Campus Crusade For Christ Seeks US Military "Government Paid Missionaries"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 12:43:12 PM EST
New MRFF Report: "Government Paid Missionaries"

As a newly released Military Religious Freedom Foundation report describes, an extensive and well funded effort has targeted the US military for religious (read: ideological) conversion. Meet the leader of one of the organizations in the forefront of that effort:

Above: In YouTube videos above, posted by Military Ministry, ministry director retired Major General Bob Dees outlines Military Ministry's strategic objectives #1 and #6 and describes his ministry's presence on major US military basic training facilities. According to DoD regulations, the presence of Campus Crusade for Christ ministry's and employees on US military bases requires at least the initial approval of base commanders.

Black Helicopters vs ICBMs

Lately, principally through the pioneering efforts of journalist Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater International and Blackwater USA have received much needed American and world public scrutiny, and that is appropriate. Blackwater represents a menace to American constitutional democracy. Private armies and democracy do not mix.

But, it's crucial to recognize that Blackwater is, for all of its menace, a minor threat compared to ongoing efforts to recruit the leadership, and the rank and file, of the US military to a politicized form of fundamentalist Christianity. That effort has been underway for several decades now but it has dramatically sped up during the two presidential terms of George W. Bush.

This post concerns an organization that is in the forefront of those efforts as well as the beliefs of that organization's founder.

Matched up against Blackwater's black helicopters is a United States military, supported by government spending that roughly matches the combined military expenditure of the entire rest of the planet, which possesses nuclear and conventional missiles that can lay waste to the planet several times over.  

It is well known that capturing the loyalty of a nation's military is key to any successful regime change or attempted coup. In its own words, Campus Crusade For Christ's Military Ministry seeks to indoctrinate the US military and so transform America as a nation.

Helicopters armed with mini-guns shrink to insignificance, in terms of their destructive potential, as compared to ICBM's, cruise missiles, fighter jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons, carrier battle groups, B-1 and B-2 bombers, and submarines bearing MIRVed Trident SLBMs.

The Fringe Beliefs Of 1959 Have Been Mainstreamed

The Year was 1959...

In 1959, General Walker was sent to Germany to command the 24th Infantry Division. In 1961, however, he became involved in controversy. Walker was accused of distributing right-wing literature from the John Birch Society to the soldiers of his division. He was also quoted by a newspaper, the Overseas Weekly, as saying that Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dean Acheson were "definitely pink", a slang term for communist sympathies. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara relieved Walker of his command... [ wikipedia ]

Now, it's 2007...

Fundamentalist, pro-war Christian groups such as the military ministries of Campus Crusade For Christ, whose founder Bill Bright espoused views little different from those promoted by the John Birch Society, held Evolution was an "anti-God" fraud and thought public education has been subverted by communist, "anti-God" ideology, have been welcomed onto US basic training facilities where now they seek, in their own words, to recruit and indoctrinate US military members as "government paid missionaries [for Christ]".

Recruiting US Military Members As "Government Paid Missionaries" [for Christ]

Campus Crusade For Christ is the biggest American Christian right organization you've barely heard about. With yearly revenue, in FYI 2006, of over 497 million dollars, Campus Crusade is one of the biggest philanthropies in the United States. It's much bigger, in fact, than Focus On The Family.

Campus Crusade maintains a welter of interlocking ministries  that target the US military for evangelism ("Christian Embassy", that evangelizes in the Pentagon, is one) and although the budgets are those ministries comprise only a relatively small fraction of the overall yearly organizational budget of the immense, global evangelical effort of Campus Crusade, in the past several years its Military Ministries have dramatically stepped up their efforts to integrate themselves into the US military and their budgets have swollen.

Maj. Gen. Bob Dees, U.S. Army (ret.) is the Executive Director of Campus Crusade's Military Ministry. Tapped in 2005 to lead the ministry, Dees has moved aggressively to embed Military Ministry on US basic training facilities and so exploit their potential for indoctrination. He wrote, in Military Ministry's October 2005 "Life and Leadership" newsletter:

"We must pursue our particular means for transforming the nation -- through the military. And the military may well be the most influential way to affect that spiritual superstructure. Militaries exercise, generally speaking, the most intensive and purposeful indoctrination program of citizens...."

