Pentagon Adopts Missionary Position on Homoerotic Art
jhutson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 06:23:10 PM EST

Providing entertainment for the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq is one thing; the Pentagon's promotion of a Trojan horse tour that preaches eliminationist theology and crusades for Christ in Islamic nations is another. It is a small wonder that the Department of Defense lends its imprimatur to a conservative Christian organization that invites current as well as former military commanders to help proselytize on military bases. And given the Pentagon's policy of discrimination against gays in the military, it is ironic that the Christian missionary group that they promote sells T-shirts that display what can only be described as homoerotic art. In short, the Pentagon seems to have adopted a new missionary position for the Operation Straight Up Tour and its "Tough-Men Meetings." Basically, the OSU Tour is promoting a holy war against the alleged enemies of Christ -- not unlike, say, a jihad. But there's a difference: jihad does not come with a homoerotic T-shirt.

Writing for The Nation, Max Blumenthal describes the Operation Straight Up Tour, promoted by the Pentagon, as "an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military." He writes:
As an official arm of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "military crusade in Iraq" in the near future.

"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."

The Defense Department's Chaplain's Office, which oversees OSU's activities, has not responded to calls seeking comment.

Although the chaplains at the Pentagon have no comment on the OSU tour or its apocalyptic brand of theology, they do have a close connection with the troupe.  In fact, OSU's "Tough-Man Meetings" that take place on military bases, and feature current military commanders as speakers, are aimed at military chaplains along with soldiers. The OSU site states:

These scheduled events take place one week after our live entertainment shows on military bases inside the United States. We use a personal touch approach at our shows to invite military personnel to attend these events. They are held in auditoriums on base and last approximately 3 hours. It's a boot camp for the soul. We stress the fact that soldiers need proper training to be successful in war, right? So how can they fight the enemy that destroys their homes and children unless they are properly trained. These meetings are all about training to live life to the fullest, God's way. Some would call it discipleship. We have many of our OSU Tour performers, NFL athletes, and former and current military commanders speak at these events. It's also another place that we can empower and encourage chaplains to fulfill their roles. We feel these meetings will keep the fires burning long after we're gone.

And what fires will be burning after the OSU Tour rolls through? OSU states that, among other items, its care packages for the troops include copies of the eliminationist video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

In our "Freedom Packets" we have included a PC game that is still exciting enough for the hard core gamer, but while he plays it, he finds himself without a soul or strength to be very successful in life unless he lives life properly. Life and death is in the hands of the gamer. Left Behind Games by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins reports that many lives are being transformed, from a life of hell to the freedom of heaven, just from playing this game. It's just one more way OSU Tour can be a conduit in changing a soul forever.

But the OSU Tour merchandise is not only about providing videogames for bored troops. They also provide T-shirts that suggest that U.S. soldiers should fight not only the enemies of our nation, but also the alleged enemies of Christ. The message seems to be that people who believe and act differently from conservative Christians are people who are asking for an ass-whuppin'.

Tough Men in Tight Tees
This Christian soldier is a bare-chested, bald bear of a man with buff biceps and impeccable pecs, whose dog tags sparkle against his rippling six pack. Clad only in black bicycle shorts and loosely laced combat boots, he is kneeling, holding his automatic rifle upright and burnishing the barrel with a tight grip. Too good to be real, he's pure fantasy: a pair of cherubic wings sprouts from his brawny back. He conjures the homoerotic drawings of Tom of Finland, who liked to portray muscular military men. Ironically, he's featured on the official staff T-shirt of the (ahem) Operation Straight Up Tour, a conservative Christian entertainment troupe promoted by the Pentagon that evangelizes "tough men" in uniform.

But much of the merchandise promoted by OSU (and, by extension, the Pentagon), features tough men out of uniform.

For example, another T-shirt on sale through the OSU web site features two men in a sweaty brawl. The bare-chested one with the buzz cut is on top, straddling his opponent. The bottom man raises his arms in a defensive posture, while the dominant male rains down bare-fisted blows on his fellow man. The T-shirt proclaims: "UFC - Ultimate Fighting Character. Bet you can't whip me. Because J.C. [Jesus Christ] lives in me." Below the in-your-bloody-face message is the tagline, "Until every soldier hears the truth: OSU Tour."

But what truth is being proclaimed? What does one man whipping another have to do with the gospel of Jesus, who preached not aggression in the name of religion, not beating another man's face into hamburger for the sake of piety, but rather, "whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also"? (Gospel According to Matthew, 5:39)

And then there's another OSU T-shirt that portrays a kickboxer in fighting stance, delivering some high impact footwork to the face of his opponent. It's aggressive, it's violent, and it's a manly man kicking ass (and face) for Christ: Who Would Jesus Do?

Faith-Based Face-Breaking

In contrast with the OSU Tour's pugnacious proselytizing, Jesus taught that his kingdom is not of this world, and therefore, his disciples do not fight to promote an earthly kingdom. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight ... But now my kingdom is from another place." (Gospel According to John, 18:36)

Yet the words of Jesus do not seem to sway Hollywood actor Stephen Baldwin, a favorite speaker on the OSU Tour. As Frederick Clarkson reports in Talk to Action, Baldwin takes a more muscular approach to converting or conquering the alleged enemies of Christ.

