Monday, January 25, 2010

'Christian' Crusaders and Failures of Intelligence in the US Military By Eileen Fleming

Thirty years ago, Glyn Bindon, the founder of Trijicon, a Michigan Defense contractor, instituted the practice of stamping references to New Testament Bible verses on combat rifle sights manufactured for the U.S. military.

Trijicon has now released a statement that they will quit their three decades of practice and also provide the armed forces modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the 300,000 telescoping sights already in use by the Marines, Army and which are being used to train Afghanistan troops.

Beyond the charges of breaking the American government rule that bars proselytizing by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, this ABC video clip exposes a thriving Crusader mentality in the US Military and a gross failure of intelligence by Christian’s regarding their own faith.

In the video, US Chaplain Hensley, informs the troops, “Special Forces hunt men. We do the same thing as Christians. We hunt people to get them into the kingdom; that’s our business.”

The Chaplain is a heretic, for “How can you kill people, when it is written in God’s commandment: ‘Thou shalt not murder’?” – Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You.

Tolstoy understood that commandment meant that all governments who wage war are directly affronting the Christian principles that should guide all life, and shouldn’t being pro-life really be about honoring the sacredness of every life that already is?

Standard issue to U.S. special operations forces is the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, which is marked “JN8:12” a reference to John 8:12:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with “2COR4:6”

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

An army spokesman admitted on January 21, 2010, that the service was unaware of the coded biblical references until a few days ago, and so, our troops are also in the dark because of failures of intelligence in the Military establishment as well as due to heretical Christianity.

Christ was born, lived and died a nonviolent Palestinian Jew, who taught his follower’s to put down the sword, to forgive, pray and love one’s enemies; and not to shoot, bomb, torture or kill any!

Jesus envisioned a society based on love and tolerance, which is completely incompatible with war and all violence. When Jesus was mocked, whipped and nailed to a cross he remained NONVIOLENT to prove the only way to over throw the status quo of violent retaliation and eye-for-an-eye mentality.

Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was about. The first and greatest heresy in the Christian faith occurred when Augustine penned the “Just War Theory” which united church with state and “our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”-Dorothy Day

Within one hundred years after Emperor Constantine decreed Christianity the religion of the state, soldiers were required to be baptized; but it was not required for them to understand what the faith was all about.

“The Crusade for a Christian Military: Jesus Killed Mohammed” by Jeff Sharlet in HARPER’S May 2009 edition illuminated how the entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the USA military began during the Cold War, accelerated during the Vietnam era and which has wrecked havoc on the very soul of our nation in the 21st century.

Fundamentalist [referred to as evangelical by Sharlet] Chaplains began to join the military in droves as they aligned themselves with the Industrial Military Complex in opposition with Catholics and mainline moderate Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians who were of one voice speaking out against American terrorism in Vietnam and for following in the ways of the nonviolent Jesus.

“Starting in 1987, Protestant denominations were lumped together simply as “Protestant”; moreover, the Pentagon began accrediting hundreds of evangelical and Pentecostal “endorsing agencies,” allowing graduates of fundamentalist Bible colleges—which often train clergy to view those from other faiths as enemies of Christ—to fill up nearly the entire allotment for Protestant chaplains. Today, more than two thirds of the military’s 2,900 active-duty chaplains are affiliated with evangelical or Pentecostal denominations.” [1]

“For decades, the military built a sense of solidarity out of a singular purpose, the Cold War struggle between free markets and state-planned economies—the shining city on a hill versus the evil empire…meshed neatly with ideologies [that connected] nationalism and fundamentalism…Communism…the dark alternative should we fail to unite. Fundamentalism thrived…a neat, black-and-white [theology and] a foreign policy. The end of the Cold War deprived militant evangelicals of that clarity [and] the emergence of “radical Islam” [became] the object of a new Cold War.” [Ibid]

The roots of American evangelism sprang from the original altar call for Christians to stand up against slavery and what has been passing for Christianity today is the antithesis of what Jesus was all about.

“Everyone but Christians understands that Jesus was nonviolent.” -Gandhi

One of the greatest Christian spiritual leaders of all time, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who listened to Bob Dylan LP’s in his hermitage in Kentucky during the ’60’s and was the first religious voice to rise up and speak out against the Vietnam War warned, “The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [meaning all Christians] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced.”

The spiritual darkness of Christian fundamentalism is also rampant in the USA Air Force Academy in Colorado which enabled the likes of Walid Shoebat, author of “Why We Want to Kill You” to speak to the troops in his role as a former fundamentalist Islamic supposed terrorist who converted to fundamentalist Christianity.

