There currently exists a highly active, and insidious, effort to convert members of the U.S. military to evangelical Christianity. From what I have thus far read, this is being done inside the armed services by high ranking officers working with the likes Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s be-knighted offspring), and others. On September 25, 2010, a concert was scheduled at Fort Bragg, NC, which was entitled “Rock the Fort.” It was billed as “a chance to hear evangelists speak as well as listen to music by such Christian artists as Hawk Nelson and God Rocks. There’s also a planned set of activities for children.”
Bragg, which is home to the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Forces, has about 45,000 people living on post.” http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/8340379/ The event was sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. And, “A letter was sent from the Bragg chaplain's office to surrounding churches, asking local ministers for help with the event” clearly showing military participation and enthusiasm for this event. http://www.wyff4.com/r/25142440/detail.html
This is certainly not the first time the military has engaged in this behavior. For several years, at both Fort Lee and Fort Eustice, there have been a series of the “Commanding Generals’ Spiritual Fitness Concerts.” The “Spiritual Fitness Concerts” are the brainchild of one Major General James E. Chambers who is a self-described born again Christian. “In the Army.mil article, Maj. Gen. Chambers was quoted as saying, "The idea is not to be a proponent for any one religion. It's to have a mix of different performers with different religious backgrounds." But there has been no "mix of different performers with different religious backgrounds" at these concerts. Every one of them has had evangelical Christian performers, who typically not only perform their music but give their Christian testimony and read from the Bible in between songs.” http://www.talk2action.org/story/2010/8/19/113223/843/Front_Page/U_S_Soldiers_Punished_For_Not_Attending_Christian_Concert
Problem with this is that those soldiers who choose not to attend are routinely punished for their lack of enthusiasm – including Muslim soldiers. Soldiers are marched, in formation, to attend the concerts, and once there, are given the “choice” of attending or returning to the barracks. If the choice is not to attend, those who are marched back to the barracks have passes revoked, and put on maintenance duty. “On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts.” One soldier stated, “At that evening, nine of us chose to pursue an EO complaint. I was surprised to find out that a couple of the most offended soldiers were actually Christian themselves (Catholic). One of them was grown as a child in Cuba and this incident enraged him particularly as it brought memories of oppression."
"The account of another soldier who did not attend the concert, which relates the same sequence of events and punishment that occurred, also adds that some of the soldiers who did decide to attend only did so due to pressure from their superiors and fear of repercussions.”
These “Fitness” concerts aren’t the only thing the religious evangelicals in the military are doing to our soldiers. Even more disgusting appalling than the foregoing, it now turns out that military who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of combat are being referred to evangelical chaplains rather than mental health professions for treatment. In light of the suicide rates the military is experiencing, this is sheer insanity.
“Among the many types of shocking incidents and illicit and dehumanizing practices reported to MRFF have been the military's teaching of creationism as an actual bona fide means of suicide prevention; the use of a parachurch military ministry's evangelical Christian program to treat PTSD; service members seeking help being sent to and proselytized by chaplains instead of being sent to mental health professionals; articles in official military publications stating that finding Jesus if the only solution to the mental health problems faced by members of our armed forces; mandatory mental health training inside chapels, plus countless "Spiritual Fitness" events and programs being promoted as mental health solutions.
Perhaps the most alarmingly repugnant stories are those coming in from our recent war veterans regarding the widespread practice of "battlefield Christian proselytizing." When, on active duty, our service members sought urgently needed mental health counseling while on the battlefield and with the gun smoke practically still in their faces, they were instead sent to evangelizing chaplains, who are apparently being used with increasing frequency to provide mental health care due to the acute shortage of mental health professionals. Chaplains are not certified, professional mental health experts.
According to the reports of these veterans, the chaplains they were sent to for evaluation and treatment had the unmitigated temerity to urge, as a medicinal cure, a conversion to evangelical Christianity, and sometimes even went as far as disgustingly lacing their "counseling" with the soldiers' need to stay on the battlefield to" kill Muslims for Christ." http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/index.php/civil-liberties/1864-vcs
I’m reminded in all of this by the by the prohibition in the Geneva Convention on the use of coercion on prisoners of war, and the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits the infliction of degrading treatment or punishment. But, I guess if we can inflict coercion and degrading treatment on “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo, we’ve already crossed the line. Doing it to our own is now just a matter of degree.