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U.S. Military's Middle East Crusade for Christ

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"They are proselytizing not on behalf of the Constitution of the United States . . . but rather on behalf of some sort of fanatical view of end times. And they are using our army to affect that."-"- -Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson-

 

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Last August the watchdog group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, foiled a Pentagon plan that would have allowed the shipment of "freedom packages"- to soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The parcels were put together by the fundamentalist Christian ministry, Straight Up, and contained Bibles, proselytizing tracts in English and Arabic, and the apocalyptic "Left Behind"- computer game, in which Christian Tribulation forces convert or kill infidels""nonbelievers, Muslims and Jews.

 

On May 1 the Senate approved the promotion of Brigadier General Robert L. Caslen Jr. to Major General. Currently the commandant of cadets at West Point, he will become the commander of the 25th Infantry Division. He is also president of the stridently fundamentalist Officer's Christian Fellowship, whose vision is a "spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit"-

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General Caslen was promoted despise the Defense Department's recommended disciplinary action against him and several other senior military leaders because they had "improperly endorsed and participated with a nonfederal entity while in uniform"- by participating in a promotional video for the Campus Crusade For Christ's Christian

Embassy, an evangelical organization that ministers to Beltway politicians and sponsors weekly Bible studies at the Pentagon.

 

According to the DoD Inspector General's report, one of the generals involved "asserted that Christian Embassy was treated as an instrumentality of the Pentagon Chaplain's office for over 25 years, and had effectively become a "-quasi federal entity.'"- Arguably, he believed his participation in the video was in the line of duty.

 

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Considering both the Pentagon's evangelical proclivity and a 2006 Pew survey which found that of the major religious groups in America, evangelicals have the most negative views of Islam and Muslims, the U.S. sniper who was recently caught using the Quran for target practice in the Baghdad neighborhood of Radhwaniya might be excused for thinking the book was a legitimate target upon which to perfect his craft . . . excused for thinking he was acting in the line duty.

And is it any wonder that with evangelicals and fundamentalists at the very top of the military's officer corps ""to say nothing of their Commander in Chief""that an enlisted Marine was passing out Christian "witnessing coins"- inscribed in Arabic at a checkpoint in Fallujah? One side of the coin asked, "Where will you spend eternity?"- An evangelical favorite, John 3:16, was on the flip side.

Sheik Adul-Rahman al-Zubaie, a tribal leader in Fallujah who was outraged by the Marine's proselytizing said, "This event did not happen by chance, but it was planned and done intentionally."-

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Biography: Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience (www.mwcnews.net). His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI.

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