Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Crusaders Among Us

"Jesus Killed Mohammed," by Jeff Sharlet in the current Harper's Magazine (May 2009), is a must-read describing elements in the US military deeming the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan a Christian jihad - precisely the neo-crusade many in the Muslim world have been accusing us of perpetrating.

Consider: the soldiers who painted the phrase "Jesus killed Mohammed" in giant red Arabic script on their Bradley fighting vehicle. Or the soldier quoted as saying "“Each time I go into combat I get closer to God." Or the stupendously aggressive evangelizing of Air Force cadets by elements in their senior command whose aim is to turn our armed forces into de facto missionaries:
"What men such as these have fomented is a quiet coup within the armed forces: not of generals encroaching on civilian rule but of religious authority displacing the military’s once staunchly secular code. Not a conspiracy but a cultural transformation, achieved gradually through promotions and prayer meetings, with personal faith replacing protocol according to the best intentions of commanders who conflate God with country. They see themselves not as subversives but as spiritual warrior -- "ambassadors for Christ in uniform,” according to Officers’ Christian Fellowship; “government paid missionaries,” according to Campus Crusade’s Military Ministry"
Not real great for the whole "hearts and minds" thing...

The article is not legitimately available online. So read it with ergonomic comfort in the magazine - i.e. support the publication of excellent articles covering crucial topics ignored by other press - or else read it in horrendous formatting pasted into a message board as a likely copyright violation.

I heard about this article in an illuminating radio interview with the brilliant Reza Aslan, author of the just-published How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror, which I plan to read soon.

1 comment:

Big Fella said...

While it may seem implicit to a majority of the American public that Islamic fundamentalist leaders are waging an evil, anachronistic Jihad against "western" values of freedom (religious and civil) and liberty, it would behoove the majority of the American public to become aware of the blatant subversion of the American military establishment that is occurring by American religious fundamentalists who are making this a Christian crusade: http://thebfdblog.com/2008/12/31/underming-the-first-amendment-by-creeping-christian-prostelyzation/

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