I’m a Disgrace to Vets

It was Veteran’s Night at the ValleyCats game tonight, so they had some dude come out and sing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. Since the attacks on 9/11, this song has become some de facto religious-infused anthem for our nation, and it drives me crazy. My interpretation is that those of us that want to have some cool secret message of how great of a Christian nation we are, have elevated this song to be on par with our actual National Anthem. I want no part of it. Apparently, me not taking off my cap during this ridiculous fucking song at a baseball game makes me a terrorist traitor that people just have to hassle.

I’m not marching around trying to get you to keep your hat on your head, or omit this song from the half-inning ceremony. I’m simply exhibiting my free speech to silently object to the use of this song as a symbol of my country. I stand to alleviate the majority of the morons that want to pick at me for wanting to ignore the song’s existence, but I will not concede  as far as supporting this song on the same level as our anthem by removing my hat and covering my heart. It’s a rather small distinction I’ve made for myself, isn’t it? What harm does this cause you?

During the Cold War we added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance to show that we weren’t dirty heathen communists, and strangely enough, no one in school seemed to care that I always skipped over that part. It’s amazing that children can tolerate different opinions, but full grown adults won’t have any of it.

I don’t even want to rant about the Pledge so back to this evening. This ridiculous song is being sung by some guy on the field, and I’m standing there looking over numbers from the game on my Kindle, since I couldn’t remember how many strikeouts this guy had. I feel a slap on my right shoulder; one that was obviously not a mistake and meant to grab my attention. I spun around to see what the hell was going on, and why some asshole behind me had the gall to smack me. He was red in the face and made a motion that I should remove my hat. It became clear that he was actually angry about my decision to leave my hat on, and wanted to hit me to show me that I was pissing him off. What a fucking maroon. I shot him a dirty look which said not to fucking touch me again, and I turned back around and went back to the stats from the game.

A few seconds later he mutters to his wife, “What a jerk, why isn’t he taking his hat off?” I threw my hands up in disbelief that this douche bag was so concerned with my hat. He leans over and says –and I quote, “There’s men and women fighting for our freedom. You leaving your hat on makes you a disgrace.”

Really? Really?  Last time I checked, part of the freedom that our armed forces are “fighting to protect” is my right to not recognize religion at all if I so choose, and regardless of you agreeing with my outward expressions, I’m free to make them as long as I’m not portending harm that I intend to inflict.

I’ve been making a concerted effort lately to not overreact to stupid bullshit like this, so I did my best to ignore this mook and not escalate it further. Needless to say, in spite of my best efforts to let this slide, it’s been eating away in the back of my head since I got home from the game. I’ve lived my life with an expectation of mutual respect. I don’t go around cramming my belief that there’s no such thing as a god (no matter which one –or many– you decide to align faith), but there’s absolutely no respect given to me for my stance.

The last time I was vocal about my atheistic views was with a person I considered a friend. I was told that I needed to grow up, open my eyes, and become educated. Right, because I don’t believe what you do, I’m the one that needs to change. Makes perfect sense. The same fucking feeling hit me tonight when that asshole was telling me I was a disgrace.

My decision to not believe in a supreme being isn’t an attack on what you believe, though it’s sure as hell taken that way in almost every circumstance. When atheists want to return the Pledge of Allegiance back to its pre-Cold War lyrics because we’re uncomfortable with Christians trying to impose their religion upon us, we’re trying to upend their entire way of life and we need to be stopped.

When Muslims wish to build a community center that happens to have a Mosque in it, miles away from where radical Muslim terrorists attacked our nation, we can’t allow it because everyone that follows that religion is obviously a terrorist, and it’s only a matter of time before they raise suicide bombers in our very own city! Keep in mind, though, we don’t ban churches after radical extremists fly planes into tax buildings or blow up our parking garages. They’re just one-off nut jobs that don’t warrant any concern.

When I don’t give credence to a shitty folk song that basically says our nation only exists because of god, I’m a disgrace to our army and way of life. Fuck off. Seriously. I stomach your religious overtones on a ton of things in our country, so please, for the love of your god, let me retain my modicum of dignity when I silently reject those ideals to appease my stance.

Your free speech is not better because in your head it’s backed by your god. I’ll continue to leave you alone, how about you start leaving me alone? Deal?

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I am Keith J. Frank, an overweight, acerbic, narcissistic, and sometimes lovable asshole that was born in June of 1983.

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