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Fighting for God and...God.
May 4, 2009 9:47 AM   Subscribe


 


LOL they keep their bibles on the floor. They're not going to win many converts from Islam that way until they learn some of the basic etiquette with the Qur'an that is SOP for Muslims.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


"[As Christians] We hunt people for Jesus. We do. Hunt 'em down. Get the hound of Heaven after them, so we can get them in the Kingdom. Right? That's what we do! That's our business!"

They seem to misunderstand not only Directive 1, but that they were sent there as military, not missionaries. If they're so concerned about recruiting for their Lord, why do it in BDUs?
posted by now i'm piste at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


LOLMONOCULTURE
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2009


Holy crap! I knew CPT Furner (the first guy) when I was at Ft. Campbell. I can't say this behavior from him particularly surprises me.
posted by lullaby at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2009


If I was deployed in Afghanistan, I would be in the market for divine protection too.

As the New York Times reports, the Progressive Commander is about to pour thousands of troops into Afghanistan's heavily populated opium-growing regions, using a military sledgehammer to destroy the only source of income for large portions of the poverty-wracked nation. ...

But the folly of Obama's New Opium War does not end there. Buried in the NY Times story is this little strategic note:

[[ Many of the new American soldiers will fan out along southern Afghanistan’s largely unguarded 550-mile-long border with Pakistan. Among them will be soldiers deployed in the Stryker, a relatively quick, nimble armored vehicle that can roam across the vast areas that span the frontier. ]]

In other words, the United States is about to deploy thousands of mobile troops -- backed to the hilt with heavy artillery and airpower -- along a vast stretch of the Pakistan border, where, as the New York Times tells us, they will be involved in "months of heavy fighting" against an enemy that Obama and the Pentagon continually tell us is directed, supplied and succored from...Pakistan.

How long will it take this heavy fighting to spill across that invisible border, which already being penetrated on a regular basis by U.S. drone missile attacks? If you think the Pakistan Taliban is aroused now (although of course the "existential danger" they pose has been exaggerated, deliberately, by the Administration), what will happen when American troops move in deadly force across the border -- in "hot pursuit" of Taliban forces, or perhaps to wipe out Taliban bases?
- Chris Floyd
posted by Joe Beese at 10:08 AM on May 4, 2009


To a Christian, anyone who isn't a Christian is going to suffer eternal torture. They are also supposed to "love their neighbor". Thus it follows that they should do everything in their power, including breaking some piddling little "rules" or "laws" to save that person.

Some "reasonable" Christians are going to come here and tell you that you have to "render unto Caesar" or whatever wrt anti-proselytizing rules. However, IMO those "reasonable" Christians are either lazy or not really Christians by the claims laid down in the fundamentals of the Bible.

In short: The problem isn't a few bad apples in the military. The problem is an anti-social philosophy pervasive in the military and only kept in check (to the extent that it is) by inherent human laziness.
posted by DU at 10:09 AM on May 4, 2009


There's a good, wide-ranging article about this stuff in the current issue of Harper's. "Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military." It is very concerning.
posted by thebergfather at 10:11 AM on May 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


("anti-social" because even though they are nominally helping someone, they are willing to break any rule in service to "a higher law".)
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on May 4, 2009


"[As Christians] We hunt people for Jesus. We do. Hunt 'em down. Get the hound of Heaven after them, so we can get them in the Kingdom. Right? That's what we do! That's our business!"

Isn't that a Simpson's quote?
posted by Sailormom at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2009


Just to answer n.i.p.'s question about why some folks do it in BDUs:

I once worked with a missionary overseas in an extremely challenging, security-sensitive part of the world. Even among missionary circles, the guy was insufferably self-entitled and culturally unaware. He was the stereotypical "loud, obnoxious American" and I hated being around him because he was a walking insult to just about everyone we met.

