by Bil Aulenbach

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The Scrooge of July 4

I was an amphibious tank officer in the Marine Corps. The turrets of the tanks we used had 105mm howitzer cannons with huge firepower that made an ear-piercing noise. Ever since my days in the Marine Corps, I have not appreciated loud noises, and this includes fireworks. A few have called me the Scrooge of July 4.

I lived in Hawai’i for twenty years, and something in Hawaiians’ DNA seems to demand using fireworks to try to blow the islands off the face of the earth for events such as New Year’s Day, graduations, July 4, weddings, baptisms, and funerals.

On July 4, 2018, Annie and I went to our daughter’s family home for a barbecue and watched three different firework displays from their backyard. The barbecue was delicious, and we always enjoy visiting our family.

Then the Scrooge of July 4 showed up with his annual list of complaints:

  1. I don’t like fireworks.
  2. Neither did my daughter’s dog, who started shaking at 3:00 p.m. and finally stopped after midnight. This was animal torture. Where was People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals when we needed them? Go get ‘em, PETA!
  3. I support protecting Mother Nature and preserving her. The pollution in the air during and after the many fireworks displays was horrendous. My throat was irritated, my eyes burned, and my skin itched, so can you imagine what fireworks do to Creation? We tree huggers have our work cut out for us.
  4. Every time I saw fireworks explode, I saw big dollars being senselessly wasted. Our government never seems to have enough money to resolve the issues of poverty, fund better education, provide healthcare for all, or rehabilitate prisoners but it always seems to have enough to spend thousands or even millions of dollars on fireworks. What’s wrong with this picture?
  5. And what about all the fires fireworks start? On July 6, 2018, California had over forty fires going. I spoke with a retired fireperson on July 5, and she shared that fire departments dread July 4 because of all the fires, all the horrendous medical interventions required, and above all, having to avoid getting blown up by fireworks.
  6. I also spoke with a veteran Los Angeles policeman who always takes July 4 off because he dislikes arresting the many people who disregard fireworks laws or shoot pistols into the air, injuring themselves, other people, or animals. Yikes!

Am I the Scrooge of July 4, or do I have the right, as a faith-based person, to bring up these concerns?

I know Jesus didn’t say anything about fireworks, but scripture does remind us of our responsibility to protect Mother Nature. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s.” It is not ours to mess up. Numbers 35:33 says, “You shall not pollute the land in which you live.” I take these charges seriously!

My church is officially designated a Creation Justice church, which means we strive to do everything humanly possible to protect every aspect of Creation. I need to send the church leadership a copy of this blog post so they will consider denouncing fireworks as an enemy of Creation.

This could be the start of Uncivil War II because some folks seem to be willing to die for their right to set off fireworks.

Which side will you be on?

 

Image courtesy of bayasaa (CC BY 2.0)

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