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religious fundamentalism rears its ugly head in iraq
April 6, 2003 9:33 PM   Subscribe

"It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized," he said. [via anil]
posted by artifex (56 comments total)

 
Alternatively, they can memorize the ten commandments .. except for the no killing part, of course.
posted by Eloquence at 9:38 PM on April 6, 2003


Now that's leverage!

(Can I get an amem?) :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:41 PM on April 6, 2003


Remember, the 'p' is silent... as in baptism.
posted by SPrintF at 9:46 PM on April 6, 2003


Chaplain Josh Llano was shocked by the lack of fundamentalism in this part of the mid-east so he brought his own. Great.
posted by skallas at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2003


No word on what he does if the soldier in question is already baptised.

Or how this pool of water came to be in his possession.

Or how on earth the Army is letting him get away with this.

I'm just so utterly annoyed by this story. Stories like this are becoming far too big a fraction of the reasons why I need this war to end.
posted by padraigin at 9:50 PM on April 6, 2003


Makes me wonder how many guys lied their asses off to get a shower... "Sure, yeah, God is great! A little more hot water, OK? Oh yeah, you bet, praise the Lord! Seriously!"
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:54 PM on April 6, 2003


Going dirty makes baby jesus cry.
posted by Jimbob at 9:56 PM on April 6, 2003


Reminds me of a George Carlin routine. I say tell 'em you want a drink of water or you're shitting in the pool.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:05 PM on April 6, 2003


Well they've got trouble
Right there in Camp Bushmaster
Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "B" and that stands for
Baptismal Bribery.

Can I get an "amen"?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:08 PM on April 6, 2003


This, for anyone who's counting, will mark my third invocation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in recent MeFi posts.

Seriously, is anyone else getting all creeped out by the Jesus? I mean, I got no beef with the guy, but he is just a little too much up in my grill these days.
posted by padraigin at 10:10 PM on April 6, 2003


...well he most likely wouldn't be up in your grill if you weren't trying to run him over.
posted by jazzkat11 at 10:16 PM on April 6, 2003


People who sell water in the desert are not to be associated with Jesus in any way. Even I know that.
posted by Hildago at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2003


Nice to see the southern baptists aren't selfish about sharing their brand of crazy with the sinners of greater Iraq. Now, if only those of us in the South could just find a way to export a few more....
posted by photoslob at 10:28 PM on April 6, 2003


"Bin Laden is not the enemy," General Boykin told the packed sanctuary, according to an account on the church's Web site. "No mortal is the enemy. It's the enemy you can't see. It's a war against the forces of darkness. The battle won't be won with guns. It will be won on our knees."

I wonder if he realizes how that last sentence sounds to some people...
posted by homunculus at 10:31 PM on April 6, 2003


This, for anyone who's counting, will mark my third invocation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in recent MeFi posts.

Speaking of Atwood, here's a recent essay she wrote: What Happened To America?
posted by homunculus at 10:38 PM on April 6, 2003



posted by NortonDC at 10:42 PM on April 6, 2003



Speaking of Atwood, here's a recent essay she wrote


Thanks, homunculus. I'm headed there right now.
posted by padraigin at 10:53 PM on April 6, 2003


I just don't understand how this could possibly be legal...why is the army letting him get away with this?
posted by dejah420 at 11:10 PM on April 6, 2003


Lest we demonize all Christians, most of whom oppose the war, consider my personal quote of the day from a seminary in Kentucky which banned the display of the American flag from its cafeteria, according to local news:
"God's people do not wave flags as a sign of conquest. We bear crosses as the sign of reconciliation."
If you're interested, there's this this essay about the tension between Christian mission and religious pluralism from the World Council of Churches.
posted by hairyeyeball at 11:15 PM on April 6, 2003


Llano: "In the name of Father. the..."
victors: "I just went pee. Is that ok?"
posted by victors at 11:21 PM on April 6, 2003


If you're interested heres a collection of moral based short stories.
posted by Satapher at 11:22 PM on April 6, 2003


The soldiers have time to listen to an hour-and-a-half long sermon? What kind of war is this?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:26 PM on April 6, 2003


Every link I've seen to this story leaves out the part where it's made clear that this has nothing to do with Iraqis. This fundie moron is trying to baptize US troops. It doesn't make him a better person, but it's annoying to see that part repeatedly left out so that the causal reader will assume this chaplain is trying to force Christianity on suffering Iraqis.
posted by rusty at 12:56 AM on April 7, 2003


rusty:

Heh, yeah when I read the initial FPP I thought "WHAT?? some christian fundamentalist who will give drinking water to the iraqis but only if the convert?? OUTRAGE!!"
posted by ed\26h at 1:13 AM on April 7, 2003


Information on Army Chaplain recruiting pages, including Chaplain 101. It is interesting to note that while there is a specific training program for chaplains coordinated with their seminary education, recruitment comes from church organizations themselves.

