5.16.2009

u.s. troops in afghanistan: "we hunt people for jesus"

There's a long story in last month's issue of Harper's about a disturbing, but little noted, trend: US Christian evangelicals using the war in Afghanistan as a platform for missionary work - and as a crusade. You can't read that for free online, but it relates to this.
US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show.

Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him".

"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says.

"Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."

According to this story at Military.com (via BoingBoing), the Army confirmed that the bibles existed, confiscated them and issued reprimands.

But according to Jeff Sharlet, who has been studying US evangelicals for a long time, the trend is much more extensive than that. "Jesus Killed Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military" is available to read with a subscription password or in print. Some scary stuff.

Thanks to both Allan and James for linkage.

9 comments:

Cornelia said...

What pathetic craziness is going on there?! What fundamentalist idiots and bullies and abusive bullies and sadists! Baseless vicious arrant nonsense, every word! This is along the lines of fundamentalist cult abuse and recalls the darkest Middle Ages! Have they gone to school together with Osama or what?! Remember enlightenment anyone?

Cornelia said...

Now I am finally making more sense of some concerns and discussions if stuff like this is going on - in our supposedly enlightened age!

Cornelia said...

This is Taliban-style, plain and simple. Absolutely horrendously dreadful!!

richard said...

It just makes me sad. The Hound of Heaven doesn't need that kind of help. Thank God some of us still believe that "Blessed are the peacemakers" verse.

I'll just go and cry now.

Cornelia said...

Richard, I'm so sorry you were so very saddened to the point of "just go and cry" as you wrote. I know these people are awful - and also idiotic, plain and simple.

Cornelia said...

Thank God some of us still believe that "Blessed are the peacemakers" verse.

A friend of mine, who self-identifies as Christian, not as humanist - I do self-identify as enlightened humanist primarily - had to say on that and I found it helpful and I hope it may make you feel a bit better, too that obviously they don't have much idea about what Jesus said exactly, so to say.

Cornelia said...

Fundamentalists like accusing people who don't share their views of writing offensive stuff about God and religion, but I think fundamentalists of the cult abuse kind - and those war criminals certainly do qualify for that - do way more on blasphemy than most even very angry atheists, so to say, haha!

Timothy said...

That is some scary stuff. The amount of over-evangelizing in the US military is quite scary. I wrote a paper on the topic last year. The percentage of ultra conservative christians in the US military is extremely out of proportion to the rest of the general population. Basically put, if the fringe christians were to splinter off from the US military and form their own army, their numbers would be more than the armed forces of Canada, UK, France, or Germany.

I can speak first hand how they attempt to cram it down your throat when you're in the army. I just remember thinking "I wish they'd leave Jesus out of this..."

I am a christian, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I wish they would stop using my religion as a sword for their hatred.

Cornelia said...

Thanks so much, Timothy.