Christian Embassy Video Meets Religious War Video Game
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 09:45:37 AM EST
[ click on button for CNN report on the video ] "My first priority is my faith in God, then my family, then my country..." : Pentagon allows "Christian Embassy" group to film infommercial on it's organizing activities within the Pentagon : The Campus Crusade For Christ attempts to remove copies of the scandalous video from the internet. Here's a still surviving copy. Meanwhile, amidst a growing scandal the "Left Behind Games" company is trying to sell as many copies as possible - before Christmas - of its religious warfare video game marketed to teens and young adults.

UPDATE : Jews On First has been covering this scandal in depth and the original Christian Embassy video can be seen at that website here

The Christian Embassy video scandal was previously covered at Talk To Action in a December 14th posting entitled Theocons at the Pentagon; Exclusive Video!:
There is a controversy brewing over a video that shows senior military officers in uniform promoting their religion inside the Pentagon. In the last few years, starting with the appointment of General Weida as Commandant of Cadets and in cooperation with James Dobson and Ted Haggard (until his outing last month) who leveraged the proximity of their headquarters to the US Air Force Academy, the theocons have  transformed life at this key institution by fostering a climate of religious intolerance. Here and here.

Now we have evidence that some of the tactics they developed at the Air Force Academy are being applied to the Pentagon itself.

....The scenes included show officers in uniform and high ranking civilians inside the Pentagon promoting their religion. Most of the cut scenes had testimonials from civilians including; ex-Congressmen Tom Delay, Greshm Barrett, J.D. Hayworth and John Carter (all Republicans), presidential appointees in Washington and, incongruously, foreign ambassadors or their relatives.  

The original is 12 minutes long and was available at the Christian Embassy website here it was taken down when the controversy erupted only to be inserted again with a disclaimer and finally taken down permanently : "Out of respect for those we serve, we have removed the promotional video from our website until further notice."

You see, there is a bit of a problem here; you are not supposed to proselytize in uniform while you perform your normal duties....

Jews On First has a writeup of this gathering scandal and threat to church/state separation:
Six uniformed senior offices, Army and Air Force generals and colonels, offer testimonials in a promotional video (see box at left) for the Christian Embassy, a Washington based Christian Right group that evangelizes official Washington. According to the Christian Embassy, the Pentagon permitted the video to be shot on its premises. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) brought the video to public attention and the Washington Post broke the story. "This video contains some of the most blatant and egregious violations of both the Constitution and military regulations I have ever seen," said Mikey Weinstein, MRFFs president and founder. "It is truly astonishing that senior military officials have the impudence to appear in their official capacity discussing their desire to proselytize Christianity to fellow military personnel during the duty day and in the offices of the Pentagon itself."

Also, here's an Mp3 of Jane Hunter of Jews On First interviewing Rabbi Bruce Kahn, who served as an active and reserve Navy chaplain for 32 years.

Two parallel, growing scandals illustrate different dimensions of growing militarism within the Christian right. One of those two is a scandal over an evangelical recruiting video recently filmed within the Pentagon illustrates one aspect of the growing penetration of the US military by right wing Christian associations. Another is the twin scandal of religious warfare video game being marketed to teenagers, whose maker has made statements implying that such a product will desensitize teens who play it to killing and which has been endorsed by leading conservative religious organizations even though recent research has shown violent video games can lead to changes in brain function in kids. ( see here for 37+ stories on the game )

These are intertwined phenomenon, really, that are pervasive and deserve far more scrutiny than they have received, because they threaten to undermine the fabric of American democracy.

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A couple years ago, Bobby Welch, then president of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote a book for Christian "Holy Warriors" entitled, You, The Warrior Leader.  The cover displayed a soldier in camouflage and highlighted medals that could be won for valor in battle.

Baptist Press admitted that Welch and Broadman-Holman Press (the SBC's Press) were trying to "capitalize" on the country's spiritual interest in time of war. The cover of Welch's book is the most nauseating bookcover that I have ever seen in a Christian book store.

