Christian ‘crusades’ and the US military
05/18/2009 - 00:00
James Besser
Monday, May 18th, 2009 Did you think the issue of Christian evangelizing in the U.S. military has gone away, now that the controversy over proselytization at the Air Force Academy has died down? Guess again. Today’s New York Times  has an interesting story about the inclusion of Bible quotes and religious images in official Pentagon reports during the early days of the Iraq war. Daily briefings included pictures of soldiers praying and snippets of Bible verses- more like religious inspirational posters than official intelligence reports. According to GQ,  which was the first out of the starting gate with the story, some Defense Department officials expressed concern that leaks of the adorned reports might seem to confirm the suspicion by some that the war a kind of religious crusade. Well duh. That’s not all. The cover story in the May issue of Harpers has this provocative title:  Jesus killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military. And earlier this month, Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that a recent Al Jazeera video proves that some soldiers in Afghanistan are using their mission there as an opportunity for  proselytization. (see the group’s press release here) “This video clearly shows that fundamentalist, evangelical Christians within the U.S. military are putting their fellow soldiers at extreme risk by attempting to convert Afghans to Christianity,” Weinstein said. “These inciteful actions are grossly offensive to not only Muslims in Afghanistan and across the world, but to all those who hold faith in the U.S. Constitution. The United States’ armed forces are not on a mission to impose a Christian God on those who believe in Muhammad. We are fighting a fundamentalist terrorist threat in Afghanistan that is hell bent on destroying America’s rights and freedoms.” What I want to know is this: where are the major Jewish groups on the issue of the attempt by some to turn the U.S. military into a kind of Christian sleep-away camp?  Since the Air Force Academy controversy a few years back, there’s been nary a peep.

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