After a few years in his role, struggling to make things work and failing, he left the missions agency and joined the Army as a Chaplain. At least that way, he didn't have to be covert about his intentions or pretend to be interested in the local culture, etc.
posted by darkstar at 10:13 AM on May 4, 2009


"Stupid is the new Black".
posted by sporb at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2009


Force Ministries
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 AM on May 4


q: what is the difference between a fundamentalist american christian in camouflage with a rifle and a fundamentalist saudi muslim with explosives taped his his torso

a: what is the difference between a wasp and a bee
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Change "bee" to "hornet" and you might have something. Bees make honey.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


One small reason amongst of the many I do not go abroad is that I have always imagined myself meeting people from other countries, then having to smile sheepishly, duck my shoulders, and apologize for being American. "Sorry about that whole 'thing' we did five years ago." I imagined a large book, with a section for each country, e.g., "Chapter 203: Things For Which Americans in Uzbekistan Might Want to Apologize While They Are In-Country (Or At Least Tactfully Avoid Mentioning)."

I think I might just try lying and saying that I'm Canadian. Otherwise, as the above trend continues, that book might have to be broken up into volumes, perhaps one for each continent or region. Maybe a Kindle edition, so we wouldn't have to carry around such a weight.
posted by adipocere at 10:39 AM on May 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


what is the difference between a fundamentalist american christian in camouflage with a rifle and a fundamentalist saudi muslim with explosives taped his his torso

One of them is loudly and explicitly supported by his government and supported by a vast industry and many fellow soldiers?
posted by DU at 10:42 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


LOL they keep their bibles on the floor.

They must have misheard that Drowning Pool song the troops like so much.
posted by total warfare frown at 10:44 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


These guys need a court-martial. They are setting our mission there back so that they may engage in their own private mission. Not with my tax dollars.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:45 AM on May 4, 2009 [17 favorites]


Yay! 105th Airborne Crusaders!
posted by hippybear at 10:52 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I noticed the bibles on the floor, too. It seems to me the combination of cultural insensitivity and the dangers of being off-mission make this more than just a political issue, but a tactical one.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:56 AM on May 4, 2009


There's a good, wide-ranging article about this stuff in the current issue of Harper's. "Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military." It is very concerning.

You can read that entire article here. Time well spent, and I agree with thebergfather, a development that's very troubling.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:57 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yay! 105th Airborne Crusaders!
posted by hippybear at 1:52 PM on May 4 [+] [!]


what in gods name is wrong with that website? the matrix appears to be crashing
posted by geos at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]




The Military Religious Freedom Foundation might be of interest.

It's an organization I support, although I personally have never experienced this kind of stuff. (Though I have been the target of evangelical BS in the civilian world - I'm Jewish - I've never had this problem in the military.) Most of the soldiers I deployed with didn't want to talk about religion at all, much less hand out bibles or try and bring Jesus to the Iraqis. Just my experience.

In any case, time to Article 92 this shit. If the Army gets soldiers in trouble for other violations of General Order No. 1 (for example, prohibition of alcohol), then they can certainly act on this matter.
posted by lullaby at 11:21 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


This will not turn out well.
posted by dougzilla at 11:22 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


guys, someone should really send this video to Obama.
posted by molecicco at 11:49 AM on May 4, 2009


To a Christian, anyone who isn't a Christian is going to suffer eternal torture. They are also supposed to "love their neighbor". Thus it follows that they should do everything in their power, including breaking some piddling little "rules" or "laws" to save that person.

Some "reasonable" Christians are going to come here and tell you that you have to "render unto Caesar" or whatever wrt anti-proselytizing rules. However, IMO those "reasonable" Christians are either lazy or not really Christians by the claims laid down in the fundamentals of the Bible.


Well, I'm a Christian, and I don't believe that anyone who isn't will suffer eternal torture. In fact, I don't believe that anyone is going to suffer eternal torture--mainly because the Bible doesn't teach that. But that's for another discussion.