In short, US Basic training facilities of the United States military are being co-opted, by fundamentalist organizations, such as Campus Crusade For Christ, to indoctrinate military personnel and basic training recruits in a form of Christianity that is almost certainly heavily politicized, if quietly so.

The beliefs of Campus Crusade For Christ's founder William Rohl Bright extended to the claim that the Theory Of Evolution was a fraud and an "anti-God" religion invented specifically to undermine Christian beliefs, and also to the claim that American public education has become subverted by communist, atheist and humanist ideologies that were "anti-God" and had destroyed public education, "destroyed much of the moral and spiritual moorings of America", and rewritten American history to deny America's alleged Godly heritage. Bright saw two poles in a grand cosmological struggle, with fundamentalist Christianity on the side of good and, ranged against it on the side of evil, every other religion and belief system on Earth.

The new Military Religious Freedom Foundation report (authored by Chris Rodda) details some of the salient aspects of Campus Crusades' Military Ministries and the report notes that Military Ministry's own website states, concerning its ministries that evangelize on the basic training facilities of Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base:

"Responsibilities include working with Chaplains and Military personnel to bring lost soldiers closer to Christ, build them in their faith and send them out into the world as government paid missionaries."

That statement, from Military Ministry, implies that Campus Crusade's ministries, and their evangelical mission as well, are becoming integrated into US military bases.

The MRFF report also shines a light on the predatory nature of Military Ministry's recruiting tactics:

"Young recruits are under great pressure as they enter the military at their initial training gateways. The demands of drill instructors push recruits and new cadets to the edge. This is why they are most open to the 'good news'. We target specific locations, like Lackland AFB and Fort Jackson, where large numbers of military members transition early in their career. These sites are excellent locations to pursue our strategic goals." [printed on Military Ministry's website in 2002]

Recruiting In The Pentagon, For a Right-Wing Jesus

One branch of Campus Crusade For Christ's military ministries which targets Pentagon members, Washington politicians, and foreign diplomats for its evangelizing efforts recently came under considerable scrutiny because of a promotional video [click here to watch the "Christian Embassy" video] the organization filmed within the Pentagon.

In the now notorious Christian Embassy video, made for promotional and fund raising purposes, top Pentagon officials testified to their enthusiasm about Christian Embassy's mission. A letter to the Pentagon, from a Washington legal firm representing the Military Religious Freedom Foundation helped trigger an investigation of the video incident, by the Pentagon's Inspector General and the report concluded that Department Of Defense regulations were in fact violated in the making if the video and participation by active duty military, uniformed Pentagon officials appearing in the video.

In Inside Christian Embassy, Jeff Sharlet wrote up his impressions of Christian Embassy based on an interview with the organization's director, Sharlet characterized Christian Embassy as an influential, politically conservative "lobby in all but name" with international ambition, and Sharlet described the theological views of the organization and its parent, Campus Crusade:  

Christian Embassy's theology, like that of Campus Crusade, might best be characterized as "ecumenical fundamentalism." They're not interested in denominational divides. Rather, they're invested in a critique of culture that sees the United States as in a state of "decay" as a result of inadequate Bible study. They believe the Bible was once part of public life and that it must be restored to its central role in order to achieve "revival." According to McCullough, separation of church and state has gone too far.

Meet the Founder of Campus Crusade

Much of Bill Bright's career was bent on fighting, on not just at the American national level but actually on a global scale, a perceived communist, humanist, and satanic conspiracy against Christianity and God which Bright sought to combat by promoting, on a global level, a simplified, ecumenical form of fundamentalist Christianity that he hoped would eventually lead to Biblical, theocratic governance in every nation on Earth. Despite the scale of that ambition Bright seems to have been personally humble. But his methods were not always completely upfront, as Sara Diamond describes:      

"Founder Bill Bright, a successful businessman, started Campus Crusade on the University of California at Los Angeles campus in 1951. With the idea of imitating communist recruitment tactics, he urged young Christian converts to form cell groups. Bright self-consciously promoted an image of his ministry as a revolutionary movement. In fact, twenty years after the founding of Campus Crusade, Bright described his staff of three thousand worldwide missionaries as a 'conspiracy to overthrow the world." Bright's goal was to recruit young people away from the Left and into a conservative brand of Christianity."

