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Pentagon Burns Bibles

Secularism is on the march, folks. This is...(insert your own term for outrage here) from the Brody File:

This story hasn't received much attention but it caught the eye of The Brody File. The Pentagon has confiscated a stack of Bibles sent to an Evangelical soldier in Afghanistan. The Bibles were printed in the local Pashto and Dari languages. Military rules forbid proselytizing. By the way, the Bibles were burned because the rules on the base say that all garbage is burned at the end of the day. But just asking here; if the U.S. Military seized a stack full of Korans, would they be burned? You think that might cause a little outrage in the Muslim world?
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Anonymous said...

Yep, they should have sent the Bibles back, not burned them. Nope, the idiot should NOT have had Dari and Pashto Bibles sent to him in-theater. You're drawing Caesar's paycheck, you render unto Caesar. Caesar sent you to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Caesar did not send you to give the Taliban and Al Qaeda talking points, and lose local hearts and minds by trying to convert the local population. The insistence on trying to win souls for Jesus while wearing US weapons and body armor is making the bad guys over there hate us more, driving good guys over there to suspect the bad guys are right about us, and giving Mikey Weinstein and Co ammunition to portray "Christians" -- all Christians, not just the minority who can't distinguish between their obligations to Christ and the rudiments of professionalism -- as the enemy. We're going to lose all our chaplains eventually, because certain jackasses want to preach the literalistic gospel according to King James under cover of the US military. Same people who told Pat Tillman's family they should be upset, because their son was just worm food (the Tillmans are atheists). It's not your place to do that, as the office rworking with the family, or as the officer being investigated for lying about how the man died. Literalistic, shallow, shiny plastic, uncharitable expressions of Christian faith, with a little aura of smugness (I'm SAVED! Are you?)
If you want to be a missionary, get out of the Army, and go back to Afghanistan, and do it on your own. Yes, they will kill you, and you'll be a martyr - and maybe that will plant a seed of faith. You're not impressing anybody by passing out Bibles with halal MREs while wearing a flak and kevlar, and driving an MRAP. That sort of proselytizing defeats itself and harms the US mission over there. Those Bibles will get Soldiers and Marines killed.
In that context, you preach the Gospel without words - by taking care of your people, taking care of civilians, doing the right thing. Not by clumsily alienating the people you're supposed to be trying to help.

Semper Fi
S. E. Murphy
Caesar's good servant, but God's first.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the thought of anyone burning bibles. But I also wonder the government is to pick up the tab to mail them back when mailing them in the first place violated published restrictions:

Although there are specific restrictions for each five-digit Military Post Office ZIP Code™ (APO/FPO), generally, the following are prohibited in the region of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or nonauthorized political materials.
Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible. Pork or pork by-products.
For packages, print on one side only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion.

This has been available for YEARS. As Capt. Murphy said, they're there on Caesar's dime. If they want to pass out bibles in Dari and Pashto, they should go back as civilian missionaries.

Probably wasn't handled perfectly, but the command didn't have the bibles sent in the first place!

Anonymous said...

The linked post is interesting though, in that it says it was the chaplain who confiscated the Bibles, and counseled the individual who had received them that this was a violation of general order #1 -- and that that wasn't reported by al Jazeera.

It's good to hear the chaplain was fulfilling his professional obligations - there've been one or two stories about individuals who didn't - folks who insisted on giving a sectarian prayer at a unit event, and then cried that their first amendment rights were violated when they got a non-punitive letter of caution or something.
I think that's a minority among actual chaplains; but there have also been a lot of stories lately (how well verified I don't know) about personnel who weren't necessarily chaplains passing out coins with Gospel verses, treating fellow warriors like crap for denying a belief in God, punishing people under their command for declining to join platoon or company prayer, or organizing an atheist meeting, and best of all (in the current Harpers) spray-painting "Jesus killed Mohammed" all over buildings in their area of operations. Ignorant, unprofessional nutcases.

I think it would have been better if the soldier who had the Bibles sent had been directed to send them back, on his own dime, rather than destroying them. I wonder if they were burned to show AlJ and the local leadership that the command was taking steps to ensure enforcement of orders and respect for the local religion?

S. E. Murphy

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