What I tell Christians is that they just shouldn't be in the military, period. Too many conflicts of interest. You can only have one ultimate allegiance, and if you've picked Jesus, that rules out Uncle Sam. In the early centuries of the church, that was the consensus--if you are a soldier when you are baptized, get out as soon as possible. Caesar has too much control otherwise, and you are almost inevitably going to deny your faith or disobey an order. The concern then was primarily about being ordered to kill, but it's just fundamentally untenable to honor the Prince of Peace and get a paycheck from the military-industrial complex.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:53 AM on May 4, 2009 [19 favorites]




Its been going on for a while now. Birth of the Christian Soldier: How Evangelicals Infiltrated the American Military The Air Force Academy is especially evangelistic.
Then there is this book: Infiltrating the U.S. Military; Gen. Boykin’s “Kingdom Warriors” On the Road to Abu Ghraib and Beyond. It's not as if this has been a sudden ocurance, it's probably just that over the last 8 years or so being a radical Christian has been seen as normal Conservative behavior. As usual the MSM completely neglected the story. There seems to be something very American about shouting your brand of blind belief from the rooftops and completely disregarding the original tennets of said faith.
posted by adamvasco at 12:11 PM on May 4, 2009


Can I please have a refund for the portion of my tax dollars that are being spent on these soldiers, and everything involved with them?

This is disgraceful. Let me just tally that up with a number of other things to be embarrassed of my country about.
posted by Malice at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2009


They seem to misunderstand not only Directive 1, but that they were sent there as military, not missionaries. If they're so concerned about recruiting for their Lord, why do it in BDUs?

Evangelicalism has very little understanding of the concept of "vocation"-- that people have certain vocations in life and that serving God involves doing the best they can in their personal calling. In evangelical Christianity, your primary and most important duty is to promote the gospel and evangelize others. A Christian plumber's job isn't supposed to be "to be the best plumber I can be," it's to "bring people to Jesus through plumbing." Thus, evangelicals in the military aren't thinking about how they've found themselves in the military and how they should do well at their job because that's where their God-given talents lie. They're thinking about how they can use the military to save souls for the Lord.

One small reason amongst of the many I do not go abroad is that I have always imagined myself meeting people from other countries, then having to smile sheepishly, duck my shoulders, and apologize for being American.

Grow a spine and stop living your life embarrassed of yourself for stuff you didn't even personally do. Plenty of Americans go abroad and have perfectly good experiences with the locals. People might not always like what the United States does, but they have nothing against normal, friendly, culturally curious individual Americans.
posted by deanc at 12:36 PM on May 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


If anyone can convert Islamic folks to Christianity, it's gonna be the guys who are shooting the shit out of everybody.
posted by orme at 12:41 PM on May 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Good for the guy who recorded the video. I shudder to think of the hate mail he's getting.

At 4:08 in the video, "The exact line where evangelism ends and proselytizing begins is a subject of intense debate," what? In my experience, they come to the same thing.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:41 PM on May 4, 2009


A Christian plumber's job isn't supposed to be "to be the best plumber I can be," it's to "bring people to Jesus through plumbing."

Man, if I were a Christian plumber I would make damn sure those two goals were interchangeable.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on May 4, 2009


A Christian plumber's job isn't supposed to be "to be the best plumber I can be," it's to "bring people to Jesus through plumbing."

Man, if I were a Christian plumber I would make damn sure those two goals were interchangeable.
I meant to preface that part of my comment with, "To the evangelical..."
posted by deanc at 12:44 PM on May 4, 2009




If anyone can convert Islamic folks to Christianity, it's gonna be the guys who are shooting the shit out of everybody.
posted by orme at 12:41 PM on May 4


Isn't that the general history of Christianity?
posted by Malice at 1:05 PM on May 4, 2009


you are almost inevitably going to deny your faith or disobey an order. The concern then was primarily about being ordered to kill

Unless that order included "Deus vult" in which case Christians have had no problem being order to kill.
posted by sarcasman at 1:07 PM on May 4, 2009


Here's a stroll down memory lane... Christian Convert Faces Execution... in Afghanistan, a man who converted to Christianity is being prosecuted in Kabul, and a judge said Sunday that if convicted, he faces the death penalty. (2006)

Sounds like a great place to hand out Bibles.
posted by lullaby at 1:15 PM on May 4, 2009





Man, religionists are the pits.
posted by notreally at 1:33 PM on May 4, 2009


Let the bibles hit the floor, let the bibles hit the floor, let the bibles hit the – FLOOOOR!

