt of the constitutional barrier between church and state.
And Weinstein is absolutely right!  I really like the last paragraph in this article, too.  And I thought this reader comment was excellent: 
I am currently an Air Force officer, and was previously enlisted in both the Air Force AND the Army. I can attest to the need for Mike Weinstein's work. I consider myself a secular Christian, however the degree to which fundamentally Christian religiosity pervades the military is abhorrent to me as an officer, a civil libertarian, and an American. I fully and enthusiastically support an individual's right to observe their religion, except where it compromises the capability of the military to execute its mission.
I support Mike's work, for there IS a pervasive and large fundamentalist Christian element in the military, which retains attitudes and creates an atmosphere that, unless changed, I fear will create a day that mission planning will devolve to the inanity of "God's Will will see us to success". While I say that only half in jest, the basic point is that religion, by its very definition, involves relinquishing reason and logic to faith, ergo abandoning critical thought on matters controlled by one's faith. If the overwhelming majority of serving Christians were able to remain open-minded and critically thinking on topics spoken to by their religion, rather than dogmatic, there would be far fewer issues created by religion in the military than there are. Unfortunately, dogma usually prevails.
I would contend that the degree to which Christian proselytizing is both tolerated and tacitly encouraged by fundamentalist Christian officers and NCOs within the military creates an atmosphere of intimidation, and chills the airing of candid perspectives on issues - which is vital to successful policy development, mission planning, and daily operations - for fear of somehow offending the religious sensibilities of more senior personnel, with the attendant negative impact to one's career. Such an atmosphere fully compromises every other facet of effective military planning and operations, and we as Americans, tax-payers, and possibly relatives of, or actively serving members of the military should be not be willing to tolerate any compromises that may potentially cost us treasure and blood.