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Evangelical grunts - Comments

Nick6742's Avatar Comment 1 by Nick6742

I think the author misses the point in this. Indoctrination in the military is a problem, but I don't believe it's not the major reason why so many soldiers are evangelical.

Most soldiers come from poor to low-middle class families. They are very often evangelical before they enter the service.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 06:27:00 UTC | #190653

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

The problem is, many churches, including the mormans, consider serving in the military as fulfilling a mission. Mormans are supposed to go on a "mission" when they are young adults, serving in the military qualifies for completing this requirement. Their sole purpose for being there is to make converts.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 07:24:00 UTC | #190687

Lev-CapeTown's Avatar Comment 3 by Lev-CapeTown

Was jus browsing Looked up FLAT EARTH THEORY as a joke and came up with the following sentence:::

"The Flat Earth theory was mostly invented and promoted by evolutionists for the purpose of slandering Christians."

Those religious fools will use any lie they can to keep people in the dark... What lying pigs

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 07:44:00 UTC | #190696

TheGreatBZ's Avatar Comment 4 by TheGreatBZ

I was under the impression that the soldier who shot up the Koran was simply unaware that it was a Koran, since the book was in Arabic he couldn't read it.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 07:45:00 UTC | #190698

steve8282's Avatar Comment 5 by steve8282

I am so happy that the nukes are in the hands of people that are right with jesus.

Fuck Me!

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 08:16:00 UTC | #190724

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 6 by TeraBrat

I was under the impression that the soldier who shot up the Koran was simply unaware that it was a Koran, since the book was in Arabic he couldn't read it.

I'm sure it was reported VERY differently by the Muslim media.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 08:23:00 UTC | #190728

blakjack's Avatar Comment 7 by blakjack

During my time in the (British) Royal Air Force, we occasionally had parades during which prayers were said. Before the Christian prayers, there was the order "Jews and Buddhists - Fall Out". ( I think Buddhist were included). There was certainly no option for other faiths or indeed for non-believers. In those days - the 1960s - I wasn't too bothered about having to put up with prayers, although I certainly didn't mumble the "amens". Now 40 years later and a confirmed atheist, I would certainly raise objections.

Does anyone know the British military today handles parades involving prayers?

However, our Air Force wasn't rigid in imposing religion. By my late twenties, I had become a confirmed atheist and began to irked by official forms that asked me to tick the appropriate box "religion". As there didn't seem to be anything that fitted my views, eventually I spoke to my Commanding Officer to ask for advice. "Do what I do Jack. Cross out all the boxes and write in NONE". In fact, even today that is more correct than filling in "Atheist" in reply to a question "What is your religion? Atheism isn't a religion. It is a LACK of religion.

As an aside, I once flew a senior padre to one of the out stations in the Middle East. We had a few drinks (well, more than a few) that evening and senior padre certainly didn't persuade me of the value of Christianity. I think I probably did a better job arguing my views!


Sat, 28 Jun 2008 08:49:00 UTC | #190735

catskill's Avatar Comment 8 by catskill

This article reads like a nightmare. Except its worse than a nightmare... its true.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #190737

He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 9 by He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy

Fortunatly most modern military parades (or at least all the ones I've been in) no longer have prayers specfificaly aimed at the troops.
During freedom of the city marches and battle of Britain parades it is common for the cerremonies to be carried out in a church or cathedral, with accompanying bells and whistles in the form of mumbling prayers and singing depressing songs about subjecting yourself to the will of the almighty (bleugh!!). But at no point are you required to say or do anything with a religious bent - all you have to do is sit there. You don't have to take part in the songs or prayers if you don't wish.
In fact it's quite amusing that as the padre goes up and declares "Let us bow our heads in prayer.." everyone around us bows their heads but the majority of the RAF lads keep their heads up looking around at each other, bored, communicating through facial features the "When is this over, I want a beer" look.

There is only one time during your entire RAF career when you are FORCED (and I say that with capitals because it disgusts me so much) to acknowledge some sort of god, and unfortunatly it is when the lads are at their most innocent and dutiful. When you pass out of basic training you have your passing out parade in which a padre makes some horrible whining noises in the form of a prayer (it truely is pathetic). When the old fart stops talking you MUST shout back at him "With the grace of God I will!"

