Onward Christian Soldiers: Hidden Agendas
Lorie Johnson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 01:36:12 PM EST
My diary entry, How  Minority Faiths Are Treated in the US Military has spun off some interesting replies and ideas. In this and future posts, I will attempt to address some of those ideas, and in the process, paint a comprehensive picture of how the military has become a 'mission platform' for both aggressive evangelicals and dominionists.
This is the Oath of Enlistment taken by people who join the US Armed Forces:

"I, [state your name] , do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

[The last sentence is optional, depending on the person's religious preferences.]

Notice that it mentions supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States. The person swearing this oath is prepared to give his or her life in the protection of the country that this document represents.

But there are people within the ranks of the Armed Forces- both officers and enlisted, who have sworn this oath, but who do not believe that it actually affects them. For them, their real alliegance is to "King Jesus", and falsely swearing to protect their country is a thing they must do in order to obey their 'true' leaders- their churches and their interpretation of Scriptures.

A Marine friend of mine supplied me with the official list of religious faiths from which a member can choose to have stamped on their dog tags. I counted 135 Christian sects. The list also included Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Wiccan, and "No Religious Preference", "None" and "Other".  It did not have Scientologists, but it did have Salvation Army, as well as over a dozen variations of Baptist, quite a few Churches of Christ, Assemblies of God, and other Pentecostal sects,  and some other sects that got my attention like Jehova's Witnesses, whom I thought eschewed military service, "Militant Fundemental Bible Churches",  and the catch all "Christian, No Denominational Preference". There were also some individual churches from states listed. (If there is interest, I can provide the complete list as a separate diary.)

The majority of faiths listed were Protestant Christian. And the majority of these sects are moderate mainliners, unless their congregations have been hijacked (as the SBC was) by fundementalist elements and repurposed along Dominionist lines. The research for this is outside the scope of this article, but if anyone wants to pounce on it, feel free to do so.

I got quite a few responses from this part of my original diary:

...I politely questioned my book-burning roomie's boyfriend about his priorities. Why was he in the military if he was so religious? The answer was surprising, and in retrospect, insightful: He'd joined because the military was a 'mission platform' enabling him to spread his interpretation of the Gospel to people all over the world. He'd hoped to go to Turkey or some other 'non-believing country' so he could save some souls. He didn't care about the Cold War, or defending the US. He only cared about religion, and even told me that his loyalty was to Christ, not to his superiors.

This revelation alarmed some readers, and I can understand why. But his remark, made back in the early eighties, has come to fruition in many ways. Many believers join the military to use it as a mission platform to spread the Gospel. Most of the time, this is a fairly benign thing- they are obeying Paul's Great Commission, which is to bring the Gospel to all believers. But when you look at the bigger picture- that desire of the Dominionists to 'turn the world to Christ' in order to hasten his return, this 'mission' takes on a more sinister cast. These people are not merely bringing the Gospel to the tiny minority of people left in the world who might not have heard it, they are attempting to forcibly convert people, often using deceptive and manipulative means to do so.

Back in the nineties, an effort was launched by several evangelical groups, led by Global Harvest Ministries (closely affiliated with the Colorado Springs-based New Life Church profiled by Jeff Sharlet in Harper's) to bring people to Christ who lived in certain areas of the world, the so-called "10/40 window". This was an area of the world whose predominant faiths were non-Christian, and the goal of this push was to convert as many of these people to Christianity as possible before Christ came back in 2000.

Since that didn't happen, they are changing their focus, to an area they're calling the 40/70 window. This 'window' of people to convert includes Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and most of Asia. Many of the people in these areas are either the 'wrong' sort of Christian (Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox),  non religious, or of another faith entirely.

It is also an area where many US military people are assigned. Sites like Operation Reveille are specifically targeting military members to serve as their means to contact and convert people in these countries.

These missions to convert tie in closely with the gradual infiltration and domination of the military by hardline Christian sects (chronicled by Katherine Yurica in her Infiltrating the US Military essay). A growing number of military chaplains now come from the more overtly dominionist Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal sects, and the numbers of moderate mainline and Catholic pastors and priests have dropped alarmingly. These newer pastors are not as willing to cleave to the overall mission of pastoral service to all troops, and often step over the line with sectarian prayers, coerced  baptisms, and other  tools and tactics. They see the troops as a mission field of its own, full of vulnerable young people who are away from their homes, friends, and families, and who are ripe for the picking.

