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Last year, Congressman Walter Jones was met with a firestorm of criticism – much of it from fellow Republicans – when he spoke his mind about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s handling of the Iraq War. You may or may not agree with Congressman Jones – but you have to admit he has one attribute that is rare among politicians: Courage.

This year, the Congressman has gotten into another tangle with the Defense Department. They used to say that there are no atheists in the foxholes. But it seems these days the only praying in the foxholes must be politically correct. Military chaplains (Camp Lejeune is in Jones’ district) complained that new Defense Department rules prevented them mentioning Christ’s name in prayers, so Congressman Jones put language in the Defense Department Appropriations bill to change the rules (News and Observer; 10-11-06). Of course, like just about everything else, that hit a snag in the Senate and, in the end, a compromise only gave Congressman Jones part of what he wanted.

But you have to admire the touch of maverick in Walter Jones. He doesn’t march in lockstep, he isn’t politically correct, he doesn’t mind speaking out, and, in this day and age, that’s a breath of fresh air.

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