Below is a report aired last night on Al Jazeera about how evangelical Christian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan are allegedly proselytizing to the local population. (I found the clip on The Huffington Post.)
The Highly Ominous voice-over guy makes it sound like our soldiers are diabolically handing out poison apples to Afghan children.
This report (as poorly done as it is: you can’t even tell if the soldiers are proselytizing or not) in two ways reminded me of why I’m proud to be American. First, it talks a lot about how American soldiers proselytizing breaks all kinds of American military rules of engagement. American soldiers aren‘t allowed to proselytize—and that’s a beautiful thing, since it means that no one facing an occupying American force ever has to think we’re there for any other reason but to help them live the life they want to lead (as opposed to the one we want them to lead). That way we’re always friends, and never bullies. (I mean, you know: ideally, of course.)
We’re not afraid to let people choose for themselves which religious system is best for them. We encourage comparison.