[Vision2020] The Evangelical Christian Takeover of the Military
starbliss at gmail.com
Mon Mar 10 21:43:03 PDT 2008
Deb et. al.
The article mentions the comments from US General Boykin in recent years:
"Well you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his," said Lt Gen
Boykin. "I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."
However, in my view, everything occurring on our planet is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Earth Biosphere, Inc. I will not elaborate on this concept,
knowing full well the incredible can of worms it will open.
On 3/10/08, deb <debismith at moscow.com> wrote:
> Good grief. This is frightening, especially given our involvement in wars
> in non-christian countries. Given the problems with "don't ask, don't tell",
> the difficulty of military Pagans killed in action getting their tombstones
> marked with their religious affiliation, and the dramatic decrease in those
> willing to be part of the US military as it now functions, you would think
> these officers might catch a clue. How far our proud military has fallen to
> be taken over by zealots and bigots.
> Debi R-S
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* donald edwards <donaledwards at hotmail.com>
> *To:* vision2020 at moscow.com
> *Sent:* Monday, March 10, 2008 3:33 PM
> *Subject:* [Vision2020] The Evangelical Christian Takeover of the Military
> The Evangelical Christian Takeover of the Military
> *By David Antoon <http://www.alternet.org/authors/8791/>, Truthdig<http://www.truthdig.com/>.
> Posted November 16, 2007<http://www.alternet.org/ts/archives/?date[F]=11&date[Y]=2007&date[d]=16&act=Go/>
> Retired Air Force Col. David Antoon investigates proselytizing within the
> military, where religious ideology threatens to supersede the values of the
> *"I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
> against all enemies, foreign and domestic. ..."
> --Oath of Office
> *"Our mission is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become
> officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in
> service to our nation."
> --Air Force Academy mission statement
> *"We will not lie, steal, or cheat. ..."
> --Air Force Academy honor code
> *"Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter
> of individual conscience. Professionals, and especially commanders, must not
> take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious
> views of subordinates."
> --Religious Toleration (Air Force Code of Ethics, 1997)*
> Forty-two years ago, at the age of 18, I took the oath of office on my
> first day as an *Air Force Academy *<http://www.usafa.af.mil/index.cfm?catname=AFA%20Homepage%20>cadet.
> The mission of the academy was not only to train future leaders for the Air
> Force but for America as well, because, in the end, most academy graduates
> do not serve full military careers. The honor code became an integral part
> of everyday life. These are the values that I, and most graduates of the
> 1960s and early '70s, took with us from our four years at the academy.
> I, as did many graduates, underwent pilot training followed by tours of
> duty in Vietnam. Like military men and women of today, we did our best to
> become technically competent and professional leaders. Never, during my
> four years at the academy and subsequent pilot and combat training, was the
> word *warrior* used; nor, whether as a cadet or officer, did I ever
> encounter "Christian supremacist" rhetoric.
> In April of 2004, my son, after receiving a coveted appointment to the
> United States Air Force Academy, asked me to accompany him to the
> orientation for new appointees. This 24-hour visceral event changed my life
> forever, and crushed my son's lifelong dream of following in my footsteps.
> The orientation began with a one-hour "warrior" rant to appointees and
> parents by the commandant of cadets, *Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida*<http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=7721%20>.
> The fact that the word *warrior* had replaced *leadership* was a signal of
> what was to follow. I later learned that cadets, to determine when a new
> record was established, had created a game in which *warrior* was counted
> in each speech Weida gave.
> My son and I then made our way to the modernist aluminum chapel, where I
> expected to hear a welcome from one or two Air Force chaplains offering
> counsel, support and an open-door policy for any spiritual or pastoral needs
> of these future cadets. In 1966, the academy had six gray-haired chaplains:
> three mainline Protestants, two priests and one rabbi. Any cadet,
> regardless of religious affiliation, was welcome to see any one of these
> chaplains, who were reminiscent of Father Francis Mulcahy of "MASH" fame.
