For God and Country: Religious Fundamentalism in the U.S. Military

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Over the past decade there have been multiple news reports highlighting an intensified tension regarding what constitutes proper religious expression in the United States Armed Forces. However, there has been a scarce amount of thorough research examining the connection between these reports and, going further, proposing possible solutions. As a result, there has been a lack of information with which to stoke social and political will for change.

In this position paper, James Parco provides compelling evidence there has been a disturbing expansion and entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. military, a cultural force which remains at times both tacitly and overtly endorsed by senior military leaders. Parco supports his claim by presenting a number of case studies demonstrating a clear pattern of unconstitutional religiously sectarian behavior. He then analyzes the merits of the competing philosophical perspectives on the proper role of religious expression by men and women in uniform.

Parco concludes the report with recommendations that those in power should implement immediately in order to fully protect the U.S. military’s necessarily secular foundation and the religious freedom of all who volunteer to serve.

Written By: Center for Inquiry
continue to source article at centerforinquiry.net

11 COMMENTS

  1. OP

    there has been a disturbing expansion and entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. military

    Now given the raising rhetoric from various right wing mouth pieces about Obama wanting a civil war and Muslim infiltration in to congress even the batshit son of satan nonsense…it has always amazed me that these deluded ‘gud ‘ol bhoys’ actually feel rather cock-a-hoop about taking on a government in out and out conflict, considering said government is supposed to have the backing of the true patriots the armed forces.

    Then consider a significant majority of the ones that are seemingly arming and preparing for Armageddon are jeebus sunbeams on steroids..one gets a sense of why they are so arrogant and dare I say confident of a great victory for the ‘murican dream!

    • In reply to #1 by Jon Snow:

      OP

      there has been a disturbing expansion and entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. military

      Now given the raising rhetoric from various right wing mouth pieces about Obama wanting a civil war and Muslim infiltration in to congress even the batshit son of satan nonsense…it has always amazed me that these deluded ‘gud ‘ol bhoys’ actually feel rather cock-a-hoop about taking on a government in out and out conflict, considering said government is supposed to have the backing of the true patriots the armed forces.

      Then consider a significant majority of the ones that are seemingly arming and preparing for Armageddon are jeebus sunbeams on steroids..one gets a sense of why they are so arrogant and dare I say confident of a great victory for the ‘murican dream!

      Don’t underestimate the threat of Islamization in the USA- just look to Europe and Britain and say if you think Shariah is good for the UK??

      • In reply to #5 by Nodhimmi:

        Don’t underestimate the threat of Islamization in the USA- just look to Europe and Britain and say if you think Shariah is good for the UK??

        Sharia has no standing under Blighty law.
        Any result of application of that law has to be subservient and reflect Brit Jurisprudence.
        That it occurs in certain neighbourhoods is not disputed, but it is highly doubtful that women are likely to be seen being whipped through the streets of Birmingham any time soon.
        And there is no point to sharia if it is not seen to be enacted.

        Personally I find it abhorrent whatever the level of application, and I would imagine that most indigenous of those isles would as well be they xtian theist or other.

        It would simply not be tolerated for sharia to be utilized or indeed carried out on any serious crime in the community….it just would not be countenanced.
        It is already red flagged, I see no acquiescence with the idea from the Brit parliament, and without that the rest is academic!

        As for Europe, well I think that most countries do not recognize sharia as bonafide, mostly it is in the rhetoric of the extremist propaganda, almost as an aspiration, but the extremists are happy enough to consider it a powerful threat.

        Fear is a commodity that can manipulate knee jerk and subsequent retaliation dressed up as righteous.

        Dumb politicians and ex-archbishops of Canterbury pretend to be all inclusive and open minded about the premise of sharia, and like to trumpet their brain farts but mostly because it is a handy cover for certain other agenda’s like votes and boasting about ‘what a good xtian fellow am I’…both incidentally rather brain dead and insular to a personal level.
        Some folks are just not as bright as the scuttlebutt would have it!

        But neither would fly in the states, no politician would dare and certainly no religious ju ju artist would have it.

        But fear of an unsubstantiated threat is the only fear that has legs, it does the work of the extremists without them lifting a jihadist finger.
        They want to provoke uncertainty and anxiety in the populace, why not let the government do that to their own electorate with knee jerk legislation which worked well after 9/11, the aviation industry has never really recovered.

        It is not wise to ignore it though, but then again I do not think many are!

  2. This is an issue for all the US military but it is especially a problem for the USAF. I recommend the documentary Constantine’s Sword. Its an uneven movie, parts are slow and some parts are great but its a fascinating story of anti-semitism through history with special emphasis on what the film maker experienced at the USAF academy (the place that is to the USAF what Westpoint is to the Army). The USAF academy is surrounded by evangelical mega-churches and the pressure on cadets to embrace evangelical christianity (and to hide if they are Jewish or atheists) is immense. The movie is on Netflix instant watch:

    http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/70073043?strkid=701834804_0_0&trkid=222336&movieid=70073043

    I tried finding it on Youtube but couldn’t.

  3. My own cousin in law is a devout catholic , graduated with great distinction from westpoint and is a devout catholic. I can’t sing his praises enough. A humble disarming man. I can’t say his a fundamentalist though. He seems too smart for that. I would imagine that he does not take the bible literaly because when I speek to him religion never comes up. He is an easy going kind of guy but is devout. I personally don’t see anything wrong with devoutly religious people in the army as long as they can make the distinction that you ignore some parts of the bible , take other parts with a pinch of salt and you can take some of the bible as making moral and ethical sense.

    • In reply to #3 by Pauly01:

      My own cousin in law is a devout catholic , graduated with great distinction from westpoint and is a devout catholic. I can’t sing his praises enough. A humble disarming man. I can’t say his a fundamentalist though. He seems too smart for that. I would imagine that he does not take the bible literaly because when I speek to him religion never comes up. He is an easy going kind of guy but is devout. I personally don’t see anything wrong with devoutly religious people in the army as long as they can make the distinction that you ignore some parts of the bible , take other parts with a pinch of salt and you can take some of the bible as making moral and ethical sense.

      I agree but that isn’t what this or that movie I referenced are talking about. At the USAF academy its not a question of people just having faith and using that to give them courage to go and kill other people. The Jewish and other non-Christian cadets are under immense pressure to convert, including threats and actual physical violence if they don’t.

  4. 1 Corinthians 6:19
    “What, know ye not that your body is the Temple of the holy Ghost which is in you, which yee haue of God, and ye are not your owne?”

    The most insidiously dangerous quote. There are many such quotes in religion. Anyone who believes they can be manipulated by circumstance or that others profess godly wisedom can be manipulated to do terrible deeds.

  5. I have a friend who is a military chaplain. While some chaplains clearly see the Armed Forces as a fertile proselytizing arena, I’ve come to accept that others don’t and don’t even comprehend the scope of religious entrenchment. There are those, like my friend, who are there to clock in and clock out without any interest in actively recruiting others to their faith.

    This is a welcome report to help people like my friend come to see the breadth and width of religious bias in the military.

    Mike

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