Religious control of the US military
This page is in need of updating. - needs to be rewritten slightly since GWB is no longer in office. Also, check Wall of Separation blog and FRFF to see if this sort of thing has been continuing under Obama.
There have been repeated warnings from different sources that the United States military is being taken over, through replacement of officers at the highest levels, by "far-right" Christian evangelists, in clear violation of the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state.
This appears to be happening with at least the cooperation of the Bush-Cheney administration, and may be an active project of that administration.
- 2008-07-08 [Talk|Index] The U.S. Christian military? § “Hall grew up reading the Bible every night and saying grace at dinner. Then, after his first tour of duty, he met some friends who were atheist and decided to read the Bible again. He read the whole Bible, and had so many unanswered questions, he says, he decided to embrace atheism. .. In the army, he says, that cost him dearly. .. Hall says he was denied a promotion because of his beliefs, and felt his life was in jeopardy. He says the army assigned him a full-time bodyguard because of threats. .. At Thanksgiving, Hall refused to pray with his table and says an officer told him to go sit somewhere else. .. Also, after he was nearly killed when his humvee was attacked, he says a fellow soldier asked him, "do you believe in Jesus now?"” Commentary: Pharyngula
- 2008-04-26 [Talk|Index] Soldier Sues Army, Saying His Atheism Led to Threats § “When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending. .. But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. â€œPeople like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!â€ Major Welborn said, according to the statement. .. Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement.” Commentary: Pharyngula
- 2007-10-04 Are U.S. troops being force-fed Christianity? "A watchdog group alleges that improper evangelizing is occurring within the ranks." by Jane Lampman
- groups mentioned:
- Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)
- Air Force Academy (AFA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado – evangelical approach during orientation. "The Air Force set about reaffirming basic principles in religion guidelines, as a basis for widespread training, but a pushback by Evangelicals later led to Congress setting them aside until hearings could be held. The hearings have not taken place."
- Christian Embassy, a group that conducts Bible studies at the Pentagon and seeks to evangelize within the armed services.
- Operation Stand Up was preparing to send "freedom packages" to soldiers in Iraq as part of an Army program. Along with socks and snacks, the packages included proselytizing materials in English and Arabic, and the apocalyptic video game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" in which Christians carry on warfare against people of other faiths.
- people mentioned:
- Lt. Gen. William Boykin allegedly gave speeches at churches while in uniform that disparaged Islam and defined the war on terror in fundamentalist, "end times" terms. Speaking of a Muslim warlord he had pursued, Boykin reportedly said "I knew my God was a real God and his was an idol." and that our enemies "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.". Boykin was promoted afterwards instead of being fired.
- Maj. Gen. Paul Sutton reportedly participated in a video prepared for Christian Embassy while he served as chief of the US Office of Defense Cooperation in Turkey, a largely Muslim nation whose military takes pride in protecting the country's secular status. After a Turkish newspaper wrote about the video as promoting a "fundamentalist sect," General Sutton was called in and questioned by members of the Turkish General Staff.
- groups mentioned:
- 2007-09-07 "We're Dealing with a Christian Taliban": Interview with Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, 1977 honor graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, 10-year veteran of the US Air Force as a "JAG" (military attorney), former assistant counsel in the Reagan White House
- 2007-09 The Right to Religious Expression at the Air Force Academy by Carlos Bertha: "Speaking as a faculty member at the Academy, though admittedly a biased one, I can say that the media didn't blow anything out of proportion--if anything, they missed out on some of the more objectionable examples of theocratic mischief."
- 2007-10-08 Report: Pentagon Facilitating Christian Evangelism by Jason Leopold: "The Defense Department (DOD) allegedly provided two fundamentalist Christian organizations exclusive access to several military bases around the country. This access became official sanction for these groups to proselytize amid the ranks, despite the fact that such activities were in violation of federal law."
- 2007-10-08 US Government-Paid Christian Fundamentalist Missionaries in USAF: commentary, with screenshot of incriminating web site. "The Merrimans are not promoting Christianity in general but but a very specific, sectarian interpretation of Christianity: Apocalyptic dispensationalist Christianity."
- 2007-10-04 Dan Rather On Christian Fundamentalist Right In US Military
- 2007-05-14 Navy vet: Chaplains tried converting me
- 2007-04-21 Birth of the Christian Soldier: How Evangelicals Infiltrated the American Military, excerpt from the book With God on Our Side by Michael L. Weinstein and David Seay.
- 2006-12-31 Chris Hedges: America’s Holy Warriors by Chris Hedges: "The former New York Times Mideast Bureau chief warns that the radical Christian right is coming dangerously close to its goal of co-opting the country’s military and law enforcement."
- mirrors: RichardDawkins.net
- 2006-05-22 WTF? 'Navy SEALS' at Christian Youth Rally?
- 2005-11-12 Group Trains Air Force Cadets to Proselytize (mirror@truthout) by Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer
- 2005-11-10 Senate OKs academy prayer by Tom Roeder, The Gazette: this actually sounds fairly innocuous, but may be worth further checking
- 2005-06-09 Flying Over the Line by Richard Cohen
Organizations seeking to curtail sanctioned religious evangelism in the military
Organizations promoting religion within the military
- Military Ministry distributes Bibles to troops
- Military Missions Network is "A network of evangelical Churches, Chaplains, and Para-church Ministries fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ by reaching, equipping and ministering to military members and families worldwide." (What is the Great Commission of Jesus Christ?)