Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama " The Family " and U.S. Army "Hunting People For Jesus" Redux

UPDATE: 12:59 AM, & 10:06 & 10:22 & 10:52 AM & 12:14 PM July 21,2009


Should President Obama or members of his administration speak out against the Christian Crypto-fascistic organization "The Family" ?

Freedom of and from religion

The Separation of Church and State

United States on the road to becoming a Theocracy-

US Pentagon and armed forces becoming more and more predominately Evangelical Fundamentalist- is this a problem?

American Empire seen as using the War on Terror as an excuse for a Christian Crusade against Islam- not the way to win hearts and minds-

"Hunting People For Jesus" Documentary by Brian Hughes - May 4, 2009

"US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show.

Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him".

"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says."


In my last post I was again looking at the bizarre Christian Evangelical organization known as "The Family " or "The Fellowship" which came to public view with Jeff Sharlet's expose on "The Family". It more recently hit the mainstream media because of several politicians involved in sex scandals who are members of this organization and one of whom used " The Family's" house or church to carry out his extramarital affair."The Family" for the most part operates secretly or below the radar as it were except for its annual public event "The National Prayer Breakfast" held in Washington D.C.which is attended by corporate executives and prominent politicians not just from the United States but also from around the world. United States presidents are expected to attend and give a speech and basically give their blessing to this organization.President Obama was no exception.

Does Obama know that "The Family" headed by Doug Coe which sponsors this event adhere to a crypro-fascistic form of Christianity which turns the teachings of Jesus upside down claiming that Jesus was not interested in the "peacemakers" or the "meek and mild" but rather they believe taught that the rich and powerful were "The Righteous" and were chosen by God to rule over the nations of the earth. Their idea of "brotherly love" as it were is that these righteous men should love and nurture and help other men who are rich and powerful. According to their view these powerful people can for the most do no wrong that whatever they do is guided by "Divine Providence" and "the Hand of God."

Though Obama has said publicly that America is not a Christian Nation but is a nation of many faiths and respects the rights of individuals and groups to practice their own religion while also respecting those of no religious faith. Yet so far he has done little to prove that he intends to if necessary to take action where there has been a violation of the principle of the Separation of Church and State in Government run institution such as the Pentagon and the armed forces.

For instance he did not create some public media event to celebrate "The National Day of Prayer" as President Bush did every year that he was in office so this would appear to be a step in the right direction. On the other hand he still signed the declaration for that day thereby giving it his blessing. He could have refused to sign such a statement since it has more to do with a tradition invented in the 1950s rather than a form of binding legislation or an amendment to the United States Constitution. The very notion of a National Day of Prayer violates the Separation of Church and State. Are those Americans who do not pray or who are not religious to be once again characterized as outsiders or as UnAmerican or "Not Real Americans" because they do not adhere to the Judeo-Christian ideology. Besides isn't it enough that they already have Thanksgiving Day and other national holidays which tend to have a religious tone to say the least.

Obama also attended "The National Prayer Breakfast" in Washington which is run by Doug Coe and "The Family" and its affiliated and proxy organizations. Now if he had refused to attend this might have sent a signal to those who support this annual event that it is not one which the president and other members of government should be attending since it sends the wrong message that the President and the US government see themselves as representing Christianity . Given what we now know about "The Family" and "The Fellowship" and their headquarters at C street attending the breakfast gives a seal of approval for "The Family" and Doug Coe and it s members and their extremist ideology of " Jesus plus nothing".

What President Obama should do given what is now known about "The Family" is to distance himself and his administration from "The Family" . He further needs to publicly state that he rejects "The Family's" underlying theology or ideology and their agenda and goals since its agenda and goals and philosophy goes against democratic ideals as it were of the government of the United States and the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights etc. There is little room in this case for ambivalence and equivocation.

The main problem with this group is that they are according to them well-connected to a large number of rich and powerful businessmen, CEOs, Lobbyist and members of the Congress and Senate etc. But their Achilles Heal as it were is their desire for secrecy so it is possible that given enough media coverage and some sort of investigation into their shady financial dealings which occur often off the books or channeled through phony organizations etc. combined with statements by Obama and other members of his administration questioning the Family's goals and agenda and its ideology as one would do with any sort of bizarre and secretive cult. Anyway this would drastically weaken whatever power they may have since it may be that they in fact have an overblown or exaggerated image of themselves. One could hope that this is all moot since it may already in fact be the case that given the exposure so far the Family may already find itself losing ground and losing members since it is no longer such a well kept secret.

Besides "The Family" there are other more mainstream conservative Evangelical Christian Fundamentalist groups which have grown in influence and are more pervasive within the Pentagon and the United States armed forces which are operating in a questionable manner. That is to say these groups may be operating in ways which contravene The Separation of Church and State which is one of the fundamental principles of the United States Constitution. According to Jeff Sharlet and others these Evangelical Fundamentalist are illegally involved in proselytizing not only within the Pentagon and the Armed forces but are also Proselytizing in foreign countries to the indigenous populations .