Yep, that works.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on May 4, 2009


I really wish they could have gotten some footage of the Bibles actually being handed out to non-Christian Afghanis. Or footage of some of the Christians doing more than explaining what Evangelical Christianity is and actually saying that they wanted to convert non-Christian Afghanis while they were there.

I would be entirely ready to condemn proselytizing by members of the military but this report doesn't go far enough to show that. I especially would have liked to hear the rest of the conversation around the clip of that guy saying, "Yes, we know what proselytizing is." Did that guy think he was violating Directive 1? I would like to know.

Because on the other hand I would support Christian American soldiers handing out Bibles and offering communal worship with their Afghani co-religionists, as I would support Muslim American soldiers handing out copies of the Koran and offering communal worship with Afghani Muslims.

(And actually, correct me if I'm wrong, but even Muslims wouldn't necessarily mind having copies of the New Testament, would they? I thought it was the kind of thing that they simply wouldn't consider to be authoritative, like the "Old Testament" / Hebrew scriptures. I know it happens but I don't think it's de rigueur for Muslims to burn copies of the Bible, is it? But I'm an atheist anyways, so I wouldn't mind if Afghani Muslims asked for copies of the Bible and just burned them, except insofar as I think burning books in general is a socially bad thing.)
posted by XMLicious at 6:20 PM on May 4, 2009


I've seen that sort of thing before Geos, but it was on a web page that was the rabbit hole to an alternate reality game and the obvious booching of graphics was pretty much a flag to let you know there were clues burried in the jpeg file.

We're probably not that lucky here.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:30 PM on May 4, 2009


>There's a good, wide-ranging article about this stuff in the current issue of Harper's.
>Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military." It is very concerning.

You can read that entire article here. Time well spent, and I agree with thebergfather, a development that's very troubling.


Aside from May's "Jesus Killed Mohammed", Jeff Sharlet has written several articles on this subject for Harper's, starting with 2003's alarming "Jesus Plus Nothing".
posted by ob1quixote at 6:47 PM on May 4, 2009


Related:
Reza Aslan, author of "How to Win a Cosmic War", interviewed on AltMuslim:
the Bush administration, by essentially adopting the same religiously polarizing language and cosmic worldview as those people who attacked the United States on September 11, essentially transformed the "war on terror" into a "cosmic war".
posted by BinGregory at 7:33 PM on May 4, 2009


the Bush administration, by essentially adopting the same religiously polarizing language and cosmic worldview as those people who attacked the United States on September 11, essentially transformed the "war on terror" into a "cosmic war".

Oh, great. Now we're in Battlefield Earth.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 PM on May 4, 2009


Oh, great. Now we're in Battlefield Earth.

Do we all have to start looking for leverage now?
posted by Caduceus at 11:05 PM on May 4, 2009


Dibs on the rat!
posted by cereselle at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2009




There's a good, wide-ranging article about this stuff in the current issue of Harper's. "Jesus killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military." It is very concerning.

The author of that piece, Jeff Sharlet, was interviewed on Democracy Now this morning, along with Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force veteran and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
posted by homunculus at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2009


From the Navy Times: Record bombs dropped in Afghanistan in April
Air Force, Navy and other coalition warplanes dropped a record number of bombs in Afghanistan during April, Air Forces Central figures show.

In the past month, warplanes released 438 bombs, the most ever.

April also marked the fourth consecutive month that the number of bombs dropped rose, after a decline starting last July.

The munitions were released during 2,110 close-air support sorties.

The actual number of airstrikes was higher because the AFCent numbers don’t include attacks by helicopters and special operations gunships. The numbers also don’t include strafing runs or launches of small missiles.
posted by stammer at 11:13 PM on May 7, 2009


Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan

Purportedly in connection to the Al Jazeera piece in the OP.
posted by XMLicious at 1:17 AM on May 20, 2009


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