I did it many years ago and despised it, and this last year my little brother was made to do it as well. Straight after the parade he came up to me and said "What a load of bollocks", and I couldn't agree more.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 09:38:00 UTC | #190754

PristinePanda's Avatar Comment 10 by PristinePanda

What does one expect? By now it's obvious that if you enlist in the US military you should be a Protestant Christian - there's no freedom of or from religion in the military, I'm sad to say, as much as there should be. It's an egregious violation of human rights, to say the least.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 09:44:00 UTC | #190759

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 11 by phil rimmer


I think it was in "Carry on Sargeant" (1958 UK movie) a new recruit was asked for his religion by an officer filling in his form.

"Church of England," replies the recruit.

The officer fills in the form, "Ag..nos..tic."

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 10:47:00 UTC | #190786

Goodwithwood's Avatar Comment 12 by Goodwithwood

These are the people who murdered Pat Tillman.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 11:06:00 UTC | #190790

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 13 by justinesaracen

I never quite grasped the role of religion and chaplains in the military. An army is a force of trained killers -- irrespective of what they end up doing or what euphemisms they use to describe what they do (i.e. defense, bringing democracy, securing the pipeline, blah blah). They are TRAINED to kill upon command, and that is their function.
I see no place whatsoever (in the military) for a religion of peace, which Christianity claims to be. A real Christian chaplain would stand before the troops and say "don't go!".
All the rest is just layer upon layer of bullshit.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 13:29:00 UTC | #190832

8teist's Avatar Comment 14 by 8teist

We got the fossils, we win........


No, we got the ARMY, We Win.....

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 13:31:00 UTC | #190833

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 15 by Border Collie

'special audience for evangelistic outreach'?
Seems like a captive audience to me.
The military is a cult anyway. This just makes it moreso. They only want 'sheeple', to borrow a word, so they're in favor of anthing that enhances the process. This has been going on for decades. The degree of such might be new. I don't know. Who's surprised? I'm not. It must be hell on the soldiers who aren't interested. Personally, I think their time would be better spent learning to be real warriors rather than Christian soldiers.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #190847

doglived's Avatar Comment 16 by doglived

Comment #200934 by esuther: I see no place whatsoever (in the military) for a religion of peace, which Christianity claims to be. A real Christian chaplain would stand before the troops and say "don't go!".
All the rest is just layer upon layer of bullshit.
Spot on. The obvious contradiction boggles the mind.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 15:53:00 UTC | #190871

chuckg's Avatar Comment 17 by chuckg

Onward Christian Soldiers... shudder!

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 17:01:00 UTC | #190895

jo5ef's Avatar Comment 18 by jo5ef

"The episode led Major General Jeffery Hammond to go prostrate before tribal leaders in Radwaniyah and say: "I come before you here seeking your forgiveness. In the most humble manner I look in your eyes today and I say please forgive me and my soldiers.""
It's difficult to judge the situation from a distance, but I don't think the Major General should have indulged the locals to this extent. At any rate it somewhat contradicts the article's premise.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 17:22:00 UTC | #190898

dragonfirematrix's Avatar Comment 19 by dragonfirematrix

Well, I think we might agree that the enlisted ranks of the military are mostly poor, likely less educated, and maybe even lower in the IQ area.

It should not surprise anyone that these soldiers are indoctrinated. I am not sure, but did Hitler do the same thing in his military, and did Hitler indoctrinate the kids into the brown shirts? I guess the Christians are trying to do the same thing to the children of America that the Islamic do to their children. Please let me know if I am wrong, but I think I am right.

We non-religious know what we must do to save America.

My question is: Are we non-religious going to wait for the self-inflicted horror by religion to occur in America before we act. Unfortunately, I think we will wait until we to are also victims of the religious.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 18:53:00 UTC | #190920

Lyshote's Avatar Comment 20 by Lyshote

This scares me.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:00:00 UTC | #190932

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 21 by Lisa Bauer

"Sky Pilot, how high can you fly/You'll never reach the sky"

What, you don't know that song ("Sky Pilot" by the Animals), about a chaplain blessing soldiers before sending them off to war? I think it fits perfectly...and I got it stuck in my head while reading this article.

Regarding the Qur'an, it's usually in a rather distinctive-looking cover; it doesn't look like just any book, so I'd be suspicious of the claim that he "didn't know" what it was. But I don't know enough to make any judgement.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:02:00 UTC | #190934

J.C. Samuelson's Avatar Comment 22 by J.C. Samuelson

Having been a member of the U.S. military for over 15 years, I can attest to the fact that evangelism goes on. In fact, prayers in connection with various ceremonies are commonplace. Still, I've never personally felt pressured to join in or conform to any particular spiritual model as a part of being in the military.

