Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 21 Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 15 (39 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   9 comments

General News

How Much Money Could the Department of Defense Save if it Stopped Trying to Save Souls?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 5   Interesting 4   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 8/19/11

Become a Fan
  (9 fans)
- Advertisement -

While Strong Bonds is specifically an Army program, the rampant promotion of evangelical Christianity under the guise of Spiritual Fitness is going on in all branches of the military. As an example from another branch of the military, over $120,000 in DoD contracts have been awarded to the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center, one of the facilities used by both the Army and the Navy for retreats. Another popular site in Virginia for the Navy's Spiritual Fitness and "Personal Growth" retreats is the Peninsula Baptist Association's Eastover Retreat Center, which has received $75,000 in DoD contracts. For its retreats in Rhode Island, the Navy also uses a Baptist facility, the American Baptist Church's Canonicus Camping and Conference Center, which has received $53,000 in DoD contracts.

In addition to the constitutional issue of these military retreats being evangelical Christian retreats, any of the Christian facilities used for these retreats that receives over $10,000 in DoD contracts is in violation of the prohibition on federal government contractors discriminating based on religion in their hiring practices. They all hire only Christians, and many require in their employment applications that potential employees subscribe to a "statement of faith" and provide their Christian "testimony," detailing when and how they were "saved."

Evangelical Christian Performers for Strong Bonds and Other Events

Even retreats that are not located at religious camps regularly feature evangelical Christian speakers and entertainers. The contract amounts range from a few thousand dollars paid to each of a number of individual "motivational" speakers for single retreats to tens of thousands of dollars for evangelical Christian ministries and performers hired for multiple retreats.

For example, Quail Ministries, a Christian music ministry that provides performances "liberally seasoned with songs, stories, and anecdotal Scripturally-based lessons," has received over $84,000 in DoD contracts for performances at about a dozen Strong Bonds retreats.

Unlimited Potential, Inc., a ministry "Serving Christ Through Baseball" by sending evangelical Christian major league baseball players to military events, received over $80,000 in DoD contracts for just two retreats, one Strong Bonds retreat and one Spiritual Fitness retreat. Unlimited Potential has been at many other military bases for various other events that do not show up in DoD contracts, presumably because these appearances were paid for with base funds.

DoD Funded Evangelical Christian Youth Programs

Service members are not the only ones targeted by evangelical Christian programs paid for with DoD contracts. Military children are also heavily targeted, both here in the U.S. and on bases overseas. Evangelizing the children of service members is one of the largest areas of spending.

- Advertisement -

The biggest ministry contracted by the DoD to target children is Military Community Youth Ministries (MCYM), whose mission statement is "Celebrate life with military teens, Introduce them to the Life-Giver, Jesus Christ, And help them become more like Him." MCYM has received $12,346,333 in DoD contracts since 2000. One of MCYM's tactics? Stalking "unchurched" military children by following their schools buses.

Ranking second is Cadence International, with over $2,671,603 in contracts since 2003. Cadence describes itself as "an evangelical mission agency dedicated to reaching the military communities of the United States and of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ." Cadence not only targets young service members and military children for conversion to evangelical Christianity, but also actively tries to convert members of foreign militaries in the countries where they operate under DoD contracts.

In addition to military youth ministries like MYCM and Cadence, military children are also targeted by military base Religious Education Directors, also hired with DoD contracts. These ministries and Religious Education Directors employ tactics that can only be described as "stalking" children, with some DoD contracts even requiring that the contractors identify and target the "unchurched" children at non-religious events and activities and get them into chapel programs, and to supply reports naming these children by name.

Conversion by Temptation

As I've been sitting here writing this post, an email came in to MRFF from a soldier who is currently in Advanced Individual Training (AIT), the stage of training between basic training and and a soldier's first assignment, where the soldier receives training in the particular job they will be doing. During AIT, soldiers are typically given a few privileges that they didn't have in basic training, but not many.

- Advertisement -

This soldier's email is a a great example of a common strategy that I call "conversion by temptation," where the military ministries and the military itself tempt young soldiers and military children with fun or exciting things to lure them into participating in programs and events where they can be "saved." What young soldier would pass up a vacation at a resort with their spouse that they could never afford on their military salary? That's how the Army's Strong Bonds program gets many soldiers who would never attend an religious retreat to attend evangelical Christian retreats. What teenage kid would pass up a ski trip or week at the beach with the other kids? That's how DoD funded military youth ministries like MCYM lure the teenage kids of our service members.

The email that just came in from the soldier in AIT was about the soldiers in training being granted extra privileges if they attend the programs on his post run by Cadence International. These privileges include being allowed to have pizza and soda on Friday nights if they go to the Christian "Coffee House," even if they haven't reached the stage of training where this is allowed, and being allowed to wear civilian clothes and engage in all sorts of fun activities if they go to Cadence's on-post weekend retreats.

To a non-Christian soldier in AIT, getting the extra privileges and having some fun are worth the price of having to sit through the fundamentalist Christian sermons that go along with these activities, so many of them do it. Others go along simply because they don't want to stand out from the crowd and be singled out as being of the "wrong" religion or not being religious.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

http://www.liarsforjesus.com

Chris Rodda is the Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and the author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Michele Bachmann Lies About Her Own Family History To Sound More Iowan

The Camp Pendleton Cross: The Facts vs. What the "Persecuted" Christians Are Saying

Psalm 109 Imprecatory Prayer Case to Go Forward in Texas

Attention Unchurched Military Personnel: They're Coming For Your Children

Writers Cited in Breivik Manifesto Have Spoken at U.S. Military Colleges as Anti-Terrorism Experts

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
9 people are discussing this page, with 9 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

I'm waiting for the velvet wall painting of the La... by lwarman on Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 5:50:31 PM
Unconscionable. In the name of the Prince of Peace... by Donald on Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 8:55:15 PM
against Muslim countries.  Of course evangeli... by Odyseus_97 on Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at 11:33:23 PM
I do not understand using a photo of a Templar Kni... by mike buchan on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 3:03:33 AM
contributions, withholding taxes, by taxing labor.... by bogi666 on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 6:24:01 AM
that the military establishment of the Pentagon wo... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 1:43:53 PM
YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR O... by MAKAKI YIDDISHEK on Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 2:57:43 PM
 The term "spiritual fitness" is almost enoug... by Lawrence Worley on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 8:01:44 AM
It would also prevent a fundie takeover and forced... by M Omell on Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 10:39:43 AM