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Is our military being used as "Christian Soldiers"

Discussion in 'Culture & Religion' started by ASPCA4EVER, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. ASPCA4EVER

    ASPCA4EVER New Member

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    Christian Soldiers
    The growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word.

    By Kathryn Joyce | Newsweek Web Exclusive
    Jun 19, 2009

    Ever since former president George W. Bush referred to the war on terror as a “crusade” in the days after the September 11 attacks, many have charged that the United States was conducting a holy war, pitting a Christian America against the Muslim world. That perception grew as prominent military leaders such as Lt. Gen. William Boykin described the wars in evangelical terms, casting the U.S. military as the "army of God." Although President Obama addressed the Muslim world this month in an attempt to undo the Bush administration's legacy of militant Christian rhetoric that often antagonized Muslim countries, several recent stories have framed the issue as a wider problem of an evangelical military culture that sees spreading Christianity as part of its mission.

    A May article in Harper’s by Jeff Sharlet illustrated a military engaged in an internal battle over religious practice. Then came news about former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Scripture-themed briefings to President Bush that paired war scenes with Bible verses. (In an e-mail published on Politico, Rumsfeld aide Keith Urbahn denied that the former Defense secretary had created or even seen many of the briefings.) Later in May, Al-Jazeera broadcast clips filmed in 2008 showing stacks of Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari at the U.S. air base in Bagram and featuring the chief of U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, telling soldiers to “hunt people for Jesus.”
    In the aftermath of that report, the Pentagon responded that it had confiscated and destroyed the Bibles and said there was no effort to convert Afghans. But while the military dismissed the Bagram Bibles as an isolated incident, a civil-rights watchdog group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), says this is not the case. According to the group's president, Mikey Weinstein, a cadre of 40 U.S. chaplains took part in a 2003 project to distribute 2.4 million Arabic-language Bibles in Iraq. This would be a serious violation of U.S. military Central Command's General Order Number One forbidding active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion. A Defense Department spokeswoman, in an e-mail to NEWSWEEK, denies any knowledge of this project.
    The Bible initiative was handled by former Army chaplain Jim Ammerman, the 83-year-old founder of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC), an organization in charge of endorsing 270 chaplains and chaplain candidates for the armed services. Ammerman worked with an evangelical group based in Arkansas, the International Missions Network Center, to distribute the Bibles through the efforts of his 40 active-duty chaplains in Iraq. A 2003 newsletter for the group said of the effort, "The goal is to establish a wedge for the kingdom of God in the Middle East, directly affecting the Islamic world."

    J. E. Wadkins, vice president of student life at Ecclesia College who oversees the International Missions Network Center, says they have worked with Ammerman for 20 years and reached out to him as part of their "Bibles for the Nations" mission. He estimates that in the end, between 100,000 and 500,000 Arabic Bibles were distributed in under one year, beginning not long after Saddam Hussein's ouster. "It was a really early effort there," says Wadkins, "when things first opened up."

    The effort is an example of what critics call a growing culture of militarized Christianity in the armed forces. It is influenced in part by changes in outlook among the various branches' 2,900 chaplains, who are sworn to serve all soldiers, regardless of religion, with a respectful, religiously pluralistic approach. However, with an estimated two thirds of all current chaplains affiliated with evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, which often prioritize conversion and evangelizing, and a marked decline in chaplains from Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches, this ideal is suffering. Historian Anne C. Loveland attributes the shift to the Vietnam War, when many liberal churches opposed to the war supplied fewer chaplains, creating a vacuum filled by conservative churches. This imbalance was exacerbated by regulation revisions in the 1980s that helped create hundreds of new "endorsing agencies" that brought a flood of evangelical chaplains into the military and by the simple fact that evangelical and Pentecostal churches are the fastest-growing in the U.S.

    <for the rest of this story>

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/202734?GT1=43002

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    JEEZ LOUISE...we can't leave well enough alone without 'mudding up the water' more. Is it any wonder that the Iraq's/Afghanistan people want us to leave them the hell alone!!!
     
  2. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    battle of the bibles..........:rolleyes:

    The Chaplains in the UK forces are a pretty descent bunch of guys..... jeez most are as mad as a box of frogs and no doubt so are most of their US counterparts but.......who knows I guess some go out to hoover up lost souls
     
  3. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    Well I hope not.
     
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