Currently, I'm in the Air National Guard, and can honestly say there is more of that sort of thing (evangelism, that is) going on in my present unit than I ever experienced in the Army or on active duty with the Air Force. Interestingly, according to a Christianity Today article from 2006, the proportion of those who claim "no religious preference" (i.e., unaffiliated and/or secular) is greater in the Air Force than among the general populace:

A survey conducted by the Air Force in June [2006] reveals that 0.6% of the 275,457 current enlistees describe themselves as "atheist" and that 17.8% have "no religious preference."

This is more than a full percentage point higher than the current Pew Forum estimate for the general populace (16.1% unaffiliated), although the percentage of atheists in the Pew Forum study is higher (1.6%).

As for intelligence, my initial, knee-jerk reaction is to rise to the defence of my fellow airmen. Of course, I am but 1 of 5.1% of my enlisted fellows who have a Bachelor's Degree or higher, so my perspective is somewhat skewed. Having said that, I believe that one has to look at the overall educational picture before one judges any group to be less well-educated or intelligent. Here is the current picture of the educational demographics of the U.S. Air Force:

Officer academic education
- 52 percent of the officers have advanced or professional degrees
-- 41.1 percent have master's degrees, 9.5 percent have professional degrees and 1.4 percent have doctorate degrees
-- 25.8 percent of company grade officers have advanced degrees, 18.7 percent have master's degrees, 6.8 percent have professional degrees and 0.3 percent have doctorate degrees
-- 85 percent of field grade officers have advanced degrees, 69.3 percent have master's degrees, 12.9 percent have professional degrees and 2.7 percent have doctorate degrees

Enlisted academic education
- 71.3 percent have some semester hours towards a college degree
-- 76 percent of Airmen
-- 78 percent of NCOs
-- 28 percent of senior NCOs
- 17.6 percent have an associate's degree or equivalent semester hours
-- 1.7 percent of Airmen
-- 17 percent of NCOs
-- 50 percent of senior NCOs
- 5.1 percent have a bachelor's degree
-- 1.7 percent of Airmen
-- 3.8 percent of NCOs
-- 18 percent of senior NCOs
- 0.8 percent have a master's degree
-- .02 percent of Airmen
-- .4 percent of NCOs
-- 4 percent of senior NCOs
- .01 percent have a professional or doctorate degree.


There are other comments here too that speak of an ignorance of the inner workings of the military, but as I've already digressed enough, I won't address those.

To get back on topic, I'll simply say that as the only professed atheist in my unit, it is difficult to stomach the somewhat infrequent occurrences of spiritual expression. However, as most everyone knows my affiliation, it's been a pleasant surprise to have had very few run-ins with religious members. In fact, soon I'll be petitioning the wing commander to allow some freethought pamphlets and secular-oriented (meaning no mention of god(s)) self-help materials to be posted next to similar, but religiously flavored materials already available in our wing diversity office. This will happen as soon as I've gathered/produced the materials. Quite frankly, I doubt there will be any resistance. It might surprise some, but free speech isn't that uncommon in the military (and is, in fact, supported by regulation - with some reasonable limitations due to our status as government employees), and I've never had the impression that the military wants automatons who simply follow orders.

I guess what I'm saying is, is that the American military isn't quite as religious (or stupid) as the article might suggest, and that while the activities of groups like Campus Crusade for Christ are alarming, the problem has not reached (and likely will not reach) epidemic proportions.

Just my two cents.

{Edit: For comparison, from the 2000 census:

21% of Americans had taken some college courses but had not earned a degree in 2000
15.5% had earned a bachelor's degree but no higher
8.9% earned graduate or professional degrees

Thus, speaking only for the Air Force, it is made up of people slightly better educated than the general populace.}

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:30:00 UTC | #190940

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 23 by Christopher Davis

I've got mixed feelings on this.

As an atheist soldier deployed in Afghanistan I can attest that evangelicism is alive and well in the U.S. Army. However, I'm open about my views and I make no concessions to religion. When we have ceremonies that involve group prayer I do not bow my head. So far, no one has given me any shit or tried to convert me.

