Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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Evangelical Chaplains Test Bounds of Faith in Military

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]sunfell)

Here's an NPR segment about the slow and not so stealthy enroachment of specific religions in the military.

Walk into just about any Christian bookstore and you are likely to find a copy of The Soldier's Bible. The leather cover comes in a choice of green for the Army, black for the Navy, burgundy for the Marines, blue for the Air Force and -- just released -- blue for the Coast Guard.

These are handsome Bibles with gilt edges, just the right size for a service member to stuff into his or her pack. Printed on the front is the emblem for the appropriate branch of the armed services. And that's a problem.

One could be excused for thinking that this Bible was put out by the military. But it's not. Holman Bible Publishers of Nashville developed, printed and distributes The Soldier's Bible at its own expense.

Still, critics think the emblem on the front brings up legal questions -- and may even violate the Constitution's ban on government-established religion.

What's especially troubling to some is that this particular Bible is clearly evangelical. Holman Bible Publishers is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. On the first few pages, there's a "Plan for Salvation" that says you must be baptized as an adult believer to have eternal life.

Printed in the back are inspirational words from military leaders such as Lt. Gen. William Boykin. He raised a few eyebrows back in 2003, when he said of his battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Evangelicals are playing an increasing role in the military. Department of Defense statistics show that 40 percent of active duty personnel are evangelical Christians. Sixty percent of taxpayer-funded military chaplains are evangelical.

"It does raise the question of whether we are, effectively, as a country -- with tax dollars -- promoting a particular evangelical religious viewpoint," said Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Add to that a privately funded evangelical Bible that looks official, and critics say the military has a problem that needs to be addressed.


I'd say they have a problem. A graph on the site demonstrates that the ratio of evangelical chaplains to other mainline and non-Christian religions is quite high: 60 percent of the chaplain corps is Evangelical- mostly Assembly of God. This is no accident. There has been a deliberate and ongoing push to populate the Chaplain corps of the military with AoG and Pentecostal chaplains, who are also the frontline of many Dominionist beliefs.

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