That people like General Boykin and the staff at the USAF Academy were emboldened enough to shed the usual cloak of stealthy deception and hoist the triumphalistic Jolly Roger speaks volumes to how far this penetration of religious supremacists has gone in our armed forces.

I remember being a proud member of what we called the Night Watch- those intrepid folks who saw 3AM more than we wished to. We even had a poster which read, "Sleep Well Tonight- Your Air Force is On Guard".

I am not sure that is true any more- with the way things are going, I am not sure if I am going to wake up in the same country I fell asleep in.

Thank you for posting this; it helps to clear the picture a little more for me personally and needs to be discussed.  

Back in October, I wondered why the Home School Legal Defense Association was lobbying for, first, a bill that would open up homeschooled students to military recruiters (HR 3753 and S1619), and second, the insertion into the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006 (HR 1815 and S 1042) section 522, authorizing the identification of homeschooled students for the purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces.  HSLDA is apparently solely responsible for writing and lobbying this proposal even though they have not told their members of their actions.  Searching their web site produces nothing about Section 522.  

For readers unfamiliar with HSLDA, they are a Statement of Faith advocacy organization for predominantly Christian homeschoolers, actively lobbying many conservative causes.   http://www.HSLDA.org

According to HSLDA, homeschoolers are clamoring to get into the military and being discriminated against because of their homeschool status.  I find that hard to believe, especially in light of a 5-year study HSLDA conducted that determined homeschooled children have a higher separation rate from the military than those who've graduated from brick and mortar schools.  

So I went off researching and putting puzzle pieces together.  The whole time I kept telling myself, "this is crazy, and it has to be wrong."  But, having eliminated every other possibility, I finally drew the conclusion that HSLDA was indeed recruiting for a "spiritual army".   What I put together is posted at http://hr3753.blogspot.com/2005/10/hr-3753-s-1691-homeschool_21.html

I have yet to find someone in the homeschooling community who wants a law requiring, "An identification of a graduate of home schooling for purposes of recruitment and enlistment in the Armed Forces..." for their child.  I cannot see any way to identify homeschooled `graduates' without some sort of federal DOD registration process.  

Homeschooling is a small community, and compared to well-funded lobbyists, getting section 522 removed from S. 1815 has been an uphill battle.   We know people are reading because a google search of "HR 3753" puts our blog first. (http://hr3753.blogspot.com)  We know homeschoolers don't want this because they've been great about calling their elected representatives and signing a petition calling for the removal of section 522:  http://www.petitiononline.com/hr1815/petition.html

I cannot express how personally troubling I find this proposal.  This isn't about protecting a families right to choose how their children are educated; it's about recruiting our children for a Holy War.  

by Brainbelle on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 03:22:04 PM EST

Here's what Katherine Yurica wrote about this:

There is evidence the U.S. military, like the Southern Baptist Convention before it, has been targeted as an institution to be taken over and replaced with dominionists who are decidedly less educated and less honorable. These are men and women who may be willing to do anything to further the cause of world domination.

There is also evidence dominionists have infiltrated the military with willing personnel and that the military has similarly infiltrated the churches.

The next chapter of this story begins with Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the Pentagon's senior military intelligence official. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a bachelor's degree in education in 1971. That same year, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army where he rose through the ranks to Commanding General of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) Fort Bragg, N.C. and then in June 2003 to the present to Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence at the Pentagon.[19]

There is no question that Lt. Gen. Boykin is a brave soldier and he is undoubtedly a personable man. But in searching through data available on the web, it appears that while the general has spent thirty three years in the military, he has had very little formal military education with the exception of a year at the Army War College in 1990-1991.[20]

Boykin became the focus of media reports when he spoke about his involvement in the war on terrorism at twenty-three Baptist and Pentecostal churches across the country, accompanied by two military aides. According to a 10-month internal investigation conducted by the defense department's deputy inspector general for investigations and reported by the Washington Post, Boykin received reimbursement for his travel costs from one of the sponsoring church groups and failed to report that fact. He wore his uniform and gave the impression that he was representing the military. [21]

