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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The War on Religious Liberty at Military Funerals

Jack Kemp

Today I noticed that Phyllis Schlafly, in an article counter-attacking Obama's War on Religious Liberty, stated that

"At the Veterans Affairs Department, Obama's agents banned Military Honor Details from reciting the significance of each fold of the American Flag during the burial services of our heroic men and women who gave their lives for our country. Obama says the ceremony promoted religion and therefore, the recitations had to stop."
While this change in military burial services is definitely worth mentioning, it turns out that this ban was enacted in 2007 under President Bush.

Scripps Howard reported at that time:

"Flag-folding recitation banned at veterans cemeteries nationwide
Submitted by administrator on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:51

The Press-Enterprise
Thursday, October 25, 2007

Through thousands of military burials, Memorial Honor Detail volunteers at Riverside National Cemetery in California have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors of those being laid to rest.

The first fold, a narrator tells relatives, represents life, the second a belief in eternal life.
The 11th fold celebrates Jewish war veterans and glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

Based on a single complaint at the Riverside National Cemetery, the entire flag folding procedure was banned, including the next fold:

"The 12th fold is meant to glorify 'God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.'”

Sorry, Phyllis, but this attack on our cultural and religious heritage has been going on since before Obama got in office. But I thank you for pointing out this outrage for those of us not familiar with it.

In Patrick Buchanan’s book about immigration and national identity, "State of Emergency," in Chapter 9, on p. 150 he mentions what Stalin did to raise patriotic feelings in World War II. I quote.

“In the great crisis of his empire, Hitler’s invasion, Stalin did not call on his subjects to save communism or defend the Soviet Constitution. He called on Russia’s sons to defend the Rodina, Mother Russia, against the Germanic hordes, and suspended his suppression of the Orthodox Church so its bishops and priests could bless ‘The Great Patriotic War.’ Communist to the core, Stalin yet knew that men do not die for secular creeds like Marxism or Leninism, but for the ‘ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods.’”

The thoughts about what people fight for mentioned in Buchanan’s State of Emergency book are echoed in Former Under Sec. of the Navy James Webb’s earlier book, "Born Fighting, How the Scots-Irish Shaped America."

Although the Scots-Irish today represent a smaller percentage of the population than they did in Colonial times, I believe they still represent a significant percentage of the US military. This short review by the American Library Association, quoted in an online review from an online bookseller, is as relevant today as it was in the 1700s.

“In telling the story of the Scots-Irish in America as a robust and passionate tale, novelist Webb writes straightforward, no-nonsense, readable history that clips right along while it is also very personal and highly idiosyncratic about a people who, he claims, are largely invisible-taken for granted-to the general public and who, seldom thinking of themselves in ethnic identity terms, mostly don’t know their culture. Webb maintains that Scots-Irish attitudes form the bedrock of American society, especially among the working class. Scots-Irish culture has produced American presidents from Andrew Jackson to Bill Clinton, soldiers from Ulysses S. Grant to George Patton, pioneers, preachers, and others whose most common characteristics may be described as fierce individualism, persistent egalitarianism, and a strong sense of personal honor. Perhaps the most visible examples of broad and ongoing Scots-Irish legacy are the fundamentalist Christianity (a potent combination of Scottish

Calvinism and headstrong populism) of America’s Bible Belt and country music. Webb begins the Scots-Irish saga in Scotland, where, he says, the Scots-Irish character was formed, moves on to the Ulster Scots of what is now Northern Ireland, and follows them to the Appalachians and points beyond as well as through the American Revolution, the Civil War, and up to the present day.”

And while some may wonder about the motivation behind the removing of the 13 flag folds ceremony, here is my take, once again repeating a quote from Communist dictator Josef Stalin I used in an earlier article.

Stalin famously said, "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."

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