Shoebat is one of the infamous darlings of fear filled Christians and Jews [Read More: The Walid Shoebat Show and "America is Beautiful, but she has an ugly side." - Neil Young] of the cult spewed by the likes of John Hagee and the idiot wind blown by FOX’s Hannity & Colmes, Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto who have all hosted Shoebat.

At the US Air Force Academy on Feb. 6, 2008, Shoebat was the headline act at their annual political forum.

Walid Shoebat, has built a lucrative speaking career by manipulating the fears and whipping up hatred between Jews and Muslims. Shoebat insists that Israel should “wake up and smell the Hummus. We must return to the status quo – the occupation…Israel should stand strong and fight – dismantle Hamas and take away all the weapons, the way it used to be. The introduction of weapons into Palestinian society by Israel [under the Oslo accords, Israel gave assault rifles to Arafat’s ‘police force’ –ed.] was a disaster and they must be confiscated.” [2]

Israel originally supported Hamas to be a wedge between Fatah when Arafat became too popular with the Palestinian people.

Shoebat feels very strongly that the ongoing war against Israel has nothing to do with an Arab desire for a Palestinian state, “Never in history was there a Palestinian state, we never wanted a Palestinian state – even today the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state…They want the destruction of the Jews, period. It’s a religious holy war.”[IBID]

During his time at the Air Force Academy, Jeff Sharlet encountered fervent fundamentalist militant American soldiers who were ignorant of their very own faith, for the Christian “manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.” -Dorothy Day

There are currently thirty-five wars being fought in the world and the USA is connected to every one of them.

Over forty-thousand people die every day of starvation and three billion humans endure dire destitution. Unmanned drones under the Obama Administration have murdered hundreds of children and America warehouses over twenty-five thousand nuclear weapons; and yet, many deluded Christians believe the US is a Christian nation!

We the people of the world inhabit a world darkened by bureaucratic systematic institutionalized structures of violence that kill human beings through war, poverty and all the consequences of destruction and despair that flow from corporate greed, violence and fundamentalist religiosity.

Nonviolence is at the core of every religion and Jesus promised it is the peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God. Jesus denounced injustice, turned over the tables of the bankers in the Temple, was arrested, jailed, tortured and brutally executed, but remained nonviolent, compassionate and forgiving to all.

Jesus called us to love our neighbors- meaning everyone on the planet, to be compassionate and seek justice for the disenfranchised, to forgive our enemies and to put down the sword!

His death on the cross was in vain if those who claim to follow him do not have eyes to see and ears to hear that his message was that we are to end the cycle of violence for God created, loves and is within all beings and all of creation.

It is a lack of imagination that accepts a future of endless war.

It is fear of the other that fuels fundamentalism.

The brand of Christianity being espoused in many US pulpits and in the military is a fear-filled ideology that supports empire in this world which has nothing to do with what Jesus stood and died for: nonviolence, love, forgiveness and compassion- not just towards those who think and look like you, but to your ‘enemies’ too!

The militarization of Christianity defies that “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:16, 18

The militarization of Christianity as professed by anti-Christ’s [against the teachings of Christ] from the pulpits of the likes of Pat Robertson and John Hagee and in the fictional “Left Behind” series of profane theology expose the spirit of the anti-Christ: fear of the other that drives one to violence.

The militarization of Christianity thrives on fear of the other but Jesus said: “FEAR NOT! You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

The militarization of Christianity leaves behind all the non-negotiable’s for those who claim to be a Christian; which is you must forgive, bless and love your enemies; not shoot, bomb, torture, starve or occupy them!

The problem is not with Christianity but that too few have done it the way Jesus taught and modeled: to always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness, as Jesus did when nailed to a cross and he prayed: “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

Christians are called to prayerfully use the gift of discernment and to test all things according to the teachings of Jesus. An authentic follower of Jesus- and perhaps any with a conscience- will choose equality, fraternity, community and nonviolent creative resistance to the evil that is violence as well as comprehend that evil as well as good cut through every human heart.

It is willful ignorance, apathy, arrogance and misinformation that are holding back the transformation of hearts and minds to see that war is the ultimate form of terrorism and violence the supreme expression of the spirit of the anti-Christ.
“The first casualties of the military’s fundamentalist front are not the Iraqis and Afghans on the wrong side of an American F-16. They’re the spiritual warriors themselves.” [3]

Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount principles by which to guide lives and he warned that, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and put them into practice, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that hears these sayings, and does not put them into practice, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matt. 7:24-27)

St. Paul warned all followers of Christ to never judge the non-believer, for it is none of your business. But, when it comes to the believer, you must provoke one another onto good works.

The militarization of Christianity and all terrorism committed in the name of God must be challenged in a world desperate for Christians who actually follow what Jesus was all about.

1. Jeff Sharlet, HARPER’S, May 2009 pages 31-43.


3. Sharlet, HARPER’S.

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