Privatized Ethics and Public Immorality

I haven’t been following the county clerk controversy very closely, but I’ve gotten the impression that there’s a lot of confusion about the rights of conscience, and how that relates to resigning, verses refusing to comply.  I am not a county clerk, and nobody has asked me to perform or approve any immoral acts, but I am an Army officer, so I have spent a little time thinking about when it’s appropriate to disobey an order.

So.  Scenario one: Joe the Soldier has a religious epiphany and becomes a pacifist.  From his perspective, all military service, or maybe only combat, is immoral. I happen to disagree with this guy, based on my understanding of Jesus’ conversations with many a Roman soldier, but no one should violate his conscience, so any military service at all for him is a sin.  He should resign, since there is no way he can keep his job and keep his conscience.

Scenario two: Joe the Soldier is a good Soldier, and has no qualms about doing his job, until the day his direct supervisor orders him to commit an atrocity.  He should not resign.  Nothing in his views have changed, but he is being ordered to do something that is unlawful (that is, immoral) for a Soldier to do.  In fact, the one thing he must not do is resign, since in this case resignation gives tacit consent to the unlawful order.  His job, as a Soldier, is to actively resist the unlawful order, and make whatever noise he can, so that the rot can be removed from his unit to the highest echelon where it originated.  He should complain, loudly; he should call the Inspector General.  If the unlawful order is not rescinded, he may be court-martialed for refusing to obey an order.  He should embrace the court-martial, as an opportunity to bring his chain of command under investigation, and he should bring in the media when it happens.

There is a massive difference between resignation and refusing to comply; and in the event of a corrupted hierarchy, resigning in protest is a coward’s escape, because it allows the criminal authority to continue unchallenged.  Obviously, it should be done carefully, and not impetuously, because the authority being resisted has to actually be requiring an immoral act.  Refusing to comply because you just don’t wanna is just a waste of jail time.

I don’t have any real opinion on the country clerk case, whether her decision was right or wrong.  But there are plenty of good reasons for a government official to refuse to implement a new law, when that law is immoral.  It is never appropriate to privatize your ethics, in order to give tacit consent to a public immorality.

New Military Acronyms

Everybody knows that the US Military has a thing with acronyms. We pile up acronyms on top of acronyms, multiple acronyms that mean the same thing, multiple things signified by the same acronym. We add excess words to the names of things, just to ensure we can shorten it to an acronym later.

Recently, I was thinking about some acronyms we have for a special class of meeting: BUBs and CUBs. A Battle Update Brief, or Command Update Brief is a daily or twice-daily meeting designed to coordinate the efforts of a large group of people working on a single project. Usually they happen during a deployment or other intensely time-sensitive activity.

The thing about CUBs and BUBs is that there is no difference between these two acronyms. Some people theorize that they signify meetings at different echelons of organization. A Brigade would have a Command Update Brief, while a Battalion would have a Battle Update Brief, for instance. But in reality, the difference is arbitrary. You pick one term for your meeting in order to distinguish from some other meeting of a similar name.

The key word is “update.” Everything else is excess, added just to have enough letters to form an acronym. “BUB” is fewer syllables than update. But honestly, we would have preferred an acronym even if that meant more syllables.

So. Since the letters are irrelevant, I’ve made up a few meetings of my own:

This is the Readiness Update Brief, in preparation for an upcoming event. Slogan: “Aye! There’s the RUB!” It is considered inappropriate, in the event of a poor delivery, for the commander to redo this meeting, as that would constitute a back RUB.

Data Update Brief. This is a coordination meeting between the intelligence and information sections.

Forward Logistics Update Brief, for support units deep in enemy territory. Slogan: “Fall Forward!”

Staff Notional Update Brief. This is a practice meeting among the staff, in order to prepare for the upcoming BUB. All actual products are made up, or stand-ins. Leadership participation is strongly discouraged. Slogan: “You’re not invited.”

Combined Logistics Update Brief. Large coordination meeting between multiple units. Usually meets off site, and after normal duty hours. If you know about the meeting, attendance is mandatory.

One side or the other

Since I don’t bother with news from conventional sources, I learned this morning from Doug Wilson that there are folks in Congress actually considering passing a bill that permits open homosexuality in the military, along with his analysis that passing such a law just flips whose activities are illegal. If sodomy is permitted in the military, then Christians who agree with God’s word on sodomy are not. One of us has to be banned to let the other in.

To this I have to add only two thoughts:

  1. November.
  2. Please pray for me as I’m joining the army, that this sort of evil will not go through. And if it does, pray that I’ll have the courage to say what needs to be said at appropriate times, despite the consequences.