When Christian Soldiers Break Bad

Military psalm tattooGet in the way of a Bible-believing soldier on a mission for Jesus, and things can get ugly fast. Just ask Bonnie and Mikey Weinstein, co-founders of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who regularly receive messages like these:

I’m the mother of 4 God fearing children of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do your kids and the Lord’s whole green earth a favor today and choke to death on a chicken bone. You’re a servant of Satan and deserve the flames which surely await you. 2 Peter 2:4. 1 Thessalonians 2:15

Ye better be able to grow eyes in the back of your head jewboy. Lovers of Christ will not be taking anymore of your menacing in the military. Christ’s message of salvation will conquer your kike attacks as Christ was victorious over the Pharisees.

PLEASE, do every real US citizen (ie true patriots) a huge favor & point a loaded 1911 at your temple and pull the trigger. If you’re too chicken-shit to complete the task, I volunteer to assist.

Why the vitriol and threats? The Military Religious Freedom Foundation defends the 250-year-old separation between church and state in the US military. Their legal team and volunteers jump into action in response to calls and emails from soldiers—either individuals or groups—who are being pressured to participate in the religious beliefs and practices of chaplains, superior officers or colleagues–beliefs that they don’t share.

It happens more than you might think: Fliers on plates in a dining hall. Bible verses on walls. Prayers at all-hands meetings. Inspirational lectures with a message of salvation. Speeches denigrating religious minorities or the nonreligious. Awkward invitations to a commanding officer’s Bible study or church. A decade in, MRFF says they have represented more than 50,000 clients—pushing back against violations large and small. Some Bible believers take that personally.

MRFF goes bulldog no matter who commits the violation. But the vast majority of their time is spent fending off fundamentalist Evangelical Christians that are exploiting the military hierarchy or public spaces and events to promote their form of Bible belief. Why center on fundamentalist Evangelicals? Because Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans, and even mainline Christians typically aren’t consumed with “sharing” their “good news” and questing for converts. In fact, the vast majority of MRFF clients are moderate Christians who value separation of church and state and their own spiritual privacy on the job.

Fundamentalist Evangelicals, though—especially in the military—are caught between a rock and a hard place. In their role as soldiers, their mission is to defend the United States including the American traditions of secularism and religious pluralism. But most religions teach that serving the will of God should take precedence over all else including any loyalties to nation or profession, and Evangelicals believe that the Bible commands them to win converts.

The word evangel literally means good news, by which Christians typically mean the notion that Jesus died for your sins so that you don’t have to be tortured forever in hell. Evangelical means centered on this salvation message, and evangelism means persuading other people that they too can be saved if only they believe. Where mainline Christians may elevate a Bible passage called The Great Commandment (love God and love your neighbor as yourself), many Evangelical churches elevate a passage called The Great Commission (go into the world and make disciples of every creature). In an individual life, prioritizing one or the other can make a world of difference.

The perceived biblical mandate to win converts means that some fundamentalist Evangelicals feel threatened by anything or anyone that obstructs this mission. And when members of the military blow past the founding fathers, laws, and military regs in their quest to serve Jesus, MRFF is one organization that steps in their way.

When you step in the way of fighting men and women, it should be no surprise that some of them react, not by self-reflecting but by fighting. What may surprise many people on the outside, though, is just how ugly that can turn. Christianity makes people better, right? The Church is a moral light unto the world. The fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, temperance, longsuffering. Christians turn the other cheek. They are generous and kind, just like Jesus himself. That’s what most Christian kids are taught in Sunday school, which is one reason Islamism looks violent when contrasted with (this idealized version of) Christianity.

But ideals and realities are two different things, and Christianity, like Islam, has always had a dark side. For both, that has always included divinely sanctioned death threats. The very same exclusive truth claims that motivated Christianity’s crusades, purges, inquisitions, executions, forced conversions, centuries of vomitous anti-Semitism, and hostility toward other religions still hold full force in some minds. Skeptical? Read Bonnie Weinstein’s latest book of hate mail from Christians to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation: When Christians Break Bad. Here is a sample to get you going.

Sharing the Gospel of the Son of God with our nation’s young war heroes was just an innocent picnic of love for sinners to learn how to rid themselves of sin through Christ. It could only be jacked up by some hell bound hook nose. With an anti-christian agenda of hate towards Jesus Christ.

Our military is sacred to Jesus and your fucking it up trying to take the only Son of God out of it. . . enjoy the sulfur fumes as your are consumed in the Lake of Fire for your 2nd death – Revelations 21:8

There is only 1 country which is the most pure and precious to Jesus and that is the USA. Our soldiers are soldiers for Christ. No separation of Jesus and state in the constitutions. We don’t need no queers or jewboys and sand niggers to bring down are once proud red white and blue.