Here is what Clarkson wrote last year:

Stephen Baldwin, of the Baldwin acting clan and a protege of mega evangelist Luis Palau, is a rising star.  Baldwin is doing outreach to young people, and unfortunately, like many before him, his version of Christianity is laced with a pugnacious variety of rightist politics.
He is also a cultural advisor to President Bush and his book is reportedly doing very well. In it, he writes:
"God has called me to go and make disciples of the youth of America. That is what I am going to try to do, and if you try to stop me I am going to break your face."

Baldwin does not make clear whether his preferred method of faith-based face-breaking involves brandishing a military rifle, a gritty grapple on the ground, or a roundhouse kick to the head. But, having seen the official OSU Tour T-shirts -- which feature all of the above -- we're pretty sure his manly witness involves getting bare-chested and sweaty.

And now, a word of witness from Brother Robert Deniro:
You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?

by jhutson on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 06:52:53 PM EST

This is just too skin-crawlingly awful!

You need to cross-post Sara's piece from Orcinus: Leering Old Men: Another Take. It's an eye-opener! When I posted some excerpts, my title was Sex, Republican perverts and the MSM.

She can walk you through why these men are doing this! So that we can all understand them and fight back. From "machismo" to "authoritarianism" to "the six-year-old inside the adult man", she lays them bare. It's brilliant!


by Naomi on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 07:38:27 PM EST
I thought of that piece, too, Naomi. Real men don't have to make such a to-do about being "real men," you know? The shirts would probably be a real hit in gay bear bars. It would be hilarious if the rest of us didn't have to deal with these peoples' assorted neuroses.

by GreenEyed Lilo on Tue Aug 14, 2007 at 09:07:41 AM EST

Really, do these folks actually think? or even look around?

Remember the murals inside Ted Haggard's church? uh, homoerotic, muchly?

Any bets on the percentage of soldier-game players that pick the Antichrist over that soppy airline pilot (or whoever is playing God's general)? I'd guess about half prefer the Antichrist. Dark lords are popular roles in RPGs. Even an orc is better than a low-level elf....

by NancyP on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 08:01:49 PM EST

I thank God for the opportunity to put the keywords "Stephen Baldwin," "OSU Tour," "Pentagon," and "homoerotic" all together in a search string.

by jhutson on Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 08:20:39 PM EST

also wear tights?

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 03:20:47 AM EST

Someone, a Christian leader with integrity in the USA, must stand up and call this for what it is. In biblical terms this OSU Tour is anti-Christ; it is a movement that goes against everything Jesus stood for, and it is being done in his name. Check out some of the anti-Christ references in the New Testament - that is the basic description.

It's amazing that these purveyors of evil in the name of the Prince of Peace still believe that liberalism is, and has been, the danger to the future of the Church, as they go about daily discrediting it.

by chipmunk on Mon Aug 13, 2007 at 12:20:08 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Freedom vs. Fear: Restricting Religious Liberty Isn't The Answer To Terrorism
Last week, a community meeting was held in Spotsylvania County, Va., to discuss plans by a group of Muslims who want to relocate and......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Christian Right Electoral Hegemony, Rising in the States
This is a revised, updated and retitled post I did on the long term trend of significant political progress of the Christian Right and......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Who's Been Naughty, Who's Been Nice?: The AFA Explains It All For You
If you're like me, you've been sitting around anxiously awaiting the release of the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers for......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
U.S. Department Of Judeo-Christian Values?: Kasich Proposes New Religious Propaganda Arm
According to some polls, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who believes that ancient Egyptians built......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Scripture Stories: Religious Right Claims About The `Aitken Bible' Don't Hold Up
Tomorrow several conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives plan to hold a public reading of the Aitken Bible on the East Front......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Tallest Statue in the Nation of an Individual
Many a day I drove on I 45 past the statue of Sam Houston.  The monument to the statesman is the largest in the......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Honoring Everyone Who Served: A Veterans Day Reflection
In 1952, a private group sought permission from government officials to erect a large cross atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego. They did it......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
One Million Maniacs?: AFA Attacks Magazine For Highlighting Family Headed By Same-Sex Couple
I have a daughter named Claire who is 21 years old and working her first job in journalism since graduating from college. I'm awfully......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
What Catholic Neo-Confederates Don't Want You To Know About Secession
During the summer of 2013 I wrote several posts about Catholic Neo-Confederates. My purpose was to explain the activities of libertarians such as Tom......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Sex And Common Sense: Texas Public School Reconsiders `Chastity' Speaker
A self-appointed expert on sex and relationships won't speak at an El Paso, Texas, high school - for now.Jason Evert runs an outfit called......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Two Trials that Impacted American Religion
Silent movie, Birth of a Nation, became the first blockbuster screen phenomena.  Civil Rights groups deplored the production and sought to ban it.  It......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
The Francis Trajectory.
The recent dust-up over the meeting between Pope Francis and culture warrior Kim Davis has caused the Pontiff's stock to fall somewhat among liberals.......
By Frank Cocozzelli (11 comments)
Taking Care Of Business: Religious Right Group Plans `Religious Liberty' Ratings For Companies
My inbox this morning contained a press release from the American Family Association (AFA). The Tupelo, Miss.-based Religious Right group has exciting news: It......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Quest for Utopia
Surfing through old videos on youtube I found some interesting tapes of H. L. Hunt.  Certainly one of the original founders of the modern......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
The Sour Grapes Of Wrath: Tenn. County Politician Seeks To Stave Off God's Vengeance
It has become a cliché to say that you spotted an article online that was so strange you first assumed it was from The......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
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 (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.