Though one might expect that churches which have taken a firm line against the war might also tend to be underrepresented in these programs, it also develops that evangelical chaplains are suing the military charging religious discrimination against so-called "free church" Christians (a skirmish, really, in a longstanding doctrinal dispute that really goes back a century).

I'm sure it's just a blue-state, red-state thang, but I read threads like this and I just have to wonder at the stereotypes, and the intolerance that's exhibited.
posted by dhartung at 1:23 AM on April 7, 2003


[Note: My understanding from reading the link guidelines is that self-linking is ok when used in a comment/reply to a post here, such as when you have more to say on a topic than would be reasonable/feasible to post here. If I am wrong in this understanding, please correct me (gently) and I'll not do it again - thanks!]

Excerpts from a piece I wrote about this at different strings:
I've read several posts on other sites about the chaplain offering baths for baptisms. One frequent criticism of the anger at what he's doing is that he is doing the job of a chaplain - helping convert new souls to Christ, and that he's providing a religous service to those who want it. And its true that if someone wants to be baptized, he is there to provide it, though chaplains are supposed to provide spiritual aid to all soldiers, regardless of their spiritual path.

I've also seen arguments that the pool is probably intended to be a baptismal pool and not a place for bathing, and it's appropriate to restrict its use to those who are being baptized. I might be willing to buy that argument, were it not for the fact that the chaplain made it clear that he has no problem offering bribes to get people to agree to baptism, and that he knows the soldiers desire for a bath is a motivation.

Were I still a Christian, I'd still be outraged by his actions. He is trivializing the rite of baptism by bestowing it upon people who may well not be sincere in their "acceptance" of Christ and who are just using it as a bargaining chip to get something else they want - be it a bath, raisins, juice or fruit rolls. It should means something more to the person than that - and the chaplain should want it to mean more than that. The ministry is more than just a numbers game, and to treat it as such takes the focus away from Christ and His relationship with the individual, and puts it on the minister and his "success" in making converts.
posted by thorswitch at 1:28 AM on April 7, 2003


Baptism is bunk.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:58 AM on April 7, 2003


I can just see a southwest-Indian chaplain (I forget which tribe, or what the exact name of the religious faith is) giving an all-night holy ritual dance complete with the peyote. That would be one interesting religious experience!

If I were in combat or likely to be, I'd probably see through the serial dunkers, but I'd also probably want to reaffirm my baptism at least once too. No atheists in foxholes, donchaknow.
posted by alumshubby at 4:12 AM on April 7, 2003


It's simple. They want water. I have it

Not being Christian, I'm genuinely curious: so, this pool, it was constructed specifically for the purpose of baptisms? Is this standard Army procedure, to construct these pools? If not, where did the water come from, and who built the pool? And why in the name of Jesus Christ the Welcomer would this chaplain not let troops use the pool to clean up and cool off? Is there something "special" about the water, like the Catholics and that fountain of water at the back of the church, that would be "sullied" by letting people use the water for some purpose other than baptism?
posted by JollyWanker at 8:43 AM on April 7, 2003


You guys might be interested to know that Dr. David Mullis, the Chaplaincy Associate for Military Chaplaincy by the Southern Baptist Convention thinks this practice is unethical and theologically unsound.
posted by headspace at 8:45 AM on April 7, 2003


I'm pretty sure there are atheists in foxholes. I certainly hope that should I ever find myself in a similar situation, I would hold to ideas which I came by through years of research, contemplation, questioning, and fairly painful realization.
posted by padraigin at 8:50 AM on April 7, 2003


Is baptism under duress or bribery still baptism?
posted by aacheson at 9:05 AM on April 7, 2003


Is baptism under duress or bribery still baptism?

No, of course not.
posted by padraigin at 9:09 AM on April 7, 2003


I'd like to know the rest of the story too. Is this *his* water? Or the Army's? Has anyone found anything more about this guy?
posted by gramcracker at 9:13 AM on April 7, 2003


As a veteran (and a Buddhist) I'm deeply offended and ashamed that this kind of activity is allowed to to take place anywhere, especially in a combat environment.

