onward christian soldiers

I don’t know that I’d be so quick to dismiss this if the right had held on to the House and Senate in the last election, but this article by former “New York Times” Mideast Bureau chief, Chris Hedges, right now on the possibility that the extreme religious right could take control of the American military just seems a bit overblown to me… Here’s a clip:

…The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy…

Maybe I’m wrong to let my guard down, but right now, for whatever reason, I just don’t see this happening. It’s certainly a threat that needs to be discussed and addressed, but it doesn’t have me planning my escape route to Canada. What do you think?

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  1. j7uy5
    Posted January 4, 2007 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    There is a big difference between taking over the chaplaincy and taking over the military. I’m sure they see expanding their influence in chaplaincies as a natural part of their mission in life.

    Plus, the author seems to equate religious influence with “politicization.” I don’t see why the two should be equated. Certainly it would be worrisome if any one group had control of the military and police agencies.

    Now, I do find the activities of the “Christian Embassy” a bit worrisome, but like you, I do not see any threat of an imminent takeover.

  2. stevarino
    Posted January 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I kind of think most of the people in the military are Christians, at least nominally. So, this is probably an oversimplification, but to me it makes sense that most of the chaplains would be Christians. There wasn’t even a Muslim chaplain until seven or eight years ago. There was a big article on him in the Navy Times. And I would like to know what Hedge’s criteria for a “radical Christian” chaplain is. I was in the Navy, and most of the guys I knew might have identified as Christians, but in practice we were almost all heathens. I went to a church service in boot camp once just to get away from my drill instructors for an hour. When a group of us came back, the Chief called us “religious cocksuckers.” I guess you had to be there.

  3. Ol' E Cross
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s funny that you think if a group of mercenary, theocratic extremists took over the U.S. government by military force that you’d be safe in Canada.

    (Don’t worry, I’ll hide you and yours Anne Frank style in the old cistern.)

    I agree with stevarino, if Hedges doesn’t clearly define “radical Christians” it’s hard for me to buy that the Blackwater guy has a whole lot in common with the Baptist preacher who joins up on the hope he can save a few dying souls. But, those innuendos will probably help Hedges sell his book.

  4. It's Skinner Again
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the best solution is simply to re-organize the US military as a religious order, on the model of the Templars or the Jesuits.

  5. Ol' E Cross
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking more along the lines of the Salvation Army, where the U.S. Army had to fund themselves thru holiday bell ringing and thrift store sales…

  6. UBU
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    As a bookseller, my professional opinion is that Chris is trying to sell copies of his book AMERICAN FASCISTS: The Christian Right and the War on America by creating a sensation. And you’re helping. I’d thank you but I don’t sell the book (I’ll order you a copy though, if you’d like.

  7. mark
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I plan to hide in the closet, R Kelly style.

    As for the military, perhaps they could start handing out flowers and asking for donations at the airport. (Am I the only one with memories of that?)

  8. UBU
    Posted January 6, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    No, I remember — you looked really cute in a bedsheet and shaved head…

  9. It's Skinner Again
    Posted January 6, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I hear soldiers now have to hold bake sales to raise money for armor. On top of that, they probably have to buy the cookies from Halliburton.

  10. egpenet
    Posted January 6, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    All of the Abrahamic religions have justified war for their own evangelical purposes, either to “spread” their gospel and/or to maintain some form of fear-based discipline. The chaplaincies guarantee that “God is on our side” continues as a major theme in American, Muslim and Zionist policies. Too bad. What’s really too bad is that rational science makes good money inventing and perfecting better weapon systems for religiously supported governments. If science was really so rational, all this madness could end … and we could really concentrate on preserving life, global warming and feeding people.

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