> Instead, my son's orientation became an opportunity for the academy to
> aggressively proselytize this next crop of cadets. *Maj. Warren Watties *<http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4191/is_20050427/ai_n14605130%20>led
> a group of 10 young, exclusively evangelical chaplains who stood shoulder to
> shoulder. He proudly stated that half of the cadets attended Bible studies
> on Monday nights in the dormitories and he hoped to increase this number
> from those in his audience who were about to join their ranks. This
> "invitation" was followed with *hallelujahs* and *amens* by the
> evangelical clergy. I later learned from Air Force Academy chaplain MeLinda
> Morton, a Lutheran who was forced to observe from the choir loft, that no
> priest, rabbi or mainline Protestant had been permitted to participate.
> I no longer recognize the Air Force Academy as the institution I attended
> almost four decades earlier. At that point, I had no idea how invasive this
> extreme evangelical "cancer" had become throughout the entire military, that
> what I had witnessed was far from an isolated case of a few religious
> In order to better understand this shift to a religious ideology at this
> once secular institution, I called the *Academy Association of Graduates *<http://www.usafa.org/%20>(AOG).
> Its response: "We don't get involved in policy." What I didn't know was
> that the AOG, like the academy, had affiliations with *James Dobson's *<http://www.focusonthefamily.com/%20>and
> *Ted Haggard's *<http://www.alternet.org/asoldierspeaks/67385/%20http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Haggard%20>powerful
> mega-churches. When Dobson's Focus on the Family "campus" was completed,
> the academy skydiving team, with great ceremony, delivered the "keys from
> heaven" to Dobson. During some alumni reunions, the AOG arranged bus tours
> of Focus on the Family facilities in nearby Colorado Springs, Colo. I also
> learned that the same Monday night Bible studies discussed at orientation
> were taught by bused-in members of these evangelical mega-churches and that
> some spouses of senior academy staff members were employed by these same
> religious institutions. It seemed that my beloved United States Air Force
> Academy had morphed into the Rocky Mountain Bible College.
> The academy chaplain staff had grown 300 percent while the cadet
> population had decreased by 25 percent: from six mainline chaplains to 18
> chaplains, the additional 12 all evangelical. The academy even gained 25
> reserve chaplains, also nonexistent in earlier times, for a total of 43
> chaplains for about 4,000 cadets, or one chaplain for every 100 cadets.
> In the following weeks, a uniformed *Army Maj. Gen. William Boykin*<http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/15/60II/main643650.shtml>began sharing his Christian supremacist views from church pulpits around the
> country, declaring that he was "God's Warrior" and that "America is a
> Christian nation." He demeaned the entire Muslim world by stating that his
> God was bigger than a Muslim warlord's god and that the Muslim's god "was an
> idol." He received little more than a token slap on the wrist. At the time,
> *Joseph Schmitz* <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_E._Schmitz%20>, then
> the Department of Defense inspector general (Schmitz is currently the chief
> operating officer of Blackwater International), found that Boykin had
> committed no ethics violations.
> Days later, the May 10 edition of The New Yorker featured the Abu Ghraib
> torture article by Seymour Hersh, who more than three decades earlier had
> brought us the story of My Lai.
> As a late critic of the Vietnam War, in which I lost many high school and
> academy classmates, I was skeptical and critical of the drum beat for war
> orchestrated by the Bush administration. When then-Secretary of State Colin
> Powell again sold his soul in front of the United Nations and the world, the
> die was cast. I say *again* because as a major on his second tour in
> Vietnam, Powell whitewashed reports of the My Lai massacre and attempted to
> discredit and silence those few, most notably *Ron Ridenhour*<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Ridenhour%20>,
> who had the courage to get the story into Hersh's hands.
> These were some of my thoughts on the day my son had to decide whether or
> not to accept his appointment to the Air Force Academy. It was a time in my
> life when fatherhood and truth were confronted with faux nationalism. With
> tremendous courage and sadness my son declined his appointment and ended his
> dream--and my dream for him--to attend the Air Force Academy. Though deeply
> saddened, we were not sorry.
