Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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Jeff Sharlet talks about Christian Embassy

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

Jeff Sharlet's Daily Kos diary goes into more detail about the Christian Embassy and the people who are part of it. It's an interesting and chilling read. Here's an excerpt:

Christian Embassy is political.
Unlike the conservative Family Research Council, which McCullough describes as an explicitly political lobby with which Christian Embassy sometimes coordinates, Christian Embassy focuses on "networking, individual counseling, that kind of thing." McCullough told me that Christian Embassy is apolitical; on the other hand, he also said its ministry has a political impact: "It’s more to help the individual grow as a person in their relationship with God, and then their politics is going to be an outcome."

Christian Embassy believes religion should guide politics.
Christian Embassy believes that politicians, diplomats, and officers should not consider their personal faith separate from their politics and their official duties. McCullough offers as a role model President Bush: "...in terms of the way [Bush] talks, the way he believes, he doesn’t really say ‘Oh I’m going to do religious things now and do other things later.’"

Christian Embassy sees the top brass as its mission field.
McCullough on Christian Embassy’s Pentagon presence: "At the Pentagon, we have a flag officers groups. Your stars, basically, 1-4 stars. We also have a disciple group at the pentagon. And there’s a general Bible study that meets Wednesday morning where 70-120 come. Most of our groups that we organize and work with are at the officer level. Flags, a good percentage. We have about 40 that come or are involved with that."

Christian Embassy is closely involved with political and military officials.
Those who work with Christian Embassy will typically meet in small groups, under the supervision of a counselor like McCullough, for an hour every week. Counselors typically select a scripture verse for discussion and attempt to draw out its "practical" implications, often through application to current events. Participants can and do call on Christian Embassy counselors for additional advice outside of their cell meetings. These counseling sessions typically take place in the officer’s or politician’s office. The most committed participants may travel overseas on behalf of Christian Embassy or arrange their official government travel to leave time for evangelizing work. This work may sometimes be "covert," such as a evangelizing in countries where it’s against the law.

Christian Embassy takes political positions.
Participants may call on Christian Embassy for advice on specific issues. "'What does the Bible say about this?'" is a common question, according to McCullough. He says Christian Embassy will not give explicit policy advice, but as a counselor, he would tell a member of Congress or a military official that a particular position -- pro-choice politics, or pacifism, for instance -- is "contrary to scripture."

Christian Embassy believes the Iraq War may be biblically sanctioned.
On the question of the war in Iraq, McCullough counsels: "We have war all throughout the Bible. Man’s history is war. So what’s the right thing? Not necessarily [the] war in the Bible. But what are you looking for? Is peace possible?" McCullough answered his own question by laughing.

Christian Embassy is a lobby in all but name.
McCullough says Christian Embassy is not a lobbying organization, but describes his work thusly: "I often will go visit a member of Congress and say, ‘Hey, there’s this going on, could you be involved in that?’ ... Or I will recommend to some of these groups that are issue oriented as to who might be interested in helping them. I am aware of where people are. So we do try to connect the dots. Network people." He agrees that Christian Embassy participants use the Christian Embassy network to political advantage, but considers this a positive outcome since it gives ambitious political, diplomatic, and military figures an incentive to get more involved with Christian Embassy’s evangelical theology.


His latest article is in the December "Harpers" (online in January) about how fundementalists are actively trying to rewrite American history to turn historical figures into religious ones. He is also the author of "Jesus Plus Nothing" (the Fellowship) and "Soliders of Christ"- (Ted Haggard's church). He is a careful and reliable researcher, and has revealed some very chilling trends in the ongoing onslaught by certain Christian sects against the Separation clause and the government itself. The Pentagon is merely the tip of the iceberg.

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