in colonialism of centuries past the white man from europe usually made sure he came with his bible and his sword (and later guns–the bible remained the same, but the technology of violence, of course, is always changing). thus, watching a report on al jazeera last night about american soldiers sneaking in bibles to afghanistan came as no surprise. the only surprise was that this was not reported or discovered a long time ago. here is james bays’ report:
the bible and the sword (or now the f-16 and the tank) are two sides of the same coin as the american terrorists make clear themselves:
In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility “to be witnesses for him”.
“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.”
jeremy scahill weighed in on this too providing additional context:
The broadcast of this video comes just days after a new poll of White Americans found that, in the US, church going Christians are more likely to support the use of torture than other segments of the population. The Pew Research Center poll found: “White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.”
This is certainly not the first scandal where US military forces or officials have been caught on tape promoting an evangelical Christian agenda. Perhaps the most high-profile case involved Lieut. Gen. William Boykin, who was a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under Bush. Boykin was part of Donald Rumsfeld’s inner circle at the Pentagon where he was placed in charge of hunting “high-value targets.” Boykin was one of the key U.S. officials in establishing what critics alleged was death-squad-type activity in Iraq.
ps: there is a bit of good news: the gun toting, bible thumping american soldiers had their bibles taken away! i think we can thank al jazeera for this one!