US Troops Proselytizing with Bibles

  • News
  • Thread starter LowlyPion
  • Start date
  • #1
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4

Main Question or Discussion Point

Aljazeera reporting on Evangelicals handing out Bibles in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems they are right about this.

Of course proselytizing is against Army regulations. It is a proscribed activity. It's unfortunate that these people exacerbate the locals dealing with what already is jihad, by acting like this. I'd hope that these people would be reprimanded and reminded of their obligations for being so short sighted and insensitive and even insulting to the local people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVGmbzDLq5c
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
2,985
13
Looney Tunes. These people are out of their minds.
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,213
174
Soldiers with guns and bibles. GREAT!!!

Idiots! If they want to proselytize, they should quit the service, join a church, and go on a mission. I hope they throw the book at these guys, so to speak. Note also the typical double-talk that we get from these types: It isn't proselytizing, they are gifts.

Didn't their mammas teach them not to lie? They know full well what their true motives are.
 
Last edited:
  • #4
172
1
Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.
 
  • #5
10
3
http://terrorism-online.blogspot.com/2009/05/officials-reject-allegations-of.html
or
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2244191/posts?page=5
Officials Reject Allegations of Proselytizing in Afghanistan
...
The chaplain did not urge servicemembers to go among the Afghan people and attempt to gain converts to Christianity, the official said.
...
In the second instance, a young sergeant received a shipment of Bibles translated into Dari and Pashtu from his church in the United States. The film showed a discussion about the Bibles. "What it did not show was the chaplain counseling the young sergeant that distributing the Bibles was against U.S. Central Command's General Order No. 1," the official said. The chaplain confiscated the Bibles. "As far as we know, none ever got off base."
This is from a blog I can't verify. But how do we sort out possible spin?
 
  • #6
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
The story does link to:
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=54189

Maybe it's not as bad as it would seem. We can only hope that it is not. That kind of thing can only serve to exacerbate local opposition and cost more lives than thinking anything good could come from the saving of souls.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #7
10
3
I'm highly sensitive to spin. The portion of that clip where we hear the preacher going on about "we hunt people for Jesus" set off those little spin alarms I have. I want the whole video before I pass judgment on anyone.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/2009542250178146.html
Questioned about the footage, Greg Julian, a US colonel in Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera: "Most of this is taken out of context ... this is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism.
 
  • #8
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
I'm highly sensitive to spin. The portion of that clip where we hear the preacher going on about "we hunt people for Jesus" set off those little spin alarms I have. I want the whole video before I pass judgment on anyone.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/2009542250178146.html
"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says.

"Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."
I certainly recognize that as the evangelical line. Unfortunately in its framing it is ambiguous with regards to mixing metaphors of official duties with acts of evangelism. The Chaplain should know better than to offer up language that blurs the line between military orders and conduct of the inner life.
 
  • #9
10
3
I certainly recognize that as the evangelical line. Unfortunately in its framing it is ambiguous with regards to mixing metaphors of official duties with acts of evangelism. The Chaplain should know better than to offer up language that blurs the line between military orders and conduct of the inner life.
Can you point out where there is any overlap? From the video, I can't see enough to reach this conclusively.
 
  • #10
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
Can you point out where there is any overlap? From the video, I can't see enough to reach this conclusively.
I'd say in the portion I quoted. The special forces guys hunt men. We hunt souls part. I'd say it's an unfortunate juxtaposition, that may be useful in trying to draw an analogy to what the Chaplain would encourage his audience of evangelical brethren to, but can be easily taken by those unfamiliar with the oratory of evangelicals to construe it as a call to action in a more quasi official way.

At the very least Al Jazeera has seized on it to stoke potential Islamic fears of conversion and proselytizing.
 
  • #11
490
2
How is this ambiguous? It seems like a blatant admission of guilt to me.
 
  • #12
kyleb
Anything can be ambigious if you want it to be.
 
  • #13
10
3
I'd say in the portion I quoted. The special forces guys hunt men. We hunt souls part. I'd say it's an unfortunate juxtaposition, that may be useful in trying to draw an analogy to what the Chaplain would encourage his audience of evangelical brethren to, but can be easily taken by those unfamiliar with the oratory of evangelicals to construe it as a call to action in a more quasi official way.

