One of the things that occasionally happens out here is someone says grace before he eats.
The religions out here are pretty much a private thing and the grace sayer doesn't even think of pushing his way of life onto anyone else but while he is saying grace even confirmed athiests stop what they are doing to permit him his few seconds of prayer.
Nobody says anything to him about it, he is left to say a few quiet words to his maker, whatever he thinks it is and life goes on.
We have certain manners out here we hold to. We respect one another.
There are a lot of landsmen there that would get their asses beat by stone athiests and heathens if they came out and interfered with such a private matter as a man discretely praying before a meal.
Out here we're all different but we generally stick together.
I am a Dogtag Catholic which means that the 40 year old dogtag I wear around my neck says 'Catholic' on it. The dogtag was a reissue of some sort I was given a couple of months before I got out of the army.
My previous dogtags were stamped 'No Preference' as I figures that if I got killed that whatever kind of marker the graves registration people had the most of left over would be good enough.
Just before I got out I was reissued another set by Uncle Sam for some reason or another and I decided to get that set stamped Catholic because my mother was upset when she saw the earlier "No Preference" dogtag I was wearing.
So for sake of argument I have no religion.
Still, back when I was a GI there were a few unspoken rules about divine services in the field. If it was a Christian service you took off your steel pot and kept quiet. If the service was Jewish you left your steel pot on and kept quiet.
The unspoken rules were obeyed by everyone, including stone cold athiests, Pagens, Agnostics, and the Heathen Horde.
While the non-believers didn't believe, they did this out of respect for their fellow soldiers. It was not unheard of to see total athiests snatch the steel pot off a newbie and whack him in the gut with it for failure to remove it while near a divine service.
While there were GIs I served with that had no religious affiliation of any sort, they still obeyed the rules out of respect for their fellow soldiers.
It was a courtesy and I would imagine that GIs still do the same thing today. They depend on each other and mutual respect is imperative in that line of work.
These days I find myself running into more and more spiteful athiests that are quick to run down someone's religion instead of respect it.
Being disrespectful of someone else's religion to me is just plain old mean spirited and serves no purpose whatsoever except to pull people apart and create problems that do not need to be created.
No good whatsoever comes from insulting someone's religion.
Yet today I see an increase of people insulting people because of their religious view and making fun of them. A lot of this is outright malicious and there is no excuse for it. None.
Nobody is forcing you to go to church if you don't want to, nobody is making you pay into any religious institution and although there are religious people out there selling their faith door-to-door, you can always tell them to shove off.
Like a lot of things that we see in this world that we may disagree on, we have the choice to not participate. It is one of the freedoms that nobody is trying to take away from us, at least for now.
Generally these days it is Christians and Jews that seem to be taking the beating because it isn't politically correct to insult a Muslim.
One of the things I did do as a GI is that if the Catholic padre decided to hold mass during a field exercise is attend it. I was not alone.
There were an awful lot of guys that had no affiliation to Catholicism that attended his masses. Some guys that were admitted athiests would attend because they wanted to hear what the Padre had to say.
If I recall, the Padre was a Jesuit. He was also a damned tough son of a bitch that was a dead rifle shot and had a reputation for being pretty damned good with his fists as a pimp downtown found out one night. I'll post that story some time. It had to do with the gonorhea rate going up on post.
There were not a whole lot of chaplains running around wearing jump wings, either. He was the only one I ever saw. When we were in the field he was the only chaplain that carried a weapon. He was authorized a pistol, I suppose but he carried a rifle.
I only met one chaplain like that him when the guys saluted him they meant it.
When we were in garrison once I pissed him off once by giving his assistant a bad time. The chaplain grabbed me by the shirt and pinned me to the wall.
Nobody was really impressed by this too much until someone noticed that my feet were about a foot off the floor.
It wasn't long after that he became a pretty good friend and I enjoyed his company as we sat at the bar and watched our flocks together downtown on payday nights.
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