I let the US Army Chaplains Center and School Public Affairs Office (pao@usachcs.army.mil) know what I thought about this.
posted by m@ at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2003


it's still early. god willing, he'll get fragged.
posted by quonsar at 9:40 AM on April 7, 2003


This practice is obscene, and that chaplain should be de-frocked... he's a disgrace to Christianity.
posted by silusGROK at 9:48 AM on April 7, 2003


You know, I've read a few stories about this now and not once have they mentioned how this guy got his water. But what a jackass, it's like something out of Lord of the Flies.

Everything's a goddamned literary metaphor to me these days.
posted by padraigin at 9:56 AM on April 7, 2003


You can say one thing for the guy. He would make out just fine if he was ever stuck in a concentration camp. Expediency over ethics. A winner every time.
posted by gordian knot at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2003


Tax money would pay his salary, yes? This one, out of all the messed up stories floating around, made my jaw drop. Yes, padraigin, I am now officially Creeped Out By The Jesus.
posted by rainbaby at 10:20 AM on April 7, 2003


it's still early. god willing, he'll get fragged.

Not likely, quonsar. According to this journalist, the Almighty Hand of the Lord is working in Iraq, as He apparently used His divine power to redirect bullets fired at him.... into the soldiers next to him. Oh well. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:25 AM on April 7, 2003


reverend: To get water, you must be baptized!
me: whatever, dude, baptize away. glug-glug-glug.

Some poeple want a buck for a bottle of Aquafina, some people want to dunk me. if I need the water, I pay the price *shrugs* As for my immortal soul, what padraigin said.
posted by UncleFes at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2003


padraigin, What part of this is like "Lord of the Flies?"
posted by Faze at 11:28 AM on April 7, 2003


xquzyphyr, that story was unbelievable. It could have been a moving story about being close to death, but the guy seems to suffer from some narcissistic disorder that allows him to believe in a just god who would use human shields to save him at the expense of others...

this chaplain is pretty bad, too. Being able to say, sure baptize away, is one thing, but having to give up over two hours of your time to listen to superstitious nonsense is another.
posted by mdn at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2003


dhartung: I just have to wonder at the stereotypes, and the intolerance that's exhibited.

I never knew dhartung had such a sense of humor and irony! too funny!
posted by victors at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2003


You know, I'd never really grasped the meaning of asshat before this.
posted by signal at 12:35 PM on April 7, 2003


I'd never really grasped the meaning of asshat before this

oh, you probably missed the previous lessons in tolerance.
posted by victors at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2003


Metafilter: Creeped Out By The Jesus
posted by majcher at 1:38 PM on April 7, 2003



padraigin, What part of this is like "Lord of the Flies?"


It's not really, of course, it's just...it's like all these guys are stranded out there, and this guy has all this nice cool water, and he won't let anyone else have it unless they follow him. It's just so evil and wrong. I just picture him as a little man in a tattered uniform, sitting in front of his little pool so smugly. It makes me ill.

I mean, can you imagine? Let's just say this guy does have to go before God and Sonny Jesus some day. No matter how good his intentions are (and you know what they say about those), I can't imagine this behavior being justifiable. I can't imagine standing in front of your Lord and Savior and being proud of having done this in the name of Christ.

And the fact that he's doing this to these troops who are out there defending his right to be such a religious freak of prickdom, just...ooh. And in a part of the world where hospitality is one of the main tenets of the prevalent religion, too. What a Pharisee.
posted by padraigin at 1:41 PM on April 7, 2003


And what do you do if you're a Catholic and were already baptized and take your being baptized in the church seriously?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:54 PM on April 7, 2003


And what do you do if you're a Catholic and were already baptized and take your being baptized in the church seriously?

You go find some other water. Or you go to your God soul intact. The choice, as always, ultimately remains yours.
posted by UncleFes at 2:21 PM on April 7, 2003


Here's more on it
posted by evening at 5:10 PM on April 7, 2003


Hmph. It reminds me of when I got into a religious argument with an evangelical Southern Baptist (I know, I know, bad idea...) and told her that I was "saved" when I was baptized. She asked me what denomination baptized me. I told her, and her reply was "It didn't take." I was speechless.
posted by Vidiot at 6:09 PM on April 7, 2003


I wrote a letter to the head of the Army Chaplain division, the Public Affairs office for the Chaplaincy, and the head of the Southern Baptist Chaplaincy. I was pleasantly surprised to receive responses back from both of them.
posted by dejah420 at 10:08 AM on April 8, 2003


But the practiced described is totally out of line with normal chaplaincy practice as wells as that of Southern Baptist practice. The practice is neither theologically or ethically sound nor is it taught or expected as a practice to follow. Blessings,

wow. good work.
posted by victors at 12:02 PM on April 8, 2003


Thanks dejah420.
posted by homunculus at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2003


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