The New Testament uses the metaphors of warfare to refer to spiritual conflict, not to wars between nation-states.  At the current moment in history, it is hard to imagine an image more contradictory to the Spirit of Christ and more incendiary to the Muslim world than the cover of Welch's book.

The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, like many of the neo-conservative architects of the war with Iraq, seem determined to propel the world into a cataclysmic "Clash of Civilizations."  

All people of faith and good will need to be working to reduce tensions between different cultures, to foster meaningful dialogue between religions, and to build bridges of understanding and mutual respect between peoples of different civilizations.  Those are the spiritual battles that must be won if the world is to live in peace. - Talk To Action contributor Dr. Bruce Prescott.

New ministries have focused on specific areas of the military such as special forces ( the target of FORCE Ministries and the issue of religious coercion at the US Air Force Academy has never really gone away although media attention has passed on.

Another lens on the pervasive nature of this, as reported by the Agency French Presse, mass baptisms before the first US assault on Fallujah:

Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late on Friday in a yellow-brick chapel. They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah. "You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.... The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with holy oil to protect them. "God's people would be anointed with oil," the chaplain said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads. The crowd then followed him outside their small auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just found Christ.... The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant, navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their heads beneath the surface.

Various ministries on the Christian right inculcate children into the ideology of religious warfare : "Jesus Camp" was far from the only manifestation of that ( see: The Road To "Jesus Camp" ? - "Kids In Combat", Young Christian Soldiers ) and legions of "Royal Rangers", a Pentacostalist analog to The Boy Scouts, pledge allegiance not to the United States but to "God, Church, and Family"

Meanwhile, within the larger American culture, conservative religious figures make bloodthirsty exhortations for the nuclear destruction of entire cities and an apocalyptic end-times lobby labors to bring on an Armageddon it is predicted will rain down nuclear destruction of the East and West coasts of the United States.

We ignore these phenomenon at our peril.

For related Talk To Action stories, see:

Religious Bias and the Air Force, On Spiritual Rape and the Air Force, On Spiritual Rape And The Air Force, Evangelicals and The USAF Academy, ONward Christian Soldiers: Hidden Agendas, Francis Schaeffer's Manifesto, Bill Bright and the Rise of the Religious Right, Christ's Righteously Equipped Warriors

Talk To Action has a number of site topic areas with more related material including Religous Militarism, Religious Supremacy, , Church State Separation, and "Faith Based Initiative"

Mainstream American society can no longer safely ignore these efforts to bring the US military under the religious sectarian control.

Indeed, it never could do. But, the stakes are rapidly rising.

Their participation and promotion of this group is in direct violation of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. One officer said that God, his family, and then the US were his priorities.

I ran into this "God First, orders second" attitude when I served in the USAF. There were people in charge of the communications facilities who felt that they should do what God and the Bible told them, not what their commanders said. And if God told them to do something to launch a nuclear holocaust, they would do it. Yes, they actually told me that.

Sleep well tonight: your military wants to bring about the Rapture. - Talk To Action contributor Lorrie Johnson

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 10:50:27 AM EST
but relevant here. In recent years our hospital (a federal agency) has experienced some serious problems with chaplains coming out of the military. They've been sectarian, authoritarian and, in one case, virulently fundamentalist. This is a difference, not only from chaplains we've gotten from the military in the past but also from chaplains who come to us from the private sector currently - all of whom tend to be ecumenical and inclusive (as appropriate to the setting).

The emergence of news about the religious right invasion of the military helps to put things in perspective. We were beginning to think we were the prime repository for the bad apples retiring from the service.


by Psyche on Wed Dec 20, 2006 at 12:04:52 PM EST

The Christian Embassy video and the Left Behind video game are two facets of the same world view.

These theocon dominionists are relentless, seem to have a long term plan, they are also ruthless.

The Air Force Academy is a microcosm of what we can expect when they are left unchecked.

Great diary!

by Shockwave on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:50:19 AM EST

Sometimes this beat feels fruitless, and so a simple compliment can be worse a lot.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 01:18:34 PM EST

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