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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Onward, (Crazy-Assed Right Wing) Christian Soldiers...

It's a little disturbing to look at Christian Embassy's homepage. A group dedicated to spreading the word of God throughout government, CE obviously believes in a top-down approach to evangelism -- get the boss and the staff will follow. It's an abusive approach, using the power of the employer over the employee, sure. But this is all about Jesus and, when the stakes are that high, nothing is out of bounds. Besides, government is temporary -- Heaven is eternal. God's laws take precedence over those of nations.

That's why we see links on that page titled, I Work on Capitol Hill, I am a Member of the Diplomatic Community, I am a Presidential Appointee, and I Work at the Pentagon. Christian Embassy clearly has no time for peons.

So it's no surprise that military officers have been abusing their position to convert the heathens below them.

Washington Post:

The Defense Department's inspector general has found that four generals and three other military officers improperly participated in a fundraising video for an evangelical Christian group, inappropriately offering support for the religious organization while appearing to operate within the scope of their official government duties, according to a 47-page investigative report.

Investigators concluded that the officers should not have participated in the filming in 2005 of a 10-minute video for Christian Embassy, a nonprofit religious group, which ultimately used the video as a fundraising tool. While Christian Embassy has hosted prayer meetings at the Pentagon for years, the inspector general concluded that the officers' endorsement of its activities -- while in uniform, showing their rank and in the halls of the Pentagon -- violated ethical rules.

"The overall circumstances of the interviews emphasized the speakers' military status and affiliation and implied they were acting within the scope of their official positions as DoD spokespersons," the report concluded.

In other words, the video made it look like the Pentagon and the Defense Dept. endorse CE. The report is here [PDF].

This is more than just some club that's been misrepresented by military generals. This is those in power using the power of government in non-governmental ways. It's a violation of the Constitution and, to be a generous as I possibly can, a complete misunderstanding of what it really means to be an american.

Wall of Separation:

Perhaps the most disturbing feature of the report is the justification employed by some of the officers: They argued that Christian Embassy had become so fully ingrained in the Pentagon that they regarded it as a "quasi-federal entity."

In fact, Christian Embassy is a wholly private group. It was founded 30 years ago by the late Bill Bright, who also founded Campus Crusade for Christ. Bright, a Religious Right activist, believed that fundamentalists of his stripe must exercise influence and control over all areas of life, including government agencies.

The report shows us that military involvement in CE is hurting our legitimacy abroad. Wall of Separation tells us, "During the investigation, Major Gen. Sutton admitted that while he was stationed in Turkey, his Turkish driver presented him with a copy of a newspaper called Sabah that called Sutton a member of a radical fundamentalist Christian sect. The online version of the paper included clips from the Christian Embassy video."

And Sabah's absolutely correct. Christian Embassy is a radical fundamentalist Christian sect. In 2003, founder Bill Bright signed the 'Land Letter' -- a letter to President Bush telling him that invading Iraq would be justified under the theory of a 'just war.' Other signatories were Nixon figure Charles Colson, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and D. James Kennedy of 'Sweet Jesus do I ever hate gays' fame. Like the signatories to the PNAC letter to Bill Clinton, the signatories to the Land Letter are a fine collection of right wing nuts.

The letter cites President Bush himself almost exclusively as a source -- which you'd think would be a little weird in a letter to President Bush. Wouldn't he already know all of this?

Of course, not a single reason why invading Iraq would be a good idea holds up now (all you bloggers and forum warriors out there heed this example -- single sourcing will bite you in the ass down the road). Then again, when almost everything you believe is summed up in the Bible, I suppose single sourcing becomes second nature.

How right wing and dangerous are these guys? In writing about the Christian Embassy's and other right wing evangelical groups' influence in the military, Chris Hedges, former New York Times Mideast Bureau Chief and author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America, writes:

If the United States falls into a period of instability caused by another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or a series of environmental disasters, these paramilitary forces, protected and assisted by fellow ideologues in the police and military, could swiftly abolish what is left of our eroding democracy. War, with the huge profits it hands to businesses and right-wing interests that often help bankroll the Christian right, could become a permanent condition. And the thugs with automatic weapons, black uniforms and wraparound sunglasses who appeared on street corners in Baghdad and New Orleans could appear on streets across the U.S. Such a presence could paralyze us with fear, leaving us unable to question or protest the closed system and secrecy of an emergent totalitarian state and unable to voice dissent.

Alarmist? Maybe. But when you've got a bunch of nuts who think that God's law takes precedence over US law trying to take over government, who's law do you think they want to enforce? If a godly, christian government is what they think the Bible requires -- and they do, hello death penalty for gluttony -- do you think they give a damn about the Constitution or your right to religious freedom?

As I said, the best thing you could say about these people is that they have a profound misunderstanding of what it means to be american. At worst -- which seems to be the case -- they don't give a good goddam. They love the America they envision in their christian fantasies -- no gays, no muslims, no jews, no atheists, no agnostics, no pagans, no buddhists, no hindus, no adultery, no pornography, no abortion, no divorce, no staying home from church on sunday, no religious freedom or freedom of speech whatsoever.

Think Iran, only with everyone talking about Jesus instead of Allah. Their America is pretty much the same place.


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