The only thing that I have had to endure was my Sergeant Major telling me that he thought atheism was a "mental weakness". I didn't argue because sometimes it's better to pick your battles.

What bothers me about this article is this statement...

"Incidents such as these can be exploited by al-Qaida and other jihadists to argue, rather convincingly, that the United States is not in a war against terrorism but a war against Islam."

Less than two weeks ago, two of my team-members were killed in a rocket attack. Seven more were wounded...three seriously. From the radio traffic we intercepted it is clear that the people who killed my friends did so out of religious conviction.

Not only that, but press releases in the Muslim world continuously report on the attacks as "blows against the Christian invaders", they brag about how many "cross worshippers" and "apostates" (Afghan soldiers, police, etc.) they kill, and they beg for Allah's continued support.

Whether we like it or not, in the eyes of the people trying to kill us, we are at war with Islam.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the idea that people of influence in our military would actively attempt to mould "warriors for Jesus" is repugnant, it is plain stupid to try and pretend that religion plays no part in this conflict.

Osama Bin Laden has repeatedly told us why he hates us...our government's support for Isreal, our failure to denounce China, Russia, and India for their acts against Muslims, and our refusal to leave Muslim lands.

To us these reasons sound political, to Bin Laden and those who support him they are religious.

The simple fact is, soldiers who are forward deployed are expected to walk on eggshells to avoid offending the religious sensibilities of Muslims.

The commanders who are allowing their troops to be sold on this idea that we are fighting a war for Jesus should be court-martialed and drummed out of the military. However, we shouldn't be expected to kowtow and kiss the Muslim worlds ass everytime one of our soldiers does something stupid.

I've never heard a single apology from anyone of status in the Muslim world for the nearly 5000 servicemen and women who have died at the hands of the radicals of Islam.

Sat, 28 Jun 2008 23:31:00 UTC | #190965

Gareth1's Avatar Comment 24 by Gareth1

Having been in the US Army for a good number of years, I find much in this article semi-true and/or hyperbolic. J.C Samuelson said it very well with his stats regarding the USAF. Assumptions concerning the demographics of the US military are all too often incorrect, and yet those making the assumptions feel absolutely no need to check their perceived "facts." Often, these same people will check, re-check, double-check, and then ask a neighbor when looking up some other substantive issue. The military? Obviously we all know more than we need to about the US military, we've been watching movies.

Apologies for the rant, this tends to be a pet peeve of mine. People are more than welcome to not like the military. When your dislike stems from false or unchecked assumptions, then you verge on the same behavior that people on this site accuse the religous of: willful ignorance of fact.

For the record, I am very much an atheist. To my knowledge I have never been subjected to any discriminatory practices due to my lack of religon. This might be because of the amazingly fair and impartial system that we in the Army have, or I might just not notice when it happens. I would go with the second part of that statement. Generally, I have found that religon is not a common topic of conversation. It might very well be in chapels, but as I am rarely in one...

Semi-true: insinuations that because there are hard-core religious zealots in the military that we are all out to indoctrinate our newbies in our favorite flavor of christianity.

Hyperbolic: People join the military because they are stupid. Granted, the article did not explicitly state this, however the author took a turn in this general direction and I am (admitedly) extrapolating. Look at the statistics before making assertions like this. As posted above, the stats do not bear out this assumption, throughout all services. Believing, just because that is what you want to believe, that people in the military are not too smart is, itself, not too smart.

Apparently what the military really teaches people, based solely on the evidence here, is to be long-winded.

The qur'an incident is a good discussion topic in that it shows both a stupid action and a worse response. I would bet, and I have absolutely zero evidence to back this, that the Soldier that shot the qur'an knew exactly what he was shooting at. So? Stupid? Yes and for two reasons: what the hell good does it do to shoot a book; and why would you pick that particular one when there are all too many people in the area willing to exploit your stupidity? The response though is worse. We kissed ass, plain and simple. As an organization, we went and begged for forgiveness. More appropriate would have been to tell those up in arms about this action that we do not like it and will try and ensure it does not happen again. But shit happens. Time to grow up and play with the rest of the rational world where it is recognized that shooting a book is not worthy of killing people. Rather than forcing our Iraqi buddies to recognize that sometimes things happen that others do not like, and that you work within your system to fix those, we decided to kiss ass and beg them to forgive us when there is no forgiveness required. Bad idea.

