Christian Extremists in Iraq

Just beneath the surface of the US war lies a Crusader mentality and faction, despite an official public relations effort to conceal it. Here are some examples for the religious community to ponder and discuss.

* “Air Force Chaplain Submits Resignation” (NYT, June 22); “Air Force Chaplain Tells of Academy Proselytizing” (NYT, May 12). Reports that evangelical Christians in leadership positions at the academy were creating a discriminatory climate. Chief of chaplains for the air force, responding to an internal film on tolerance, asks “why is it that the Christians never win?”. Chaplain MeLinda Morton forced to resign.

* “The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior”, by William Arkin (LAT, Oct. 16, 2003). Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, former head of top-secret Joint Special Operations Command, and frequent speaker at Christian Right meetings, says his god is “a real god” and allah is an “idol:, “Satan wants to destroy a Christian army”, George Bush was “appointed by God”, “we are hated because we are a nation of believers”, etc. Boykins shows aerial photos of Mogadishu with a dark smudge which he says is “the principalities of darkness...a demonic presence...that god revealed to me as the enemy.” Boykin has never been disciplined or removed.

* “Evangelicals Flock Into Iraq on a Mission of Faith” (LAT, Mar. 18, 2004). Nine evangelical churches open in Baghdad in eight months, supported with $100,000 per church. Nine hundred thousand bibles in Arabic sent to Iraq. Thirty missionaries work in Baghdad, 150 have visited. “God and the president have given us the opportunity to bring Jesus Christ to the Middle East.” “Iraq will become the center for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Iran, Libya, throughout the Middle East.””Yes, sharing Christ’s love causes conflict, but the alternative is allowing people to go to hell.

* Islam is a “very evil and wicked religion”, says Rev. Franklin Graham, who delivered the invocation at President Bush’s inauguration. (NYT, April 6, 2003)

* Muhammad was a “demon-possessed pedophile” says Rev. Jerry Vines, past president of 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention (NYT, April 6, 03)

* “End-Time Believers See Prophecies Fulfilled in Iraq”, (LAT, W Post, cite missing). Time LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ books sell 38 million copies since 1995, describing rapture, rise of the anti-Christ, seven years of hell on earth, armageddon, return of Jesus, etc. “Iraq fits like hand in glove”, says editor of Endtime magazine. Chapter 9, Verse 11 (9/11) predicts the coming of an army of locusts led by the Destroyer (Saddam). One-third of mankind is to die.

* “U.S. Hires Christian Extremists to Produce Arabic News”, by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, Alternet (May 2, 2003). Official US governement Arabic language satellite launched from studios of Grace Digital Media, controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are “rabidly pro-Israel.”

* “As Chaplain’s Spy Case Nears, Some Ask Why It Went So Far” (NYT, Jan. 3, 2004, LAT, Mar. 23, 2004) The Army tried to connect Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo, to an alleged spy ring but could not substantiate the charge. Yee was detained for 76 days before being charged with having an extra-marital affair, reprimanded and discharged. “This whole thing makes the military prosecutors look ridiculous” said a former judge advocate general, the highest uniformed legal officer in the Army. #