Fault Lines documentary is scary stuff about the influence of Evangelical Fundamentalist in the US armed forces

"Fault Lines - Religion in the military - 25 June 09- Pt1-16 minutes

The United States is a deeply religious country, over 90% believe in god and 80% believe in miracles. For the US military, dealing with its own religious identity has become an internal battle. Growing evidence points towards a rising influence of evangelical Christianity, and with two wars still raging in Muslim countries with significant religious overtones, there could be serious consequences for the US mission. Pentagon officials say incidents are isolated, aberrations occur, but others closely tied to the military and its religious leadership say a transformation is taking place with dire costs. On this weeks episode of Fault Lines, we look at the battle over the religious soul of the US military."

Note in the documentary soldiers say that if they do not go to these religious services which are explicitly Evangelical Fundamentalist the soldiers are then given unpleasant tasks such as cleaning . So there is a form of coercion and punishment for not attending the services. Other types of Christian worship other than Evangelical Fundamentalism appear not to be offered to soldiers. So there is proselytizing by Evangelical Fundamentalism within the Pentagon and throughout the US armed forces. When these members of the armed forces go into other countries these Evangelical soldiers and other US personnel believe it is their duty and their right to proselytize in those foreign countries.

The idea presented that there have been few complaints of the activities of these evangelical fundamentalism is suspect because as others have argued US soldiers and other personnel are not encouraged to bring forth these complaints without being ostracized or having one's career ended or at least frozen or the Brass find an excuse to oust such soldiers or personnel. It appears that advancement in the US armed forces and by civilian personnel is in many instances currently based upon one's adherence to Evangelical Fundamentalism.

Freedom of religion is permitted and guaranteed in the United States and in the US armed forces but proselytizing and coercing others to take part in religious services in which the intention is to win new converts is against the US constitution and US military regulations yet this appears to be taking place form the top brass in the Pentagon on down to the soldiers in the field.

For instance when United States soldiers dressed in their uniforms go out proselytizing to the indigenous people of foreign countries it appears to the people of those nations that these individuals are acting in an official capacity on behalf of the United States government and the American people. This is somewhat disturbing for it gives the impression that especially in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that the so called War on Terror is really an excuse for an American backed Christian Crusade to convert or kill all Muslims.

What these Evangelical Fundamentalists are doing is turning the US military and the US Embassies into a Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist army which sees itself as fighting a Biblical based conflict of Good versus Evil of Jesus versus the Devil or the Anti-Christ and all those forces around the Globe which are really the forces of Satan and are therefore anti-Christian, anti-Jesus and anti-God. The Evangelical Fundamentalist do not believe in a complete Separation of Church and State but rather conflate the history and role of the United States with a conservative form of Christianity.

As they blur and finally erase the line of separation between Church and State they believe that any nation or peoples who are critical or antagonistic against the United States is by definition anti-Christian and anti-God because the US is "The Chosen Nation" of the Christian God. The United States and its peoples therefore as Chosen by God according to this view have replaced the nation of Israel and the Israelites and the Jewish people as favored by God.

According to this Evangelical Fundamentalist theology all other religions are seen as various forms of devil or Satan worship which aim to destroy Christianity. This is all part of the notion of American Exceptionalism.

American Exceptionalism is primarily based upon the belief that America was chosen as the "New Jerusalem" or "the City on the Hill" whose purpose was to protect and foster the True Word of God. The second part of this overarching myth is that America is also destined to Proselytize the Word of God to all the Nations of the world.

In the video below two American citizens who are Evangelical Fundamentalists travel to Afghanistan and are embedded with the US army as they proselytize to the Afghanistan citizens who are mainly Muslims. So is it a Crusade?

In contravention of military rules and the Separation of Church and State these Proselytizing Evangelicals who are private US citizens are embedded with the US army Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan. Is Obama unaware of such practices or does he care since he too has attached himself with Evangelicals .Is this part of his bi-partisn mending bridges style of leadership.

Is President Obama willing to reach out even to these extremist theocrats who are essentially anti-diversity and anti-democratic.In America it appears that it is ok for a politician or president to make nice with the extreme right while at the same time ensuring that they are seen as distancing themselves and even their policies from that of the moderate left. This notion of centrism isn't really a move to the center but in Obama's case rather a further move to the right on certain issues especially foreign affairs by becoming more hawkish and ratcheting up the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan while maintaining a large American military presence in Iraq and threatening to attack Iran or allowing Israel to attack Iran as America's proxy. Obama is also continuing other Bush policies such as indefinite detention, harsh and abusive treatment of POWs referred to as detainees. Meanwhile Obama has increased the amount of money going to Faith Based Initiatives and a hands off approach to Evangelical Fundamentalist proselytizing in the US military and the Pentagon and not taking steps to defend the rights of Gays and Lesbians in the military. Thogh Obama claims not to believe in American Exceptionalism his actions show the opposite.