- From Sara Diamond's The Enduring Influence of the Christian Right, The Guilford Press, 1998, p.61

Beyond founding Campus Crusade For Christ, Bill Bright was one of the key figures in the creation of the current Christian right. John Birch Society member and oil tycoon Nelson Bunker Hunt was a key early funder of Bright's efforts, and Bright helped enlist other key funders, such as the Coors Family, Arthur DeMoss, the DeVos family, and Holiday Inn founder Wallace Johnson, who financed the creation of Christian right infrastructure.

As Dr. Bruce Prescott observes:

One of the key leaders of the Religious Right is often overlooked.  Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, had a larger role than a lot of people realize.

In 1974 and 1975 Bill Bright convened a series of secret meetings with 20-25 key Christian Right leaders.  They formed Third Century Publishers to publish books and study guides to link their political agenda with conservative Christianity...

Bright with the help of Richard DeVoss, president of Amway Corp., and Art DeMoss, board chairman of National Liberty Insurance Co.,  took over the financially troubled Christian Freedom Foundation to solicit funds for their publishing company.  They hired Ed McAteer to run it.  DeMoss later publicly stated that the purpose of CFF was to elect Christian conservatives to Congress in 1976:

    "The vision is to rebuild the foundations of the Republic as it was when first founded--a 'Christian Republic.' We must return to the faith of our fathers." [John Saloma, Ominous Politics: The New Consevative Labrynth(pp. 53-54).

...As the Religious Roundtable was getting organized, Bill Bright, along with evangelist Billy Graham, called a meeting in Dallas with ten or twelve influential conservative leaders...

Here's James Robison's account of the meeting as recorded in William Martin's With God on our Side, (pp. 206-07):

"Billy Graham said, 'I believe God has shown me that unless we have a change in America, we have a thousand days as a free nation . . . three years.'  Bill Bright said, 'I know. . . . I do not believe we'll survive more than three years as a free nation.  It's that serious.'  And Pat Robertson said, 'I believe the same thing.'  Charles Stanley was standing there and I can just remember so well, he put his hand down on the table with resolve and said, 'I'll give my life to stop this.  I'll give everything I've got to turn this country.'  And I said, 'Me too.  I'll die to turn this country.  Whatever it takes.  We can't lose the country.'  And each man around the room said, 'we're going to get involved.'

Theology of War, Intelligent Design & Evolution as an "Anti-God" Fraud, Global Warming Skepticism...    

In his aforementioned article, Jeff Sharlet noted that Campus Crusade's Christian Embassy holds that the war in Iraq "may be biblically sanctioned", and his description is   very consistent with views espoused by Campus Crusade's founder, Bill Bright, who has largely escaped the sort of scrutiny noisier and more obtuse or offensive leaders of the American Christian right have been subject to. Bright's relative obscurity (to those outside the movement) can be ascribed to his genial affect but beneath that Bright held views that, to out it mildly, were less than mainstream.

Shortly prior to his death in 2003, Bright signed on to an October 2002 letter, headed by Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, to George W. Bush stating that Bush's intention to invade Iraq in March 2003 would be theologically justified. The Southern Baptist Convention was the only major Protestant  Christian denomination to support the planned war, which was opposed by most American Protestant leaders and also the Roman Catholic Church [Pdf file about letter]

Besides holding what some might have called a "theology of war", Bill Bright signed on to the 1999 "Cornwall Declaration" which staked out a theological position, for conservative evangelicals, which downplayed the threat of Global Warming, opposed action to combat it, and suggested the science behind predictions on climate change from Global Warming was shaky [see article by Bill Berkowitz]. Bright's apparent skepticism of the science behind Global Warming was consistent with his decision, prior to his death, to "co-author" (commission, in reality) a book on Intelligent Design [see page 3 in this Pdf for a description), published by the Bright Media Foundation, titled "Y-Origins", that was targeted at young adults.

