Posts Tagged “army”

Ivanov, Alexander - The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene - 1834-1836I’ve never quite understood why it is that so many religions have such a hard time accepting that women — who are half the human population — are human beings, too, just like men. It seems rather obvious to me that both women and men are equally human … but hey, what could a cynical, God-hating agnostic heathen possibly know about such important things as institutional misogyny?

I blogged a while ago about how the Roman Catholic Church teaches that pregnant women’s lives are forfeit, and expect their hospitals to comply with this doctrine. But it’s not just the Catholic hierarchy that believes women are lesser beings whose welfare is secondary to theology. In a lawsuit filed over how the Pentagon mishandled sexual harassment, assault, and rape in the military, one story claims that an Army chaplain said something unconscionable to an Army sergeant who had been raped (WebCite cached article):

In February of 2009 SGT Havrilla reported for four weeks of active duty training. During this training, she saw her rapist in the shopette on Fort Leanard Wood. Upon seeing her rapist, SGT Havrilla went into shock. She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain. When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that “it must have been God’s will for her to be raped” and recommended that she attend church more frequently (#46, page 10).

Definitely, that’s what every victim of rape needs — to bow and scrape and worship the vast cosmic deity whose will it had been for her to be raped. Why, of course! It’s the obvious remedy!

</sarcasm>

Now, I have no idea what the religious affiliation of the chaplain in question is. The military does have non-Christian chaplains. But the odds are, this chaplain was a man, ordained by some Christian denomination. So I’m assuming (at the risk of being wrong, I admit) this denigration of women must be something Jesus taught … right?

Well, I’ve just scoured every Bible I could get my hands on, but have never found “Thou shalt treat women like trash and abuse them as thou wilt” anywhere in it. Maybe one of you Christians out there (I know you read this blog!) can point me in the direction of it.* If you can’t find it, then maybe — just maybe! — it’s time to stop fucking acting as though he did. OK?

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

* In fact … I dare you to point it out! Please post the chapter and verse in the comments. Thank you.

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Franklin Graham Speaking at Park Street ChurchA little less than two months after it said something astoundingly asinine, the ferocious religionist wingnuts known as the American Family Association have managed to top that. According to them, the United States military is run by Muslims and gays (WebCite cached article):

Bottom line: you want to know who’s now running the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and the Marines and calling the shots where it counts? Fundamentalist Muslims and homosexual activists.

The AFA reached this conclusion because the Pentagon disinvited Franklin Graham, evangelical preacher son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham — and noted critic of Islam — from their National Day of Prayer event. You see, according to the AFA, Billy Graham is right about Islam and therefore should be worshipped rather than dissed. Of course, if anyone dares be a critic of Christianity, the AFA is usually first in line to go to war over it. (Another example of the hypocrisy that saturates fundamentalist Christianity in spite of Jesus’ own clear orders to his followers never to be hypocritical.)

Photo credit: Rachel J.

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Good, Bad. I'm the Jesus with the Gun.Texas authorities may not care much about the Christian militia that’s running amok in Amarillo, TX as I blogged already. But federal authorities today went after a Christian militia group operating in multiple states, as ABC News reports:

The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group.

Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects.

This other, unrelated militia leader in Michigan offered some additional information:

Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from members of Hutaree, a Christian militia group, who said their property in southwest Michigan was being raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“They said they were under attack by the ATF and wanted a place to hide,” Lackomar said. “My team leader said, ‘no thanks.'”

The team leader was cooperating with the FBI on Sunday, Lackomar said. He said SMVM wasn’t affiliated with Hutaree, which states on its Web site to be “prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t.”

It’s not clear to me who or what this “Hutaree Militia” is. According to their own Web site — which I will not link here — the name “hutaree” means “Christian warrior.” I’m not sure what language that is. As made famous by a John Wayne film by that title, “hatari” means “danger” in Swahili. But that particular movie doesn’t seem to have any connection with this Christian militia, so I suspect it’s a word they made up for themselves. In any event, they use scripture to justify their warlike posture, such as:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Mt 10:34)

They also cite a different scripture as support for their movement:

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (Jn 15:13)

But that particular message is a pacifist one, intended to presage Jesus’ own sacrifice of himself (which happened later in that gospel), and is not warlike at all.

Another odd thing about them is that their avowed list of “information sources” includes mainstream and not-very-unusual outlets such as the Jerusalem Post and the Financial Times; yet it also includes avowedly and coercively religious sites such as World Net Daily, CNS News, and Jack Van Impe Ministries. It’s safe to say these guys are more likely to act on what they read from their co-religionists at WND than they are to act on anything they read in the FT.

Yet another aspect of this group that puzzles me is, how — exactly — do they think arming themselves and going on military exercises is a way to obey the Beatitudes, which can easily be found in the same Bibles they’re able to quote:

He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:2-10)

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say,
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.
“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.
“Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (Lk 6:20-26)

I think it’s safe to say they never had any intention of ever obeying the Beatitudes. This makes them hypocritical Christians, who carve up their own Holy Bible to suit their wishes, waving around the snippets that appear to support them, and shredding the parts that condemn them … such as:

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. (Mt 26:52)

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics Forum.

Photo credit: negatendo.

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Speaking of lawsuits, an atheist soldier is suing the military over its promotion of religion in the ranks and among civilians it encounters:

An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual. …

The revised lawsuit criticizes the Army’s 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting “religiosity” as a necessary part of prevention and describing “connectivity to the divine” as “fundamental.”

The lawsuit cites comments from a chaplain and a second soldier in Christian missionary publications about attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the two soldiers’ desire to distribute Bibles.

Way to go, Pentagon. Tell a soldier who’s suicidal that s/he just needs to “get religion.” That’s so helpful. Oh, and while you’re in a country where a lot of people don’t like you or the US, by all means, proselytize them! That does wonders.

Not!

Proselytizing in the military even reached a point of absurdity, according to the suit:

The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored “Team Faith,” which performs motocross stunt shows to “lead extreme sports athletes to Christ.”

I’m not clear as to exactly how motocross stunts have anything to do with Jesus … but I guess that’s not something the Pentagon is concerned about.

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