Max Blumenthal has a frightening piece in The Nation about “Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military.”
As an official arm of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a “Military Crusade in Iraq” in the near future.
Left Behind: Eternal Forces: Worst. Game. Ever.
Even Marvin Olasky, the evangelical publisher, intellectual author of “compassionate conservatism,” and a force behind the George W. Bush Administration’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” denounced the Left Behind videogame. In a blog post on the website of his World Magazine, Olasky described the game’s content as akin to “the way homicidal Muslims think.” As a result of the fallout, Left Behind Games fired its senior VP and released three board members.
But that’s not all you get in the “care package”:
The packets also include “Gideon’s pocket size New Testament” and “Extreme Sports ‘Livin It’ Witnessing DVD.”
What’s more, OSU’s “Freedom Packages” include a copy of evangelical pastor Jonathan McDowell’s More Than A Carpenter — a book advertised as “one of the most powerful evangelism tools worldwide” — that is double-published in Arabic. Considering that only a handful of American troops speak Arabic, the book is ostensibly intended for proselytizing efforts among Iraqi civilians.
To make it even worse, the star of the OSU tour is a Baldwin brother:
Spreading the Gospel to US troops is only one of many crusades [Stephen] Baldwin has waged in the name of the Lord. During 2006, Baldwin frequently stationed himself on the sidewalk outside a pornographic video store in New York. There, he photographed the license plates of people entering the store and threatened to publish an ad in a Nyack paper publicizing the names of those who patronized the store. “In my position, I just don’t think I’m supposed to keep my faith to myself,” Baldwin told a group of Texas Southern Baptists in 2004. “I’m just doing what the Lord’s telling me to do.”
Makes you feel all good inside, doesn’t it?
(Thanks to Jonathan for the link!)
[tags]atheist, atheism, Max Blumenthal, The Nation, Operation Straight Up, Defense Department, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, Marvin Olasky, Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Jonathan McDowell, More Than A Carpenter, Arabic, New Testament, Livin It, Stephen Baldwin, God[/tags]