Fundamentalist Christians in Military are “Fascistic Tsunami” and “Internal National Security Risk”, says Huffington Post Blogger
The Huffington Post video feature, “Bombing for Jesus,” says that “a new report by a national security expert says that fundamentalist Christianity is rampant in the U.S. military, and that military leaders actively promote evangelical beliefs.”
Among the HuffPo panel of experts: Blake Page, a former military cadet who resigned from West Point because of his objections to improper endorsement of Christianity by West Point officials. Another expert – the author of the study – is retired Lt. Col. Jim Parco, a professor of economics at Colorado College. Parco also taught for years at the Air Force Academy, which did have some problems in recent years with the improper influence of officers on religious beliefs and practices of cadets. Parco’s survey, however, came up with some pretty trivial instances of the imposition of beliefs:
- Some national security Powerpoint presentations to the President contained motivational imagery combined with Bible verses.
- A bus driver taking some Air Force cadets to the range had a Christian radio station playing on the bus.
- Former Cadet Blake objected to the presence of a cross on an emblematic shield in use at West Point, among a series of other perceived slights to secular, agnostic, atheists or otherwise non-Christian cadets.
Mikey Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Association and one of the panelists on the discussion – along with a former West Point cadet who quit the Academy because of what he believed was a pattern of undue influence on the religious practices of cadets – posed the issue thus:
“When you mix this version… of dominion Christianity, of this fundamentalist Christianity, with our weapons of mass destruction…and the very nature of the draconian spectre of command influence which grants complete access to these weapons of mass destruction… it’s an internal national security threat.”
Weinstein, in part, objects to a DoD contract held by an organization called “Club Beyond,” which has a contract to recruit and evangelize military schoolchildren. (He expands on this here.)
Amusingly, Weinstein also refers approvingly to the “late, great Howard Zinn,” the communist historian and author of The Peoples’ History of the United States.
And that’s where Weinstein comes off the rails. Right around the 24 minute mark and following, Weinstein states:
We deal with with a fascistic tsunami of fundamentalist Christian exceptionalism and supremacy… It’s our way or the highway… It’s nuclear war. It’s using our weapons of mass destruction as an accelerant, a lubricant to bring a fundamentalist Christian version of a weaponized Jesus back here. They are promised, I kid you not, literally promised a 200 mile river, four and a half feet deep, filled with nothing but the human blood, their version of Jesus’s slaughter at the Battle of Armageddon, and they thirst for that…
Dominion Christianity. We’re fighting the Christian version of the Taliban. Not Christianity…Most of our members and supporters are Protestant and Roman Catholic. We’re dealing with a virulent version of this that wants bring about the end of the earth and use nuclear weapons because that’s what their version of the Bible says must be done.
The characterization is clearly a paranoid, fever-swamp fantasy of the reality of Evangelical and fundamentalist Christian belief patterns, and even if it were accurate, it would have nothing to do with the superficial incidents of inappropriate establishment or endorsement of religion cited by Page and Parco above.
The Actual Track Record of Religious Extremist Violence in the Military
Nidal Hassan (I won’t call him “Major”) killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in a radical Islam inspired mass shooting at Fort Hood in 2009.
Former sergeant Hasan Akbar killed two officers in a grenade and shooting attack at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait in 2003. Upon his arrest, he is reported to have stated, “You guys are coming into our countries, and you’re going to rape our women and kill our children.” Akbar also attempted to kill an MP with a pair of scissors.
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was convicted of attempted murder of federal employees and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. He plotted to conduct a mass casualty-producing attack at a Fort Hood area restaurant popular with troops and base employees.
Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a former U.S. Navy sailor, was convicted of spying for Al Qaeda, disclosing the movements of U.S. Navy ships.
In another e-mail exchange with Azzam Publications, Abu-Jihaad described a recent force protection briefing given aboard his ship, voiced enmity toward America, praised Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen, praised the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole – which Abu-Jihaad described as a “martyrdom operation,” – and advised the members of Azzam Publications that such tactics were working and taking their toll. The e-mail response from Azzam Publications encouraged Abu-Jihaad to “keep up… the psychological warfare.”
Ryan Gibson Anderson, a tanker and former member of the Washington Army National Guard, was convicted of espionage for attempting to pass secret information to Al Qaeda. He converted to Islam in 1999 and took the name Amir Abdul Rashid. FBI agents caught him on tape saying, “I wish to desert from the U.S. Army. I wish to defect from the United States. I wish to join al-Qaeda, train its members and conduct terrorist attacks.”