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Thread: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanistan

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    U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanistan

    KABUL - U.S. soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera television has shown.

    Afghan ’convert’ row stirs calls for inquiry A former Afghan premier called for an investigation after the footage showed U.S. military chaplains stationed in the airbase at Bagram with Bibles printed in the country's main languages, the Qatar-based network said yesterday on its Web site.

    "There must be a serious investigation," said Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai after chaplains were filmed discussing how to distribute the Bibles printed in the Pashto and Dari languages.

    "This is very damaging for diplomatic relations between the two counties. É Everyone knows people are very conservative here, very faithful to Islam. They will never accept any other religion. Someone who leaves Islam is sentenced very severely Ğ the death penalty [is imposed]," he said.

    Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, the chief of the U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, was shown delivering a recorded sermon to other soldiers, saying: "The special forces guys Ğ they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down."

    He also told soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him."

    "Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business," Al Jazeera’s footage quoted him as saying. The U.S. military denied it has allowed soldiers to try to convert Afghans to Christianity, considered a crime in many Muslim countries. Under the U.S. military code of conduct, armed forces on active duty are prohibited from trying to convert a person's faith.
    Afghan ’convert’ row stirs calls for inquiry

    It is not clear whether the Bibles were distributed to Afghans, but Hughes said that none of the people he recorded in a series of sermons and Bible study classes appeared able to speak Pashto or Dari. Hughes said: "The only reason they would have these documents there was to distribute them to the Afghan people, and I knew it was wrong, and I knew that filming it É documenting it would be important."

    It was not clear if the presence of the Bibles and practice of calling on soldiers to be "witnesses" for Jesus continues, but they were filmed a year ago despite regulations by the U.S. military. In another piece of footage, the chaplains appeared to understand their actions were in breach of a regulation known as General Order No. 1.

    "Do we know what it means to proselytize?" Cap. Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, asked the gathering. "It is General Order No. 1," an unidentified soldier replied. But Watt said: "You can't proselytize, but you can give gifts."
    "If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in quite a different world" - Christopher Hitchens
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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    The problem with trying to Christianise a predominantly Muslim nation is that it just ends up with more people dying. Sooner or later, the Muslims will begin to alienate the Christians, even if Afghanistan returns to a stable and well governing country, and even when the US troops leave, there would be another civil war around the corner.

    Again, Al Qaeda, or whatever group will be fighting a jihad against the Christians, claiming that they are this or that, and it returns full cycle.

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    The right allowed evangelical Christians to infiltrate the armed services, and this is just wrong.

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    The right allowed evangelical Christians to infiltrate the armed services, and this is just wrong.
    Got any sources to prove this?
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    Got any sources to prove this?
    What, you never saw this?

    Evangelicals exploit Air Force Academy; military officials interlocked with local activists
    Dec 23, 2005, 00:50

    Four Air Force officers -- all graduates of the Air Force Academy's class of 2004 -- have recently joined a lawsuit that accuses leaders at the academy of overtly pressuring cadets to undertake evangelical religious instruction. The original lawsuit was filed in October by Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force officer and graduate of the academy, whose son experienced religious discrimination while attending the school.

    The Air Force Academy, located in Colorado Springs, is surrounded by right-wing evangelical groups, several of which maintain close relationships with the academy's faculty, staff, and cadets. These groups and the military officials who follow them have been integrating evangelical Christianity into official academy activities for at least 12 years. Over this time, they have promoted evangelical beliefs to cadets, used their religion as a tool for military training, and encouraged religious conformity on campus.
    According to the report, numerous former and current cadets have issued complaints, which have been confirmed by academy officials, that the Cadet Wing has been regularly pressured by members of the faculty, staff, chaplains' office, and upper class, to attend worship services, undertake evangelical religious instruction, and proselytize fellow students.

    The Americans United report was published less than a year after a Yale Divinity School report, based on first-hand observations, which noted that during one worship service led by Major Warren Watties:

    "Protestant Basic Cadets were encouraged to pray for the salvation of fellow BCT members who chose not to attend worship. . . . Cadets were encouraged to return to tents, proselytize fellow BCT members, and remind them of the consequences of apostasy."

    According to the report, Major Watties told the cadets the penalty for refusing to accept his encouraged proselytizing would be to "burn in the fires of hell."

    Other issues that raised concerns amongst the two groups include:

    Protestant cadets were commonly told that Jesus had "called" them to the academy as part of God's plan for their lives.

    Cadets who chose not to attend after-dinner chapel services were made to suffer humiliation by being marched back to their dormitories in what was called the "Heathen Flight."

    Commission ceremonies for graduating officers have been held at off-campus churches.

    In December of 2003, in the academy's newspaper, hundreds of staff members -- including the then-dean of the faculty, the current dean of faculty, and 16 department heads or deputy department heads -- expressed their belief that "Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the world" and directed students to contact them so they could "discuss Jesus."

    The academy commandant, Brigadier General Johnny Weida, a born-again Christian, said in a statement to cadets in June 2003 that their first responsibility was to their God. He has also strongly endorsed National Prayer Day, an event sponsored by Focus on the Family and chaired by James Dobson's wife, Shirley.

    The academy has provided passes for Christian cadets who wish to attend church services and activities off campus, such as at New Life Church. They, however, have denied Jewish, Seven-Day Adventist, and those with other beliefs, the right to leave the campus for non-evangelical religious services.

    Several faculty members have introduced themselves to their classes as born-again Christians and encouraged non-evangelical students to convert to evangelical Christianity throughout the course of the term.

    Staff and faculty members have led prayer sessions at several mandatory school activities, such as academic exams, meals at the dining hall, awards ceremonies, military-training-event dinners, and basic training cadet cadre meetings.
    Evangelicals exploit Air Force Academy; military officials interlocked with local activists
    Last edited by WillRockwell; 05-05-09 at 09:25 AM.

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    The right allowed evangelical Christians to infiltrate the armed services, and this is just wrong.
    Seriously, are you now essentially pushing for people to be banned from military service on the basis of their religion?

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    I thought US Soldiers are barred from trying to convert?
    If they broke this rule by handing out bibles, why are they still in Afghanistan?


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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    Great source, a leftwing rag.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
    "Fly-over" country voted, and The Donald is now POTUS.

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    The right allowed evangelical Christians to infiltrate the armed services, and this is just wrong.
    There may be a small portion of the military (very small) that are evangelical to the extreme in the U.S. military, but from my own experience that is quite small.

    I remember bunking with a VERY religious guy while going through A.I.T. while in the Army, however he never tried to convert me and only ask that I respect him.

    Just because someone is a Christian, or very religious, does not mean they wish to convert people. I will say I found it to be an inconvenience to me (And that inconvenience was placed on me by me) because I would not play Rated R movies, music, etc. while he was in the room. This was done on my part because I respected the guy.

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    Re: U.S. soldiers encouraged to spread message of their Christian faith in Afghanista

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNextEra View Post
    There may be a small portion of the military (very small) that are evangelical to the extreme in the U.S. military, but from my own experience that is quite small.

    I remember bunking with a VERY religious guy while going through A.I.T. while in the Army, however he never tried to convert me and only ask that I respect him.

    Just because someone is a Christian, or very religious, does not mean they wish to convert people. I will say I found it to be an inconvenience to me (And that inconvenience was placed on me by me) because I would not play Rated R movies, music, etc. while he was in the room. This was done on my part because I respected the guy.
    This is what I call a very reasonable statement.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
    "Fly-over" country voted, and The Donald is now POTUS.

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