Thursday, May 7, 2009

You've got to be kidding me

From Reuters:

Afghanistan's Taliban have urged Afghan Muslims to resist anyone trying to convert them, after a television network aired pictures of U.S. soldiers in the country with bibles translated into local languages.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera television showed footage on Monday of a bible studies class on a U.S. base in Afghanistan where a soldier had brought a stack of bibles translated into the Afghan languages Dari and Pashto.

The U.S. military bans its soldiers from attempting to convert people to any religion while on active duty. It said commanders confiscated and destroyed the bibles, and they were never distributed to Afghans.

A statement posted on a Taliban website, alemarah1.org, said converting Afghans to Christianity was part of the U.S. war plan.

OK, Commander-in-Chief, you need to put a stop to this right now. Any action that makes the United States look like religious fascists, and makes the Taliban look like the reasonable ones, is not a good idea. In fact, it's a really, really bad idea. This is not a "holy war." There is no such thing as a "holy war." We cannot hope to ever make progress in the tortured Middle East if we answer the behavior of religious fundamentalists with behavior unique to religious fundamentalists. We are there to change the political situation, not to spread Christianity. This has got to stop.


And since we're on the subject, why on earth would these people ever want to convert to Christianity? Assuming some of them are unhappy with Islam, as it was partially their brethren's ideology that got them into this mess in the first place, what on earth could make Christianity (from the mouths of American soldiers) seem like a better alternative? Are the soldiers calling it a religion of peace? I'd imagine they'd have a hard time convincing anyone of that, seeing as they're SOLDIERS... in a WAR. Are they calling it a religion of love? I think they'd have a tough time convincing anyone of that either, what with the acts of torture in which the American military has engaged. The fact is, calling America a "Christian nation" gives Christianity a really, really bad name. If you're going to insist that Christianity is superior to any other religion, you're going to have to demonstrate it. I do not believe that these soldiers are at all capable of doing that.

Psalm 120 says:
I call on the LORD in my distress,
and he answers me.

Save me, O LORD, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.

What will he do to you,
and what more besides, O deceitful tongue?

He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom tree.

Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!

Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.

I am a man of peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.

Romans 12:14-21 says:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Tell you what, crazies: I will let you call America a "Christian nation" as soon as it starts acting like one. WTFWJD?

(Thanks to Dave for the pic!)

5 comments:

Alexah said...

Saw the video of this that Savage posted on Slog. Shouldn't those soldiers get the boot for this? It's a pretty big violation, as I recall..

b0bg said...

Things that can get you kicked out of the military:

Public admission you have 'teh gay'.

Things that might get you doing extra pushups:

Handing out bibles and (poorly) skirting around general orders about proselytizing by calling it evangelizing and pretending there's a difference.

Methinks something is broken.

Alexah said...

(The Maddow situation was rough. Like Maddow said, not in the least surprising, but still rough.)

"We recruit people for Jesus!"

What is not fucked about that!? Can you only imagine if the faggy soldiers were all up in there, secretly printing off Sex In The City DVDs dubbed into Dari and Pashto, going "We recruit people for Ellen DeGeneres!"

Whole different story.

LiarsWorstEnemy said...

To it's benefit, America has never been a christian nation. The founders wrote a document precluding any religion from being an official part of it.

Unfortunately, the bigoted christians are trying like hell to shove their shit religion down our throats and making the false claim that America belongs to them.

The truth is America is acting very much like a "christian" nation by torturing and proselytizing to people from different countries who do not share the same religion. The words "freedom of religion" mean nothing to these bigots and THEY are giving America a bad name.

Jocelyn said...

LiarsWorstEnemy - America has never really been able to separate itself from Christianity. Though the separation of church and state makes an appearance in the founding documents, it's not enough to keep Christianity and American politics from being intimately linked.

Crazy fundamentalist Christians have a disproportionately loud voice in America to any other group. Yes, they make the country look bad, but they make the rest of Christianity look bad too. They should no more represent Christians as a whole than they should represent the country.

There is nothing Christian about torture. I would argue too that the kind of evangelization we see today is un-Christian as well. Evangelize behavior - being kind too one another, not judging your neighbor, loving your enemies, etc. - not beliefs. After all, Jesus was a humanist.

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