At the very least Al Jazeera has seized on it to stoke potential Islamic fears of conversion and proselytizing.
Could be. Could also be he wasn't talking about going out off base for conversions. But here where you wrote, "The Chaplain should know better than to offer up language that blurs the line between military orders and conduct of the inner life," I'm looking for where he actually did that. So far it's still subjective or interpretive.
 
  • #14
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
So far it's still subjective or interpretive.
That's my point. It's blurred to the point that it is in the ear of the beholder and it was not made clear in its statement that it is not the same. That one is a matter of National directive, and the other is a matter of personal religious calling. And the twain shall not meet by direction of General Order No. 1.

I'd say there is not an appropriate distance given in the two statements to insure that the 2 are not confused. The Chaplain is the architect of his own statements and must bear the responsibility of any failure to communicate. After all that's why he's there ... communicate. He's supposed to be the adult in the room.

Would statements about Hitler's tactics, immediately preceding a discussion of Cheney's performance in office not be open to the same kind of interpretive discussion, even if there was no direct statement that Cheney acted like a Nazi? (Let me be clear that I intend no connection other than to offer it as an illustration only.) That would be another ear of the beholder thing wouldn't it?
 
  • #15
drankin
That's my point. It's blurred to the point that it is in the ear of the beholder and it was not made clear in its statement that it is not the same. That one is a matter of National directive, and the other is a matter of personal religious calling. And the twain shall not meet by direction of General Order No. 1.

I'd say there is not an appropriate distance given in the two statements to insure that the 2 are not confused. The Chaplain is the architect of his own statements and must bear the responsibility of any failure to communicate. After all that's why he's there ... communicate. He's supposed to be the adult in the room.

Would statements about Hitler's tactics, immediately preceding a discussion of Cheney's performance in office not be open to the same kind of interpretive discussion, even if there was no direct statement that Cheney acted like a Nazi? (Let me be clear that I intend no connection other than to offer it as an illustration only.) That would be another ear of the beholder thing wouldn't it?
So he is guilty of not communicating cleary to a civilian like yourself?
 
  • #16
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
So he is guilty of not communicating cleary to a civilian like yourself?
And as a result of his lack of clarity he gave propaganda material to those that are taking the lives of those he is nominally there to be serving.
 
  • #17
Alfi
a shipment of Bibles translated into Dari and Pashtu from his church in the United States.
Unless his church reads in these languages, someone was expecting them to be passed out 'off base'.

The chaplain confiscated the Bibles. "As far as we know, none ever got off base."
nudge nudge wink wink. Simple accounting problem then. Where are they?
 
  • #18
10
3
That's my point. It's blurred to the point that it is in the ear of the beholder and it was not made clear in its statement that it is not the same. That one is a matter of National directive, and the other is a matter of personal religious calling. And the twain shall not meet by direction of General Order No. 1.

I'd say there is not an appropriate distance given in the two statements to insure that the 2 are not confused. The Chaplain is the architect of his own statements and must bear the responsibility of any failure to communicate. After all that's why he's there ... communicate. He's supposed to be the adult in the room.

Would statements about Hitler's tactics, immediately preceding a discussion of Cheney's performance in office not be open to the same kind of interpretive discussion, even if there was no direct statement that Cheney acted like a Nazi? (Let me be clear that I intend no connection other than to offer it as an illustration only.) That would be another ear of the beholder thing wouldn't it?
He probably was interested in conversion. I don't doubt that. And he may well have had plans to do just that. Presenting the bibles as gifts would have been his attempt to circumnavigate regulations.

He's not responsible for what ends up in the ear of the beholder as it comes off in a few seconds of some clip a reporter posts. It is inappropriate to pass any judgment on him, as far as the allegation goes, without examination of the entire conversations and sermon.

The Hitler example does not work very well here since we're dealing with a highly edited report.
 
