Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's leave the missions from god to the Blues Brothers

I've seen a lot of stories lately about the prevalence of evangelical Christianity in the military. But this tidbit really stood out to me:

Or are these Bible-based intelligence briefings more evidence of the influence of evangelical Christians in the U.S. military, documented in the May issue of Harper's magazine by reporter Jeff Sharlet who says there is a "small but powerful movement of Christian soldiers concentrated in the officers corps" who see themselves not as subversives or radicals, but as "spiritual warriors" and "government paid missionaries."

Read the whole story here.

I know it's not the entire military or everyone at the Pentagon, but the idea that there is anyone of any rank in the military who sees himself as being a spiritual warrior on some kind of mission from god scares me. I don't want anyone waging a holy war on my behalf or in the name of my country. I don't want anyone with access to tanks and big guns thinking she can do something to hasten the arrival of Armageddon. I don't think anyone's god has any place in the chain of command of the U.S. military.

And it seems a little inconsistent with the First Amendment.


BellsforStacy said...

I'd wager a guess and say there are no more evangelical Christians in the military than there are (percentage wise) in the general population.

And many people in other public professions (HUD, CPS, teaching, PUBLIC DEFENDERS :) etc) view their work as life callings that God has called them to do. I don't see why being in the military should be any different.

In a part of the world that has no freedom of speech and no freedom of religion, I can see why our men and women would want to show a different way. Especially the women.

The US military is right to try and reign in some of this behavior, especially those that make nusciances of themselves (which can happen).

But God has a very real place in especially the military. These men die thousands of miles from home without their families. The comfort and hope that religion and God provide is immeasurable. Not to mention the guidance of ministers when dealing with the emotional issues they face every day.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Choir, some of the best war stories are from the bible! The bible and warriors are synonymous. Don't take god out of war!

S said...

Actually, I think I saw something that suggested there actually is a higher concentration of evangelical christians in the military. I'll see if I can track that down.

People can feel called by whatever higher power they believe in to go into a line of work (though I don't think I know any public defenders who feel called by god to do this work). But if you join a particular, secular workplace, you don't get to let your godly mission trump the work you're supposed to be doing for your earthly higher-ups.

The point of this post was not that it's horrifying and scary that individual military men and women have deeply-held religious beliefs. I'm all for them believing whatever the heck they want to. But, the concern that has been raised is that there are some high-ranking military officials who are allowing their zeal to participate in some holy war affect policies. That they are pursuing certain tactics or pushing the DoD to engage in certain places (like Iraq) not because it's truly in our nation's best interests, but because it's what they think their god wants us to do. That is not just inappropriate in the military, but it's scary as hell. Our military should not be used to fight anyone's holy war.

I'm also pretty opposed to any military men and women using their time overseas to proselytize. If any of them want to be missionaries, they need to quit the military and join a mission.

God doesn't have a place in the military. In the personal lives of individual soldiers, sure, but not in the military as an institution. And no military official should be thinking about carrying out god's mission instead of carrying out his/her country's mission.

Anonymous said...

i understand the non-believers but if you think outside the square for a milli-second you'll have to agree that if it is true then you would only believe if it had happened to you. yeah? crazy hey but makes sense. ;)

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