Belligerent Faith, A Danger to Democracy

When one’s “faith” is expressed belligerently or aggressively, that “faith” has willfully closed itself off from receiving the in-flow of any higher spiritual potential.  Once “faith” is expressed in aggressive proselytizing it has degenerated into an attempt to take from other people’s spiritual essence rather than remain open to receive from universal essence.  The reason for this philosophical observation is prompted from having read once again of the shameful proselytizing that continues to infest the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. 

A ministry founded by Don and Anna Warrick calling itself Cadets for Christ has long been given pretty much free rein to indulge themselves in unwanted proselytizing all over the campus.  How could this unconstitutional imposition of one religion over the widely diverse backgrounds of cadets be allowed?  The answer is not pretty, and it discloses how tenacious and deceiving the fundamentalist Christian organizations can be, for behind the allowance are some close ties to senior Pentagon officials!  There is no question that this allowance of Christian proselytizing amounts to subversion of the democratic principles set down by the founding fathers—the very principles upon which this democratic form of government rose to world power. 

A recent  United States Air Force Academy Climate Survey has brought to light some taboo data.  (It should be noted that the Survey was undertaken only after insistent pressure from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.)  The statistics on the inappropriate proselytization conduct that has been allowed to continue at the Academy revealed that at least 20,000 servicemen and women, as well as Department of Defense civilians have experienced religious harassment.  And of the non-Christian Air Force Academy Cadets, forty-one percent of them related that they had been subjected to fundamentalist proselytization spiels, and even outright threats.  How the fundamentalists equate this  mental/physical harassment as spiritual guidance is, apparently, a divine mystery.

But this type of religious abuse goes much further than the Air Force Academy: the abuse and infractions by fundamentalist Christians has been uncovered at nearly every military installation across the world.  The fact is that such reprehensible religious posturing extends even into the Pentagon, which places democratic principles and national security in unreliable hands, thus posing a danger to everyone’s freedom.

Think that this is an extreme deduction?  As an example, The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches has for years been making it possible for a stream of military chaplains to thumb their noses at the military code of behavior and have refused to cease and desist from proselytizing when in uniform.  In doing this, they do not even follow the advice given in Romans 13:2, “…he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God…”  And in verse 10 it adds, “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor…”  But then fundamentalists are experts at ignoring things that interfere with their material ambitions. 

How did the beautiful democratic acceptance of each person’s religion get levered around the longstanding regulation that apportioned chaplains in accordance with religious demographics that determined the faith of the majority of service personnel?  Properly, the percentage of one particular belief background would be matched closely with the same percentage of that faith’s chaplains.  Even so, all chaplains were then  obliged to receive training to minister to the troops of any faith.  All that changed after the Reagan administration breezed in.  The Pentagon, like the nation, was becoming infected with dubious divine sales pitches, resulting in accrediting a disproportional amount of evangelical and Pentecostal so-called “endorsing agencies” that then swamped the chaplain posts.  Those  who were “endorsed” were graduated from fundamentalist Bible colleges that taught that any other faiths were enemies of Christ.  Thus today this “conservative” and/or Pentecostal atmosphere has come to predominate as the spiritual guidance offered throughout all military branches!

As an example of how this imposition of evangelical/Pentecostal Christian “faith” upon what amounts to a captive group can be more of a disservice than a blessing, consider how service persons suffering post traumatic stress disorder from combat have been too often “treated.”  Far too many who have been casualties in body and  spirit have received “treatment” by religious quacks rather than by psychological diagnosis and professional treatment.  Chaplains generously offered comfort through evangelism, in effect implying that only in accepting Jesus as savior would they experience healing.  Prescribing heavy doses of scripture can twist even a healthy mind, so in effect the evangelical prescription was more like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Those men and women who place themselves in harm’s way for the nation that is supposedly dedicated to freedom and liberty deserve to be granted freedom from such shameful proselytizing in military closed ranks and freedom from chaplain “treatments” that alleviate nothing. 

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