Baseball, Jesus, and Alaska's Military Bases
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 11:51:13 PM EST
After reading about Sarah Palin's "coincidental" promotion of Alaska National Guard Adjutant General, Craig E. Campbell, from Major General to Lieutenant General as soon as he changed his tune about her involvement as commander-in-chief of his troops, I decided to take a look at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) files on Alaska's military bases to see if anything of concern is going on up there religious freedom-wise.

First on the list was the website of the U.S. Army, Alaska (USARAK) Command Chaplain's Office "Ministry Team," which serves Fort Wainwright, Fort Greely, Fort Richardson, and their tenant units, which include the Alaska National Guard, whose headquarters is located at Fort Richardson. The USARAK Command Chaplain's Office is blatantly and exclusively Christian, not even providing information for soldiers of other religions. Even the worst of the other military installations that provide no non-Christian services or programs at least provide contact numbers or listings of off-base houses of worship for non-Christians to find services of their faith.

This is the image that greets soldiers who go to the USARAK Command Chaplain's Office "Mission Statement" page:

Photobucket

In March 2007, Fort Wainwright hosted an Army "Strong Bonds" retreat, contracting an organization called Unlimited Potential, Inc. to provide "social services." Unlimited Potential, Inc. is an evangelical baseball ministry with a military ministry whose mission is: "To assist commanders and chaplains in providing religious support to military service members and their families by sharing the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ through the medium of baseball..." and "to use our God-given abilities in baseball to reach those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and to also encourage and challenge those who do.

I should back up here and explain exactly what Strong Bonds, a program currently being investigated by MRFF, actually is. Plain and simple, it's an evangelistic Christian program operating under the guise of a pre-deployment and post-deployment family wellness and marriage training program. A few years ago, Strong Bonds replaced a decade old, proven program called Building Strong and Ready Families (BSRF), which was a collaboration between the Army Nurse Corps and the chaplains. Strong Bonds cut out the Nurse Corps, creating a program run entirely by chaplains, eliminating the important physical and mental health aspects provided by public health nurses, and turning the whole thing into a program of Christian religious retreats -- paid for with your tax dollars. A lot of tax dollars.

It began with the Department of Defense (DoD) paying an advertising agency $100,000 to "sell" the Strong Bonds program to Congress. The result of the DoD's ad campaign was an unprecedented amount of funding, now being spent liberally on religious retreats, typically held at ski lodges, beach resorts, and other attractive vacation spots, luring soldiers who would never attend a religious retreat to sign up for the free vacation. MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein sums up this form of coercion with the following analogy:

"It's like a time share sales promotion. You get an all expenses paid vacation at a great resort -- the only catch is you have to sit through a sales pitch for Christianity paid for by the United States armed forces, courtesy of the American taxpayer. The Strong Bonds program is nothing less than an unconstitutional scandal and an outrage."

MRFF has already amassed quite a collection of DoD contracts for Strong Bonds retreats, which include funding for travel and accommodations, training materials, outside trainers, child care, and, of course, Christian entertainers. That one Unlimited Potential baseball ministry thing at Fort Wainwright, for example, cost taxpayers $38,269. And, this same ministry has been "Serving Christ Through Baseball" at number of other Army bases in the United States, including Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, and Fort Drum, as well as many bases overseas, presumably at a similar cost per event.

But, of even greater concern than the clear constitutional violation of the spending of tax dollars on this scheme to promote Christianity, qualified health professionals like the Army Nurse Corps are being edged out of programs dealing with issues like PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide prevention in favor of a religious approach. And, Strong Bonds isn't the only place this is happening. MRFF has uncovered that suicide prevention in the military now often includes materials such as the teachings of Rick Warren and, completely unbelievably, the teaching of creationism.




Display:


by trog69 on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 11:10:27 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Falling Starr
Reports from around the nation are reporting Ken Starr, President of Baylor University, has been fired as head of the Baptist school.  Other stories......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Bluegrass Bonanza: Ky. Theocrat Loses Grip On Statehouse Seat
Political news of late has been dominated by three people - Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They've certainly provided good copy, but......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Political Piety Panned: We Don't Need A 'God's Party'
Every few years, a political pundit comes along and proclaims that the Religious Right is dead or on the verge of dying. I started......
By Rob Boston (7 comments)
Trump Campaign Tied To 2nd White Nationalist Party Leader
Even as Donald Trump seeks to tack to the center, and leave behind his earlier, wildly controversial statements on Hispanics and Muslims, mounting evidence......
By Bruce Wilson (4 comments)
Religious Rightism in the Democratic Party has Consequences
Those of us who write about the Religious Right and related matters often find ourselves wishing that we were wrong. Back in 2011 we......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
No Moore, Please: Ala. Chief Justice May Be Removed From The Bench
Word broke late Friday night that Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, may be on the verge of losing his job......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Road To Nowhere?: Ky. Officials Ramp Up Support For `Ark Park'
Officials in Kentucky have apparently decided that they're willing to endure a large amount of embarrassment if it will bring some mediocre jobs to......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)
Cruz Super-PAC Head Promotes "Biblical" Slavery For Non-Christians
Since 2013 (and with growing interest, especially since Ted Cruz mounted his bid for the presidency), various authors have sought to address Cruz' ties......
By Bruce Wilson (5 comments)
One Simple Question for Ted Cruz
As the 2016 presidential primary season moves into the media savvy states of New York (April 19) and California (June 7) a question is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
"Dominionism" - Correction Please
Correction Sent to Christianity Today, April 11, 2016 Regarding the article: "Stop Calling Ted Cruz a Dominionist: The Christian candidate's faith influences his platform,......
By Chip Berlet (6 comments)
South Carolina School Continues to Dominate Church-State Decisions
Bob Jones University has a rich history.  It was a launching pad for GOP Presidential candidates until George W. Bush apologized for the visit.......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Privilege, Not Persecution: It's Time For Fundamentalist Christians To Stop Whining
Over the weekend, a movie called "God's Not Dead 2" opened in theaters around the nation. I haven't seen the film and don't intend......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Fifty Catholic Right Leaders Endorse Ted Cruz
The National Catholic Reporter recently reported  that a group of fifty conservative Catholics led by Catholic neocon Robert P. George and former Virginia Attorney......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Viva (Crime-Free) Las Vegas!: More Hooey From David Barton
Ersatz historian and "Christian nation" booster David Barton is at it again. This time he's claiming that the city of Las Vegas cut violent......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Pride Goeth: The Arrogance Of The Public School Proselytizers
If you have children, there's a good chance you've worked hard to instill in them the values you hold, whether those values are religious......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)

Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 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 (6 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 (2 comments)
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 (2 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 (8 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 (3 comments)
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 (7 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 (3 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 (2 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 (7 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 (3 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 (6 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 (4 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.