Why Are American Soldiers Illegally Proselytizing in Afghanistan?

And why do I have to hear about it from Al Jazeera?

Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai said there must be a “serious investigation” after military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were filmed discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country’s main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, tells 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.”

The whole video is pretty damning:

As the article explains, these soldiers know full well what they’re doing is illegal. They have been using a loophole — we’re not proselytizing… we’re giving gifts! (Of Bibles. In your native languages.)

At what point will the military take action against these soldiers and chaplains who abuse their positions of power?

(Thanks to Ed for the link!)

  • Brian

    WTF?

    Don’t they see that the problem is religion?
    Are they going to convert from BS islam to BS christianity?

    More abuse will be coming having one part of the people muslam and the other evangelical.

    Are my atheist soilder friends proselitazong for atheism?

  • http://www.CoreyMondello.com Corey Mondello

    I heard about this earlier from http://fromtheleft.wordpress.com

    I then forwarded to every Secular, Atheist, and other organization that supports the separation of church and state.

    Along with that, people should be familiar with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation: http://www.MilitaryReligiousFreedom.com, though I may just be preaching to the choir…lol

  • http://seantheblogonaut.com Sean the Blogonaut

    Great way to undermine any relationship building that may be going on between Afghans and foreign forces.

    These chaplains should be court martialed and sent home.

  • http://noadi.blogspot.com Noadi

    These chaplains should definitely be up in front of a court martial and sent packing. They are not only breaking the law and violating the code of conduct they are supposed to uphold, they are endangering soldiers lives by doing this. Other chaplains who are serving honorably and following the law are having their reputation trashed because of these people.

  • Matto the Hun

    The next time an uptight Christian whines about something like the Atheist Bus Campaign and how it hurts their widdle biddle feelings we should say, “How can it hurt you, this is a gift we are giving to you. How can you not like gifts?”

  • VorlonGuyverOss

    As a member of the military I have “witnessed” these types of occurrences first hand. People know that this is not supposed to be going on but it is the “will of god” and mans laws do not apply to them. The chain of command is festering with supporters of these individuals who knowingly and willingly turn a blind eye to the laws they have sworn to uphold.

    The problem is when any other belief structure from Asatru to Zoroastrianism would be hammered as hard as possible. Christianity apparently is not in the dictionary. Most followers of any belief structure are Uncritical Persons (intellectually unskilled thinkers) that have few Skilled Manipulators (weak-sense critical thinkers) and have even fewer Fair-Minded Critical Persons (strong-sense critical thinkers) living among them.

    Until the application of law is vigorously applied and the reason understood these behaviors will continue. Undoubtedly Christians begin to claim “persecution for following their religion”. Only the application of law being applied fairly, evenly, and continuously can negate this fallacious thought.

  • SarahH

    Color me not remotely surprised.

    I don’t imagine the Afghan people are terribly receptive to the idea. If a non-government group wants to distribute Bibles far and wide, let them. Our military shouldn’t have anything to do with spreading or encouraging or discouraging religion, period.

  • http://hepiusspeaks.blogspot.com/ Hepius

    The military is riddled with evangelical Christians. I ran into more than a few when I served in the Army.

    I am appalled at the behavior of these soldiers in Afghanistan. Their actions will be used by our enemies as justification for war against the United States. What a great recruiting tool for jihadis.

    I’ve blogged about my interactions with Christian members of the military. One who had never heard of an atheist:

    http://hepiusspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/03/i-am-devil.html

    Another whose wife broke down in tears when she heard of my atheism:

    http://hepiusspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/06/why-are-you-crying.html

  • http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/blog JD

    The military responded by saying this was both “out of context” and “irresponsible and inappropriate journalism.”

    There may be some truth to that.

    http://christianfighterpilot.com/blog/?p=321

  • Pingback: American soldiers filmed discussing proselytizing tactics on Afghan airbase « Media Gadfly

  • Pedro in the Netherlands

    This is obscene…..they shouldn’t be there in the first place and now they’re trying to convert the natives..sounds like 18th century colonialism to me.

    The Bush Legacy huh !!!

  • TXatheist

    Hemant(my brother in reason), you have got to know the military is still the good ol boy system. At 4:15 they say the line for prostelytizing and evangelizing is the subject of intense debate. Well, if a soldier comes to a chaplain and says he/she is evangelical then talk about jc. If he’s a wiccan/atheist/muslim/sihk/jain then don’t.

  • TXatheist
  • Larry

    If there was even a question of whether it would be considered proselytizing-which the video proves there was-then the issue should have been dropped…end of meeting folks.

    This is embarrassing to those military members who strive to do things right-which means legally. I can only hope that their commander hangs them out to dry.

    Retired U.S. Marine


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