> In what would have been my son's academy summer encampment, chaplain
> Watties "suggested" that cadets return to their tents and tell their tent
> mates they would "burn in hell" if they did not receive Jesus as their
> savior. At the same time, the academy commandant, Weida, made a habit of
> including biblical passages in official e-mails and correspondence to
> subordinates and cadets. He had developed a secret "chant and response"
> with the cadets: When he yelled "Airpower," the evangelical cadets in the
> know would respond "Rock, sir" in reference to the Bible story that Jesus
> built his house upon a rock.
> Coincidentally, at this time and at the invitation of the academy, the
> Yale Divinity School was observing the pastoral care program for sexual
> assault victims at the academy. Under the leadership of professor Kristen
> Leslie, the Yale team issued a stunning report on the divisive and strident
> evangelical pressures by leadership and staff at the academy.
> The response from academy leaders was telling. They at first denied the
> reports of Watties' "hell-fire" threats. Under media pressure, they later
> claimed the violations were committed by a visiting reserve chaplain, when
> in fact they were by the recent Air Force Chaplain of the Year himself:
> Watties. In an interview after receiving his Chaplain of the Year award,
> Watties boasted of baptizing young soldiers in Saddam Hussein's swimming
> pool. It is difficult to think of more inflammatory and Crusader-like
> behavior in an Arab nation.
> In response to the Yale report, the academy demanded that *chaplain Morton
> the report she had co-signed. When she refused, she was transferred to East
> Asia, ultimately resigning from the Air Force in protest. Morton was the
> only officer who put her oath of office "to support and defend the
> Constitution" above careerism.
> Then-DoD Inspector General Schmitz, noted for his Christian supremacist
> rhetoric in the book "Blackwater," sent a team led by evangelical "born
> again" Lt. Gen. Roger Brady to investigate the academy. Schmitz had
> recently found no ethics violations in the actions of Gen. Boykin and
> allowed Boykin's promotion to senior military officer in charge of Abu
> Ghraib, Guantanamo and "extraordinary rendition." The "Brady Report" found
> the academy only to have an "insensitivity" problem. Air Force Academy
> graduate Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida, "silenced" and removed from the major
> general promotion list, was secretly promoted with back pay the following
> year at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
> Following the release of the "Brady Report," West Point graduate and
> Secretary of the Air Force Mike Wynne, ignoring the existing code of ethics,
> issued another "code of ethics" that allowed evangelical proselytizing. A
> month later, in an effort to appease the religious right, Wynne issued an
> even softer "code of ethics." Amazingly, Wynne's document is in complete
> violation of the code of ethics issued in 1997 by Secretary of the Air Force
> Sheila Widnall prohibiting proselytizing by commanders and other officers.
> The pre-existing Air Force code of ethics in The Little Blue Book states:
> "Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of
> individual conscience. Professionals, and especially commanders, must not
> take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious
> views of subordinates."
> Here are just a few violations of that principle over the last three
> years: Academy football coach *Fisher DeBerry *<http://atheism.about.com/b/2004/11/23/team-jesus-banner-removed-at-air-force-academy.htm%20>hung
> a banner in the team locker room reading: "Competitor's Creed: I am a
> Christian first and last. ... I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." Baseball
> coach Mike Hutcheon, recruited from evangelical Christian Bethel College,
> forced players to lead team prayer during practice. When asked about locker
> room prayer in March 2007, Lt. Gen. John Regni, the academy superintendent,
> responded "we have chaplains that are attached to each of the teams and they
> are very important in that area." In a July 12, 2005 interview with the New
> York Times, Brig. Gen. Cecil Richardson, Air Force deputy chief of
> chaplains, stated, "...we reserve the right to evangelize the unchurched."
> For over a decade, the official academy newspaper ran ads stating: "We
> believe that Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the World. If you would
> like to discuss Jesus, feel free to contact one of us! There is salvation
> in no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be
> saved." The ads were signed by 16 department heads, nine permanent
> professors, both the incoming and outgoing deans of faculty, the athletic
> director and more than 200 academy senior officers and their spouses.
> Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, in
> just a few short years has received complaints from more than 6,000 service
> members and discovered church-state violations at the academies, at military
> installations in Iraq and around the world, and even within the inner
> corridors of the Pentagon.