Dari Bibles Afghanistan-May 11, 2009

check out :

US Soldiers in Afghanistan Told to "Hunt People for Jesus... So We Get Them into the Kingdom" (Video) by Jeremy Scahill at Huffington Post , May 4, 2009

Soldiers In Afghanistan Given Bibles, Told To "Hunt People For Jesus" (VIDEO) by Ryan Grim at Huffington Post, May 4, 2009

"Hunting People for Jesus: Growing Fundamentalism in the U.S. Military" by Jon Perr at Crooks and Liars, May 4, 2009

"Hunting People For Jesus in Afghanistan" by Epiphanies blog/ Tasnim, May 7,2009

and video of discussion about US army Proselytizing and the disingenuious typical denial by the US military Inside Story from Aljazeera - US military proselytising - 5 May 09 at YOUTUBE

Military Religious Freedom Organization

Religious Freedom and the Military: A Short History

The concept and practice of religious freedom in the United States Armed Forces date back to the earliest days of this nation. The United States Constitution outlines the basic concept of religious freedom as understood by Americans in the Bill of Rights. More specifically, the First Amendment to the Constitution specifies that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

All branches of the United States military are afforded the same rights to religious freedom as are American civilians. However, members of the Armed Forces willingly surrender on a temporary basis certain free exercise rights when it impinges on military discipline and the successful completion of a military objective. This guarantee of religious freedom is codified for the Armed Forces in Title 10, United States Code (USC), sections 3073, 3547, 5142, and 8067. Free exercise of religious freedom for military personnel is further detailed in Department of Defense Directive (DODD) 1300.17, “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” which describes the commander’s responsibility to provide for religious accommodation.

MRFF’s Letter to Defense Secretary Gates Demands the Immediate Revocation of CFGC's Ecclesiastical Endorsing Authority June 24, 2009

Christian Soldiers
The growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word.By: Kathryn Joyce at Newsweek.com & MSNBC.com, June 19,2009

National day Of prayer Task Force Shirley Dobson

What is the National Day of Prayer Sunday?
On Sunday, May 3, 2009, in Churches, when 40 million Christians come together to worship, the Task Force is encouraging groups to take seven minutes to pray for the Seven Centers of Power (pray one minute each for these 7 centers of influence: government, military, media, business, education, church and family). Pray for renewal in our hearts and repentance to come to America. Why not claim this Sunday as NDP Sunday, forever, in your church! This can kick off whatever the churches and NDP coordinators want to do during the week, on up to the day of celebration and declaration on NDP Thursday.

Christian Embassy Canada

The Christian Embassy of Canada is affiliated with the Christian Embassy to the United Nations and the Christian Embassy in Washington, London, Berlin and Manila. However, it has no affiliation with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

see website
"Christocrats build power in the military" at Jews On First

About Patrick Henry University see for example in the New Yorker God and Country
A college that trains young Christians to be politicians.
by Hanna Rosin June 27,2005

And at Christianity Today "Shakeup at Patrick Henry College" New president and academic dean announced after 5 of school's 16 faculty quit in protest.
Sheryl Henderson Blunt in Purcellville, Va. 5/15/2006

On Jesus Camp see at RichardDawkins.net Surviving 'Jesus Camp' by Josh Timonen October 3, 2006

'Jesus Camp' speaks without commentary like an ice pick to the heart and mind. In the United States we are in the presence of a dangerous and powerful Evangelical Christian movement that runs from local churches all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Unless a person is steeped in such fundamentalism, I think viewers will come away from 'Jesus Camp' with an extreme sense of urgency for rational organization and action against this spreading virus. Maybe the film can shed light on the horrible indoctrination of these poor children. Some of them will escape their parent's religion, but too many will stay to repeat the memetic cycle with another generation of eager and impressionable young boys and girls.

We can always walk out of the movie theatre, but Ted Haggard, Becky Fisher, President Bush and millions of Evangelicals will be waiting for us in the real world, and how we handle their rising brand of fundamentalism will likely shape our nation and the world for generations to come.

"Warren To Deliver Invocation at Inaguration"
By Kyle Right Wing Watch at The People For The American Way
| December 17, 2008

It seems that no matter how many times people, including us, point out that Rick Warren is really just a friendlier version of James Dobson, his media-driven reputation as some sort of "moderate" evangelical preacher continues to win out and, as such, Barack Obama apparently thinks he’s just the right person to put front and center at his inauguration:

...As we've pointed out several times before, in 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were "non-negotiable" issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama's answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying "there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." He's declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.

So why has this man been tapped to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration?

and so it goes,

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