  • #19
10
3
Unless his church reads in these languages, someone was expecting them to be passed out 'off base'.
He clearly stated an intent to hand them out off base to the people of Afghanistan. He also is seen in the video pointing out the regulation, verifying that his company understands it. His position, then, is that this is okay (not in violation of regulations) as long as they're not preaching the Word or discussing it. Apparently, he hopes they will become interested in the Bible and come to him.

I think he's walking on broken glass.
 
  • #20
1,482
3
Even a Lt Colonel is in this. Looks like the pentagon must been aware of this for some time. They don't want to discharge these military men because of troop shortages.

Also, given the extreme islam in the region, talking muslims out of religion is pointless. Perhaps they are trying to introduce a more tolerable religion than islam to ease the tensions in the region. It's part of a psychological warfare.
 
  • #21
378
2
I think it was a small group of Christians... they are everywhere!

What worse:
1) Those Christians reaching 100 people without any publicity
2) This *biased* documentary or news reaching like thousands or millions of people. You could tell from the narrator words that he never cared to consider the other side or was neutral

So, the narrator is as wrong as those Christians.
 
  • #22
russ_watters
Mentor
19,309
5,334
And as a result of his lack of clarity he gave propaganda material to those that are taking the lives of those he is nominally there to be serving.
It's Al Jazeera. They are going to go after anything they can, even if it is wrong and they are going to find things - it isn't reasonable for our troops to base their actions on how Al Jazeera might respond to them*. You should be smarter and less biased than them. Knowing the source, you (and others in this thread) should give more scrutiny to the information being presented to you instead of (as we see countless times in this forum) taking at face value a "news story" that speaks to your preferred bias.

Lets not keep a double-standard here: we get threads about how biased Fox News is and many of the same people who go against Fox News came out in this thread bashing those picture in the clip. The obvious double standard is that unless Fox News is tpyically more biased than Al Jazeera (I'd like to see someone arguing that!), this is a result of an extreme left bias by those people on this forum.

*Whether broader policies should be adjusted is another matter. A "rules of engagement" for the use of chaplains in the military should consider whether it does more harm than good for a chaplain with a cross on his lapel to be visiting Afghanis in the hospital, regardless of the fact that what he said was non-denominational.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
Mentor
19,309
5,334
By the way, the version in the OP is cut from a longer version on Al Jazerra's website. The version on Al Jazeera's website starts with the chaplain making a point to tell those in the room to avoid proselytizing. He says: "Allow them to seek you out....but be careful how you do it....proselytizing is against the rules...." They discuss in detail the circumstances under which it is allowable or not allowable to hand someone a Bible. And make no mistake, displite what people are saying here, it is allowable to give someone a bible if they ask for it. This stuff about none of those bibles being distributed is an improper/unnecessary attempt at face-saving by the military.

Here's the whole video:
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/05/20095518278640895.html

[edit] My mistake - the video above is labeled "extended version", but it isn't - it is uncut footage, separate from the "news report" linked in the OP, with little or no overlap. The one linked above is more than 7 minutes of a discussion about nothing else but how to "spread the word" without violating the regulations. Basically, the news report was an intentional distortion and not surprisingly, it was picked-up by Al Jazeera (gee, did anyone stop to wonder why they didn't see it on CNN or BBC first?). Simply put, it makes straightforward assertions/accusations that are not supported by what those in question actually said.
 
Last edited:
  • #25
russ_watters
Mentor
19,309
5,334
Another quick clarification:

-The reporter in the news piece says what the soldiers are doing "...may well be in violation [of standing order #1]..."

-The OP states: "US Troops Proselytizing..." and mentions punishment.

So though technically the report didn't state as a fact that they were proselytizing/in violation of the standing order, the impression given to the OP - and I would argue it was intentional - is that it was a fact.

Some obvious conclusions/advice (for the OP and others that reacted the same way):
1. Pay more attention to what is actually said and you may be able to detect when you are being deceived.
2. Don't let your bias cause you to jump on something, causing you to bypass #1.
3. Never, ever take an a story from Al Jazeera at face value.
 

Related Threads for: US Troops Proselytizing with Bibles

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
39
Views
5K
Replies
2
Views
743
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
2K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
64
Views
6K
Replies
28
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
102
Views
8K
Top