But Bright's promotion of "Intelligent Design" may have been the camel's nose under the tent ; a 1998 book he co-authored with John N. Damoose and ominously titled "Red Sky In The Morning: How You Can Help Prevent America's gathering Storms" Bright and Damoose wrote:

"In the early years of American history, many who propagated anti-Christian goals were discreet and covert about their agendas. However, during the '60s, the scientific community began to attack Christianity and Biblical principals more boldly than ever.
    One theory that anti-Christian forces have been pursuing vigorously is Evolution...

Today in America there is a concerted effort to promote evolution as absolute truth, despite the fact that it is based on little scientific data...

Despite Darwin's doubts and all the scientific evidence in recent years that supports the Biblical account of creation, the teaching of creationism is openly scorned. Meanwhile, Darwinian evolution is being taught as established fact in public schools and colleges...

Many humanists perpetuate a belief that they suspect is a lie rather than be forced to acknowledge the reality of God." [ "Red Sky In The Morning...", pages 118-120 ]

Bill Bright saw a vast, covert conspiracy, tracing back to the Renaissance, which advanced through humanist ideas, atheism, communism and socialism, later through public education and the teaching of Evolution, to attack Christianity and, in that, his views were strikingly similar to another Christian popularizer of the "vast satanic conspiracy" theory of history, Left Behind series co-author Tim LaHaye.

Tim LaHaye, as Chip Berlet illustrates in his multi-part Talk To Action expose' on the Apocalyptic ideology behind Tim LaHaye's and Jerry Jenkins' "Left Behind" series, believes in a hundreds of years old satanic, Illuminatist conspiracy:

   I myself have been a forty-five year student of the satanically-inspired, centuries-old conspiracy to use government, education, and media to destroy every vestige of Christianity within our society and establish a new world order. Having read at least fifty books on the Illuminati, I am convinced that it exists and can be blamed for many of man's inhumane actions against his fellow man during the past two hundred years (Rapture (Under Attack) by Tim LaHaye, 1992, p. 138).

Bill Bright and the Satanic Communist, Humanist, Secularist, Atheist, Public Education, Hippie Attack on Godly Christian America

The following is an excerpt from Bright's writing which Campus Crusade For Christ has been sending out, after his death, in a series called "Insights From Bill Bright":

Primarily during the past 50 years, militant anti-God forces, which have been active during and since the Continental Congress, have finally succeeded not only in rejecting our nation's biblical heritage and our traditional values, but in rewriting history and convincing our people, especially students, that we never had this wonderful heritage....

Marx's and Lenin's ideas spread to America, taking root among academia and some labor leaders. Both the philosophies of educator John Dewey and Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have had a profound influence in mobilizing the anti-God forces. Dewey, of course, was the chief influence in modern "progressive" American education. His anti-God emphasis has resulted in the present decadence and disintegration of our entire educational system...

Such influence began to reach the top levels of government in mid-20th century and finally, in 1947, resulted in the infamous "separation of church and state" ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and later decisions rejecting the God of our fathers in the public life and schools of America. A parallel anti-Christian philosophical influence has been that of anti-God secular humanism and existentialism. These beliefs provided the foundation for the radical hippie movement of the 1960s. From these roots arose some of the most threatening anti-Christ ideologies, which have destroyed much of the moral and spiritual moorings of America.

Bill Bright is far from the only writer to have alleged that John Dewey was part of a satanic conspiracy to corrupt American public education.

In a multi part series that heavily references the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, Brig. Gen. Gordon "Jack" Mohr, C.P.D.L. draws out similar themes quite crisply in part 6 of "The Satanic Counterfeit":

This phase of the PROTOCOLS went into effect in America, when John Dewey, the father of the modern education movement, began to inculcate American education with the Jewish-led, Secular Humanist Movement.

