I received a forwarded email today that has been making its rounds on the internet in various forms for a few years now. It's original author is a self-proclaimed, committed Christian. Perhaps it has been forwarded to you as well, and you have already seen it. The email begins with 22 photos guaranteed to stir the emotions: photos of dogs and babies, old men and children, cats, flowers and whales. You know the kind of photos I'm talking about...photos that effortlessly awaken the heart and disarm the intellect. Interspersed among these 22 photos are just a few photos thrown in here and there of American soldiers. There are no words accompanying any these first 22 photos -- the words come later, accompanied by 9 more photos of men and women in uniform.
The text of the email that comes with these additional photos of America's warriors reads as follows:
ACLU has filed a suit to end prayer from the military completely. They're making great progress. The Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer thanks to the ACLU and others.
I'm not breaking this one. If I get it a 1000 times, I'll forward it a 1000 times!
Let us pray...
Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!
PRAY FOR OUR SOLDIERS" DON'T BREAK IT!
Please send this on after a short prayer:
'Lord hold our troops
in your loving hands
Protect them as
they protect us
& their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need.
In Jesus name,
Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.
There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.
GOD BLESS YOU FOR PASSING IT ON!"
This email is a despicable attempt to obscure the truth via an appeal to the emotions. It is aimed at those Christians who genuinely feel with open heart for the suffering of America's soldiers in this troubled time, but whose easily overshadowed discriminative intellect makes them an easy mark to be emotionally manipulated into the service of a highly politicized, morally bankrupt agenda that ultimately serves only to further reinforce the very disheartening circumstances of death and destruction that our soldiers find themselves mired in, and that tug at the hearts of so many of us. Confusing Christianity with Americanism, patriotism with militarism, humanitarian intervention with the hegemonic, imperial goals of empire, and the one conscious source of all being with the kind of parochial ideas of God that so easily lend themselves to making bigots of would-be saints, millions upon millions of Christian Americans unwittingly and hypocritically offer their sympathetic support to the very conditions that are at the root of the suffering it is their stated prayerful aim to alleviate.
This email, and others like it, only add to the body of lies that are at the root of all the suffering America's soldiers must, unfortunately, endure. Like all the many lies that undergird America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, everything stated in this email is demonstrably false!
The ACLU has NOT filed suit to put a stop to prayer in the military. This is an intentional fabrication -- a blatant lie.
Nor is it true that "Navy Chaplains can no longer mention Jesus' name in prayer." Nor is it true that the ACLU is engaged in any such effort.
Surely the committed "Christian" with whom this email originated must be familiar with the biblical commandment that warns against bearing false witness.
And what of the millions of Christian Americans who are taken in by these lies? Haven't they been warned by the same "good book" to beware of ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing? Is it really so surprising that a good many of these should turn out to be self-proclaimed Christians? One would think not. But then how is it that emails such as this are still in circulation?
Lastly, and most importantly, contrary to the message of this email, the best we have to offer America's soldiers is NOT prayer. If we really want to support our soldiers, the best thing we can do for them is to not send them to fight morally unjustified, unprovoked, unnecessary wars of choice against people who have done nothing at all to harm America or its allies. Of course, it's far too late for that. Our soldiers are already in the midst of fighting such wars. So we have to move on to the next best thing we can offer our soldiers. We can give them our support by encouraging them to refuse any further service, helping them in whatever ways we can to find the courage to stand against America's vast and powerful war machine -- America's war-profiteering military-industrial-media-congressional complex -- whose deep pockets are overflowing with billions upon billions of dollars stained with their blood, as well as the blood of the hundreds of thousands of innocents America's warriors are sent to kill.
Do we have the courage to stand in solidarity with those few of our soldiers who are making this courageous choice?