> In 2005, when Weinstein filed suit against the Air Force for
> constitutional violations of church-state separation, the House of
> Representatives, with little public notice, passed a chilling bill that
> undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and
> state. The Public Expression of Religion Act, H.R. 2679, provides that
> attorneys who successfully challenge government actions that violate the
> establishment clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover
> attorney's fees. According to The Washington Post, the *purpose of this
> bill *<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/26/AR2006092601486.html%20>is
> to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing
> In December 2006, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation brought media
> focus to the Christian Embassy Evangelical Organization and its now famous
> video, which clearly showed the egregious ethics and constitutional
> violations of several flag officers and the breadth of the problem. Air
> Force Academy graduate Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, who suggested in the film that
> his religious beliefs trump country and his oath to the Constitution, was
> cited last year for sending e-mails to military subordinates and contractors
> advocating they vote for a particular candidate for Congress, arguing that
> there are "not enough Christians in Congress." West Point graduate and Army
> Brig. Gen. Robert Caslen, who was filmed stating "We are the aroma of Jesus
> Christ here in the Pentagon," is now commandant of cadets at West Point.
> West Point graduate Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, another Christian
> Embassy star, was the "voice" and "face" of the press conferences at Qatar.
> His office is famous for the creation of the "Rambo" Jessica Lynch
> fabrications and the manipulation of the killing of Pat Tillman into a
> recruiting and media event. West Point graduate and evangelical *Lt. Col.
> Ralph Kauzlarich*<http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/20060728_worm_dirt/%20>,
> involved in the investigation of Tillman's death, stated publicly that Pat
> Tillman's family was not at peace with his death because they are atheists
> who believe their son is now "worm dirt." Air Force Academy graduate Maj.
> Gen. Peter Sutton, assigned as the senior U.S. military officer in Turkey
> at the time the Military Religious Freedom Foundation brought the Christian
> Embassy into media focus, was questioned by Turkish officials about his
> membership in a radical evangelical cult.
> Many are aware of the mercenary army, Blackwater USA, led by *Eric Prince*<http://www.nndb.com/people/926/000117575/%20>,
> former Ambassador Cofer Black and Joseph Schmitz, the same Joseph Schmitz
> mentioned above. It is here where the ties become complex and suggestive of
> an even grander "crusade."
> As described by Jeremy Scahill in his book "Blackwater," Prince, who
> attended the U.S. Naval Academy, comes from a wealthy theo-con family, is
> a "neo-crusader," and a Christian supremacist. He has been given billions of
> dollars in federal contracts to create a private army. COO Schmitz, another
> Naval Academy graduate, is a member of the Order of Malta, a Christian
> supremacist organization dating back to the Crusades, and happens to be
> married to the sister of Jeb Bush's wife, Columba. And *Cofer Black*<http://www.alternet.org/asoldierspeaks/67385/%20http://www.nndb.com/people/615/000050465/%20>,
> former coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department and
> former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, who was quoted by the
> BBC as saying "Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box
> on dry ice," brings his own skill set to the Blackwater team as vice
> The Christian supremacist fascism first reported at the Air Force Academy
> is endemic throughout the military. From the top down, there has been a
> complete repudiation of constitutional values and time-honored codes of
> ethics and honor codes in favor of religious ideology. And we now have a
> revolving door between Blackwater USA, which is Bush's Praetorian Guard, and
> the U.S. military at every level. The citizen-soldier military dictated
> by our founding fathers has been replaced with professional and mercenary
> right-wing Christian crusaders in control of the world's most powerful
> military. The risks to our democratic form of government cannot be
> This evangelical Christian supremacist fascism within our military and
> government is a cancer. Officers, especially commanders, who violate the
> original code of ethics, must be rooted out of the military. The
> undermining of the Constitution, especially by senior military officers,
> must end.
> As I look back at my 30 years as an active-duty officer, two combat tours
> in Vietnam, decorations including air medals and the Distinguished Flying
> Cross, I realize that not once was my service in support or defense of the
> Constitution. For the very first time, I am upholding my oath of office.
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