Monday, June 25, 2012

How Evangelicals politicized the Bible to Serve the State and its Wars

America has become a nation that worships war and murder. The only reason the damn wars continue is because there really isn't much of a public outcry against the wars, at least not one that affects general election outcomes. While warmonger Bush was justifiably castigated by the left and blamed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama turned out to be Bush on steroids and actually expanded Bush wars. The so-called anti-war peace loving left shut up when their party was doing the killing. The silence was deafening. 

But by far, the biggest block of psychopathic murderous warmongers in America are the Republican Evangelicals who literally thrive on war, murder, carnage and overt military worship. Of course, there are wonderful Evangelicals are aren't afflicted with the war disease but they don't vote Republican. One of the greatest shocks of the Republican primary season was at a debate in SC. Ron Paul suggested that we invoke the Golden Rule on foreign policy and got booed by the largely Republican Evangelical crowd. Gingrich lets loose with "kill em' and gets a standing ovation.

Evangelicals were not always theocratic Nazis who embraced despotism and war, even if they currently resemble the Nazi Party. Kelly B. Vlahos wrote a fascinating piece titled A Biblical Threat To National Security that doesn't necessarily explain why and how America's Evangelicals embraced Satanic evil but it certainly sheds considerable light on how the Evangelical movement has used the Bible to endorse military violence and serve the interests of the state. Vlahos starts off talking about the Holman Bible (which I never heard of) and how the US military embraced it.
To be more exact, a version of the Bible that, for reasons still undetermined, was authorized with the trademarked official insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces emblazoned on the front cover. There is The Soldier’s Bible with the Army’s seal, The Marine’s Bible with the Marine Corps seal, The Sailor’s Bible and The Airman’s Bible, both with their respective insignia. The books have been sold for nearly six years throughout Christian bookstores, commissaries and PXs on U.S. military installations — and are still available on, and Barnes & Noble.
It’s not the King James Version that the Gideons leave behind in hotel rooms drawers. The Holman Bible was commissioned and published by LifeWay Christian Resources, a subsidiary of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist denomination in the world, in 2003.
Vlahos also references the work of Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein who, according to Wikipedia is "an attorney, businessman, and former Air Force officer. He is the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and author of With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military in which he describes his fight against alleged coercive Christian Fundamentalist practices by some members of the military."

The fact that folks are waking up to the horrifying implications of Evangelical influence within the US military is indeed refreshing. In fact, it definitely raises critically important issue involving Evangelical influence in foreign policy.

Anyway, what precisely is the Holman Bible? Vlahos writes:
The Holman Bible, or HCSB, has been popular with evangelicals for its references and study tools. Someone convinced each branch of the service they’d be perfect for the military, too. So the HCSB became the “official” Bible of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines in 2004, complete with reader-friendly text and custom “designed to meet the specific needs of those who serve in the most difficult of situations,” according to the publishers.
In other words, aside from the text, the books are filled with “devotionals” and “inspirational essays” tailored to each branch of service. I was unable to get my hands on a copy by press time, but Amazon’s “peek” inside the book and several positive reader reviews confirm some of the contents, revealing what could only be described as a guileless conflation of both Christian and American military iconography. War and service as religious devotion.
In addition to the Pledge of Allegiance and the first and fourth verses of the Star Spangled Banner, there are excerpts from one of George W. Bush inaugural addresses and the Republican president’s remarks at a National Prayer Breakfast. Gen. George S. Patton’s famous Christmas prayer card from the field of battle 1944 is also included, as is “George Washington’s Prayer,” which has been widely circulated (and debunked) as proof of America’s Christian paternity.
These Bibles also feature “testimonials and encouragement from the Officers’ Christian Fellowship,” which has approximately 15,000 members across the military and whose primary purpose is “to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society.” In other words they proselytize within the officer corps as part of an evangelical “parachurch” within the military.
WOW. That's  very dangerous religious and political propaganda and it clearly implies that the the US military exists to do God's work and that God's work definitely includes waging murderous wars in the name of God.

Vlahos quotes U.S. Brigadier Gen. Bob Caslan who said “We are the aroma of Jesus Christ.”.

Michael Weinstein's warning is no understatement. “We’re fighting a Fundamentalist-Christian-Parachurch-Military-Corporate-Proselytizing-Complex”.  

For more on this issue, see:  U.S. Military being used as Government-Paid Missionaries

One thing is disturbingly certain.  America's Warvangelicals are spread throughout government, the Republican Party and the entire US military.  So long as these dangerous folks have power and influence, America and the rest of the world are doomed.  

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