The investigation confirmed that Boykin said that the U.S. military is recruiting a spiritual army that will draw strength from a greater power to defeat its enemy.[22] In fact, he told the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla. on June 30, 2002, "What I'm here to do today is to recruit you to be warriors of God's kingdom."[23]

Wait a minute! He was speaking to Christians--so he was not seeking to evangelize them to become Christians. What then was he recruiting for? If Boykin is a dominionist, then those words have a concrete meaning: He was recruiting soldiers to fight a war to set up God's Kingdom on earth![24]

The military- from its ROTC and its officer academies on down, is a very juicy target for these people. They're operating on many fronts- 'training up' their kids in home schools, and sending them into either the military or into politics as interns, hoping that this new generation will complete the coup that they've started.

by Lorie Johnson on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 04:17:40 PM EST

Yes, I should have added that I am indebted to Katherine Yurika for the breadcrumbs she so generously shared with me.  Without her assistance, I'm not sure I'd have known where to look.  

HSLDA's Patrick Henry College, has an ROTC program (http://phc.edu/news/docs/031218Media.asp) along with their interns in the White House, Congress, the CIA and FBI.  

PHC's Intelligence and Foreign Policy government program offers a working relationship with intelligence agencies and rewards graduates with a security clearance.  
(http://www.phc.edu/news/docs/200401160.pdf  page 7.)

by Brainbelle on Mon Dec 12, 2005 at 05:08:56 PM EST

...according to Merriam Webster, is defined as "a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working from within."

Seems to me that definition fits to a proverbial "T."  What we have here is a widespread effort to subvert the military from its core purpose and mission, to an entirely unrelated purpose and mission.  And, according to your previous column, many of the people who are involved, are also lacking in the fundamentals of military discipline and commitment to duty.  

This is truly dangerous.  It undermines readiness and thereby undermines national security.  It creates divided loyalties.  It sets up the potential for subversion to turn into sedition: violent acts against lawful authority.  Consider what could occur if a sufficient number of higher officers as well as enlisted were engaged in this divided loyalty, and a President and Congress decided to press the issue and clean up the services.  Perhaps it's a bit too paranoid at this stage to talk of the risk of a violent uprising or coup attempt, but there is much that a seditious element could do to contravene lawful authority without going into open revolt.  And that plays right into the hands of hostile foreign nations like nothing else.  

Question is, does anyone here know anyone involved in military law?  Can we get some legal comment on this point?  Is there anything in the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) about subversion?  What's the law, how has it been applied thus far (case law), and how could it be applied in this instance?  

Second question, does it make more sense to attempt to fix this problem from the top, i.e. by electing a President with unquestionable military credentials who can act via his authority as C-in-C?  Or does it make more sense to go at it from the bottom up, by starting "counter-tracting" and "counter-proselytising" as I mentioned in a comment on your previous column?   (The latter was: circulate printed materials among officers & enlisted, emphasizing the principles of loyalty to the Constitution, the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state, the necessity of fidelity to the lawful chain of command, and the requirement that the oath of service be sworn or affirmed without conflict; all of this stated in language that any oldschool Eisenhower conservative would support.)  

Or does it make more sense to do both at the same time, combined with a ferocious media campaign to bring the issue to public awareness?  How about a 60 Minutes piece including interviews with current and former dominionists in uniform?  

Where do we start, and where do we go from there?  

by gg on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 05:14:39 AM EST

Figuring how to do that would be a bit of a trick. But, publicity always helps.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 08:02:53 AM EST
I don't think it's ever bad to think in grand terms, but there's another level on which one can approach this....

The perspective which is the distilled essense of this site is validated by so few and in so few areas - the simplest approach would be simply to work to publicize stories on this site such as Lorie's which present the problem.

The voices on this site need a wider audience. It's that simple.

If this site had a wider audience, then it could project it's perspective to more people. Simple. 60 Minutes shows would come in time, but there's not yet wide enough public recognition of the problem.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 14, 2005 at 11:19:30 PM EST

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