Buddhism is a religion without a god or a creed, yet it's a way of life for four hundred million. It seeks
no converts and strives only to relieve suffering. This blog offers no high teaching but only practical observations, mostly about the daily news. You can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USS Jesus Christ, Battleship Buddha, and Gabby Giffords
Gabrielle Giffords Honored By Navy, Littoral Combat Ship To Bear Her Name
WASHINGTON -- Gabrielle Giffords, the recently retired congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in an assassination attempt 13 months ago, returned to Washington Friday for double honors. The Navy named a ship after her and she saw President Barack Obama sign the last piece of legislation she authored into law.
In a ceremony at the Pentagon, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus unveiled an artist's rendering of the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a littoral combat ship. The craft is among the Navy's most versatile and can operate in shallower coastal waters than larger ships.
"God bless the USS Gabrielle Giffords and all who sail in her," Mabus said at the ceremony.
The Practical Buddhist Responds
Talk about mixed feelings!
Gabby Giffords is my personal hero. Years of hospital work taught me how hard it
is to come back from traumatic brain injury -- how crushingly disappointing
some days can be -- and how many just give up. Gabby has been an inspiration
and a challenge as she works every day to maximize her recovery. She is also
the only living person who can get both sides of the Congressional aisle on
their feet, cheering long and sincerely, in these times of childish rancor.
So why the mixed feelings?
Because they've named a warship after her. A
really good warship, capable of killing a lot of people, faster and more
efficiently than previous models. They've co-opted her courage and put it
to political use. Now she will inspire those sent on wars of aggression and
I have other heroes too: Jesus, the Buddha,
Ghandi. Imagine naming a ship the USS Jesus Christ or the Battleship
Buddha. Sounds shockingly inappropriate, right?
Even if they are necessary, all weapons are
ugly, no matter how shiny and expensive.
I deeply admire Gabby Giffords. I just
wish they hadn't named an ugly weapon after her.