“I’ll fight for change.” This sort of battle cry brought cheers from John McCain’s supporters. And it’s not just McCain supporters. All of us seem to want champions who are strong and scrappy—people who stand up for what we see as right and good in America. A friend forwarded an email to me that contained the story below. It was preceded by half a dozen enthusiastic forwarding messages and must have reached thousands of people. Here’s the story, verbatim:
A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.
One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, 'God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes.' The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am God. I'm still waiting.' It got d own to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.
The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.
The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?' The Marine calmly replied, 'God was too busy today protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid s**t and act like an a**hole. So, He sent me.'
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FREEDOM IS EASY WHEN NOTHING IS SACRIFICED FOR IT.
I’m a Navy veteran and I was insulted. The Marines I know would be insulted too. When we enlisted we took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States, possibly with our lives. Among the freedoms we pledged to defend was that fictional professor’s right to believe whatever he chose to, to say stupid things in public, and to be protected by the rule of law. To that end the laws of all 50 states forbid striking someone for what they say, be it in a bar room, or at a podium.
All the Marines I know are men of great character. Though they certainly know how to deliver a knock-out punch, they are slow to anger, and slower to use violence to resolve personal differences. The Marine in this story is depicted as a felon with no respect for the professor’s rights —a hot-headed bully who thinks God wants him to commit violent acts on His behalf. (Do I need to point out the parallel to Islamic extremists?)
The fact that so many people found the story amusing and passed it along says a lot about the shallowness of their patriotism and their lack of real respect for our freedoms. But the fact that they see a knock-out punch as the solution to a difference of opinion says even more. It is not accidental that the professor is described as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. The message is not veiled – these folks believe in freedom, but only for those who share their other beliefs.