I am with Christopher Davis: when the Islamic community decides to beg forgiveness for their minority of people that love to blow themselves up around us, then maybe we can talk about shooting their happy book.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 06:56:00 UTC | #191039

AoClay's Avatar Comment 25 by AoClay

Somebody tell them that they need to actually read the Bible and most of the Qur'an seems to be completely plagiarized. If fights must be had, I'm really scared if it becomes christian/muslim instead of secular/muslim.

Also, let me say that I don't like the idea of schooling = intelligence/knowledge. I'm not trying to say it means they're dumb by any means or that they aren't smart, but I think too many jump to schooling to prove intelligence/knwowledge with any subject.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 08:47:00 UTC | #191050

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 26 by TeraBrat

I'm really scared if it becomes christian/muslim instead of secular/muslim.

Why does that scare you? Christianity has befriended Islam, let Christianity deal with the beast it helped create.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 08:55:00 UTC | #191052

mrjonno's Avatar Comment 27 by mrjonno

Hyperbolic: People join the military because they are stupid.?

No but there is extremely strong evidence that your average grunt is far less educated than the general public.

On joining the army 50% have a reading age of less than 11

9% with a reading age of less than 7

Not talking about your average fighter pilot here who I'm sure is at least if not more educated than most the people who post here but the guy wandering around downtown Bagdad

But in UK (and all Western countries) the vast majority of people who join up are from the poorer less educated parts of society. Getting your well trained brains blown out for relatively poor money is not considered a good career move by most

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 09:47:00 UTC | #191058

He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 28 by He'sAVeryNaughtyBoy

You should be aware that it is only the fighting infantry and personnel of the, how shall I say, less technical trades who traditionaly come from less educated backgrounds. You'll also note that that article only talks about the army.

So from that article there is evidence that the average army grunt is less educated than the general public, but by no means does that mean the whole military is on average less educated than the general public.

Let's be careful when we say "the vast majority of people who join up are from the poorer less educated parts of society" as this is simply not true.

A more accurate statement would be "the vast majority of people who join the army as fighting infantry are from the poorer less educated parts of society - but this has no bearing on the RAF, Navy or technical trades". It would be a mistake to think the average military person is less educated.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #191066

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 29 by mordacious1

I've been out of the military for awhile, but I think you'd be suprised how many well educated people are serving in the enlisted ranks. When I graduated from college, I joined the army and they offered me a direct commission, I turned it down because I didn't want all the shit that a butter bar had to put up with. I just wanted to travel. I was soon in charge of a counter intelligence unit with 24 enlisted people. I'm thinking, I've got a triple major from university, better educated than most junior am I going to relate to these guys.
Out of the 24, 5 had masters degrees, 9 others has BA or BS degrees. The least educated guy in the unit, hadn't finished high school but spoke 5 languages fluently...a real asset BTW. I was floored. Granted not all units are like this, but it doesn't take a college degree to scramble eggs if you are a cook, and when I was in basic, the best shots were southern boys who had less education, but could shoot a squirrel at a hundred yards...

The military does a good job at putting the smart people in areas where they can be useful, and the less educated in areas where they can still reach whatever potential they might have.

As far as criticizing the military because they are fighting an unpopular war, there is no one that wants to fight these wars less than those serving. It is a real sacrifice they are making. The wars are the fault of civilians, not the military.

As far as xians doing their thing in the military, I had problems with it...which I commented on before, so I won't go into that here.

Chris Davis: Stay alert and come home in one piece.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 11:05:00 UTC | #191079

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 30 by Fanusi Khiyal

Why does that scare you? Christianity has befriended Islam, let Christianity deal with the beast it helped create.

TeraBrat excuse my frankness, but have you taken leave of your senses? Do you really imagine that we would escaped unscathed? Do you really think that Islam only has it in for Christians?

Sweetie, I have news for you. We're all in this. Like it or not, in a war like this, we're all involvde.

And can you really say that you don't care about the, what, million, million and a half Christians murdered in the Sudan? Or the persecuted Christians in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq?

On this point, all kafirs and Infidels have to stand together. Period.

I've never heard a single apology from anyone of status in the Muslim world for the nearly 5000 servicemen and women who have died at the hands of the radicals of Islam.

Christopher, you said it. We're also not going to hear any apology from this lot.

Get home safely and send alot of those jihadi bastards to oblivion in small pieces.

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 11:39:00 UTC | #191095