This Satanic teaching abandons 2,000 years of Western Christian civilization and launches a vicious attack against everything have been taught that was dear and sacred. If vou want to understand Secular Humanism read the Jewish Talmud then think of every evil which is opposed to Christianity and you will come close to the correct answer.

The philosophy of Secular Humanism is relatively simple. There are no absolutes. s. Everything you do depends on the situation. (This has come to be known as "Situation Ethics.") and your environment. In the end, you are not responsible to any "higher power," such as God, for you are not to blame for your evil actions, they are caused by blind forces over which you have no control. [ emphasis mine ]

The John Birch Society's Ideology Was On The American Political Fringe In 1960

In the early 1960's, a scandal erupted when the commander of the US 24th Infantry Division, General Edwin A. Walker, was accused of indoctrinating troops under his command with the ideology of the John Birch Society. Following an investigation, Walker resigned from the military, to later promote such efforts as Billy James Hargis's "Christian Crusade". Hargis "preached continually on the evils of sex education, Communism, Catholicism and liberalism, and urged the return of prayer and Bible reading to public schools". Hargis' views were sufficiently politically extreme to convince FBI to put him under surveillance.

In the first chapter of his 1964 book entitled "The Far Left", founder of the "Christian Crusade" Billy James Hargis wrote:

The entire left-wing movement is of the devil. As Christians, the first way in which we can recognize the devil and his presence is that he is a liar. He speaks lies, he uses lies, his conspiracy is built on lies. Hear the words of Jesus and His controversy with the Jews: "Why do you not understand my speech? Even because you cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do....

There is an clear and striking ideological continuity between the conspiratorial and overtly anti-Semitic views espoused by Bill James Hargis and the more contemporary views of Bill Bright and "Christians United For Israel" founder Pastor John Hagee, as the following passages demonstrate:

"In this struggle, we are not alone; for the battle is but a renewal of ancient hostilities between the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of Satan... loyal followers of Jesus Christ who make up the Church of Christ have every reason to believe that they are not alone as atheistic Communism launches its bitter attack against the Church, Christ, and God Himself" - Billy James Hargis, "The Far Left", 1964

"Our children are being taught a religion which is the rival and opposite of Christianity. It is called Secular Humanism and it is permeating every inch of the American fabric." - KKK Website, 2007

"It is a war of light vs. darkness, of Christ vs. antichrist, the Word of God vs. secular humanism. There will be a winner and a loser! To the winner go our children and our grandchildren. There is no compromise with the enemy. There is no neutrality in this war!" - Pastor John Hagee, 2006

Not Any More...

Now, 46 years after General Walker's resignation, political views that once were considered scandalously out on the political fringe have been mainstreamed to the point that they are no longer are political liability.

Christian religious leaders who promote "New World Order" conspiracy theories such as Pastor John Hagee can speak before a substantial fraction of the US Senate and Congress and can meet privately with powerful US Senators.

And were he still living, General Edwin Walker would be exuberant that right wing ministries founded, by leaders such as Bill Bright, who held ideological views similar to his own, are now being integrated, with the knowledge and approval of base commanders, into the structure of US military basic training facilities.  

In the quote below this paragraph are 2 of Military Ministry's "strategic objectives", and they might sound absurdly grandiose except for the fact that (1) they are being pursued by a 1/2 billion dollar nonprofit organization (Campus Crusade) with dozens of subsidiary ministries, (2) there are tens of thousands of fundamentalist churches, ministries and nonprofits that work within the domestic United States towards convergent goals (theocracy & a "Godly America") and there are also literally hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of fundamentalist Christian ministries and philanthropies pursuing similar goals that operate internationally, some of which are now even funded directly by the US government, (3) Campus Crusade operates the largest complex of "military ministries", but there are now numerous fundamentalist "military ministries" that target the US military which work together fairly closely, promote the same sorts of theological approaches ('literal' reading of 'inerrant' and 'infallible', Biblical scripture) and work towards the same overall goals (theocracy, and reclaiming America's a allegedly lost, stolen, subverted or corrupted "Christian Heritage").    

"Evangelize and Disciple All Enlisted  Members of the US Military. Ministry at each basic training center and beyond. Transform our culture through the US Military.

