Saturday, 21 August 2010

How to evangelize.

Start with vulnerable people, malleable individuals or a captive audience.
For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts. [...]

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. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking "an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God."

Gosh, doesn't that sound like a Faytene Kryskow kind of proselytizing. Amazons for Armageddon? Jezebels for Jay-Zeus?

The Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concert Series was the brainchild of Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, who, according to an article on the website, "was reborn as a Christian" at the age of sixteen. According to the article, Chambers held the first concert at Fort Lee within a month of becoming the commanding general of the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee in June 2008. [...]

In the 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.

Well. Isn't that special?

Fortunately, the US Military Religious Freedom Foundation is supporting the soldiers' complaints.


Beijing York said...

Mound of Sound is posting excerpts from Andrew Bacevich's book, The New American Militarism. His first installment is about the purposeful marriage between evangelical Christianity and the US military during the Reagan era. It's a very good read:

fern hill said...

Indeed, Beijing York, that is a fascinating series. Here is Part 1 made clickable. Thanks for pointing it out.

Lene Andersen said...

what happened to separation of church and state?

Luna said...

Ahem. That should be "How NOT to Evangelize". :)

deBeauxOs said...

Some fundamentalist evangelicals seem to enjoy the aggressive, coercive, no-prisoners-taken approach to proselytizing.

It worked during the Crusades and the Inquisition.

Beijing York said...

Speaking of coercive, check this out:

Soldiers Punished for Refusing to Attend Christian Concert

The Army has launched an investigation into claims that dozens of soldiers were punished and locked in their barracks in Newport News, Virginia, in May for not attending a Christian rock concert. Many of the soldiers, including several Muslims, refused to attend the concert based on their religious beliefs. The soldiers who didn’t attend were ordered to clean up the barracks and were told to not to use their cell phones or personal computers.

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