If you are a soldier in Iraq, is it alright to wish people a merry Christmas, or would "happy holidays" be better? Like, whatever dude. As Ann Coulter says on a poster hanging on the door of the military police office in Fort Riley, Kansas: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." It's Jesus time!
That, at least, appears to be the way the military is heading according to a bevy of findings released by the of Military Religious Freedom Foundation this week, just in time for the holidays. MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein (see our recent profile) believes the military has been colonized at all levels by evangelical Christians bent on converting it into an army of God. The group's recent findings certainly support the idea:
At Fort Riley, the post exchange store, run by the base, sells the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, which photos show on display right next to The Soldiers Bible.
The Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, houses a store called "Enabled By Christ: A Store for the Christian Man."
A segment of a 2003 video filmed at the U.S. Air Force Academy by the Campus Crusade for Christ proclaims that the group wants to create "government-paid missionaries." Several cadets appear in the video in uniform.
A DVD distributed in 2005 by the Campus Crusade for Christ's Military Ministry features Tommy Nelson, a pastor from Denton, Texas, telling a group of uniformed Texas A&M cadets:
I, a number of years ago, was speaking at the University of North Texas -- it happens to be my alma mater, up in Denton, Texas -- and I was speaking to an ROTC group up there, and when I stepped in I said, "It's good to be speaking to all you men and women who are in the ministry," and they all kind of looked at me, and I think they wondered if maybe I had found the wrong room, or if they were in the wrong room, and I assured them that I was speaking to men and women in the ministry, these that were going to be future officers.
The first question in the study guide that accompanies the video is: "If you are in the military, then you are also in the m__________."
Finally, see the recent Mother Jones story on Eric Horner Ministries, which performs mandatory "motivational" concerts for U.S. troops that seem to motivate people to find Christ.
What has been the response to MRFF's findings? Weinstein, when I called him just now, told me: "I got a phone call today that said somebody is going to stick a shotgun up my wife's cunt and blow her clitoris through her head." So it goes during the holidays, I guess. And then it's back to singing jingle bells.