Change Continents for Christ. Transform nations of world through the militaries of world. Train, Equip, and Partner with indigenous leaders to establish strategic sending platforms in each region of world."

- strategic points #1 and #6 of Campus Crusade For Christ's Military Ministry

Missionaries with guns sound more like good old fashioned crusading conquistadors: sword in one hand, cross in the other, blood in the streets for God and Gold.  Hardly a revolutionary idea but one that serves well the imperial machinations of nationalist corporatism and its American Reich Church movement.  On a personal level, members of the armed forces who believe their mission is to convert the world to Christianity are oath breakers and traitors, both failings are profound secular and spiritual transgressions.

by sulphurdunn on Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 10:14:49 PM EST
What happened to Spc. Jeremy Hall (see Rodda report) is very unfortunate.  But clearly just one instance in a long line of 1st amendment violations in the military.  

But, I get the impression here and elsewhere that evangelism of any sort is never welcome in the public square (military bases, etc).  I find Campus Crusade's organized indoctrination efforts to be repulsive.  Campus Crusade definitely needs a lesson or two in respecting religious diversity.  Under the free exercise clause, what type of evangelism is acceptable?

Are there any good sources/links on chaplaincy guidelines?  I'm honestly not well-versed in what IS and IS NOT permissible by chaplains.

by Big Daddy Weave on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 07:59:38 PM EST

While I agree philosophically, theologically and ideologically with Bruce Wilson, I'm becoming very frustrated with the sloppy research of much of the 'anti-theocracy' movement.

The research principles seem to be as follows:

(1) 'guilt by association'  For example, in the article no real connection was established between Bill Bright and General Walker, and very little to no connection with the John Birch Society, but it was implied throughout the article.  This seems to be standard operating procedure in the 'theocracy exposing' movement.  I wish that those of you doing this sort of research would be become more diligent in making real connections.

(2) 'biblical inerrancy = theocratic theology'  Conservative theological positions, such as biblical inerrancy, ID, and others are often used as 'proof' that an individual or organization is theocratic.  If you want to convince others of the seriousness of the 'dominionist' threat, then you need to have more serious evidence.

(3) 'desire for evangelism and/or mission is an indicator of dominionist leanings'  Even the WCC promotes evangelism and mission at times. The WCC is NOT a dominionist organization.  It is true that many Christians, esp. Conservatives, use triumphalist language when writing and speaking of mission and evangelism.  I find the language detestable, but it is not necessarily linked to theocratic theologies.

What you have to say is important, but reacting against conservatism has to be overcome so that the real information can come out.

by chipmunk on Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 01:42:53 AM EST

Criticism is helpful to the extent that it is specific. Otherwise it might be accused of 'sloppiness'.

Let me respond to your following criticisms of my alleged 'research principles':


" the article no real connection was established between Bill Bright and General Walker, and very little to no connection with the John Birch Society, but it was implied throughout the article.  This seems to be standard operating procedure in the 'theocracy exposing' movement."

I alleged no direct connection between Bill Bright and Edwin Walker. I stated that beliefs that Walker held in the late 1950s have become mainstreamed. Hence my subsection title :

The Fringe Beliefs Of 1959 Have Been Mainstreamed

I did suggest that Bill Bright was associated with individuals in the thick of the John Birch movement. Indeed, Nelson Bunker Hunt funded both Bill Bright and the John Birch Society, and these were not principally money making ventures. They were aimed at political and social change.


" '...biblical inerrancy = theocratic theology'  Conservative theological positions, such as biblical inerrancy, ID, and others are often used as 'proof' that an individual or organization is theocratic."

That may be so but you haven't tied your allegation, above, to anything I've written here. Quotations of my actual text would be very helpful here.

3) 'desire for evangelism and/or mission is an indicator of dominionist leanings'

That may or may not be true. But I never used the word 'dominionist' in my article you're referring to. If I've made statements to such effect it would be helpful if you would bring them to my attention.

by Bruce Wilson on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 10:52:19 PM EST

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Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (214 comments)

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