Your organization is no different than those enemies of America. Why don’t you move to those countries and join the Jihad! You’re a disgrace to Americans who have died for your freedom . . . . May Jesus Christ have mercy on you . . . Cause I know conservative American Christians would love to watch you suffer.

Jews have that certain smell
you know, Mikie. That jew smell of murdering the innocent Lamb. The son of God. . . . Try as you might to keep Jesus out of our military you will just even more nail yourself to the cross of satan. And you will burn in hell forever. Every day will be a Dachau day for you. Every night will be a Kristallnacht. For all eternity. . . . Hell smells like Jews.

You need to be locked up and waterboarded until you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the full sinner you are.

. . . hope you die in front of your kids and burn in hell for the apostasy you fuckers are. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Are these emails—and the hundreds more like them and related images posted at the MRFF website—representative of how Christians think and behave? Of course not. They are not typical of even Evangelicals or fundamentalists, some of whom count themselves among MRFF clients. But they are a sobering reminder of Christianity’s dark side—and of the similar darkness in any ideology that makes exclusive truth claims, promotes division, competes for converts, and demonizes people who get in the way.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including The Huffington Post, Salon, The Independent, Free Inquiry, The Humanist, AlterNet, Raw Story, Grist, Jezebel, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

 

 

About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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23 Responses to When Christian Soldiers Break Bad

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Wow!
    WTF seems about the only appropriate reaction at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mriana says:

    I don’t understand how Xians can sing “they will know we are Xians by our love” when they spew hate at the slightest difference in thinking or action. Some even are so venomous that they want to kill at the slightest difference be it skin colour or thought. Yes, there are Xian groups that hate anyone who’s not white and bear weapons of war (see https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map ) . None of that is love. It’s pure hate and I don’t see how anyone would want to convert to something that hates others for stupid reasons, but as my husband says with thick sarcasm, “That’s the Xian love we’ve all come to know.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christians think they are made morally superior by their beliefs. The rest of us know they are merely human, and sometimes humans get really ugly.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mriana says:

        Oh I know all too well, especially after watching all the human apes that walk in and out of Hellmart (Walmart) every day. They’re all a bunch of animals! Well, some act with a little dignity instead of being worse than wild apes. I also agree that Xians do not have a corner on morality. Most of their morality is horrid.

        Like

  3. Steve Ruis says:

    This is the meta-Christianity (or one of them) preached by evangelicals. Others are “God is love” and “God wants you to be prosperous” and … well, you understand. Providing support for the “flock’s” beliefs no matter how vicious or silly or outright stupid is all part of the game. Religion in the hands of the religious and secular elites is nothing more than a mechanism to control the masses. Sit down, shut up, do your job, and don’t complain and you’ll get your reward when you die (and your enemies will get their just desserts). That is the message at its root.

    Liked by 3 people

    • bewilderbeast says:

      To me one of the crazy things is how they don’t seem to notice that the people telling them these lies are getting THEIR rewards right now, in material riches!!

      Like

  4. Gunther says:

    If Christ die for our sins, then why are people still committing sin? That is something that these military Christians and their civilian counterparts can’t or wouldn’t answer. If these military Christian don’t like what does the MRFF does, then they should be kicked out of the military with a dishonorable discharge and then they will find out that their faith doesn’t help them find a job, get a bank loan, rent an apartment, etc., because of that kind of discharge, It is like the mark of Cain.

    Like

    • Christ did NOT die for your sins.
      Child sacrifice was prohibited at the time of Abraham when God told him that the sacrifice of Isaac was not allowed and was counter-productive.
      Child sacrifice was a Roman and Philistine custom. (As well as pointless and non-productive.)
      If God told Abraham NOT to sacrifice Isaac then what possible benefit could there be by God sacrificing “HIS” son.
      It is one of the Three Basic Lies that underpins Christianity:
      1. Virgin Birth (from the mistranslation of the word for “young woman” from Greek into Latin.
      2. The “sacrifice” of Jesus (prohibited).
      3. Resurrection (just because the lie cannot be disproved doesn’t mean it isn’t a lie),

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gunther says:

        He did die for our sins because that is what the church leaders keep telling us when we go to church and you are not supposed to argue with them about it.

        “Child sacrifice was prohibited at the time of Abraham when God told him that the sacrifice of Isaac was not allowed and was counter-productive.”

        Well, God can do anything that he wants because he is above the law, so how are you going to bring him to trial for breaking the law?

        “If God told Abraham NOT to sacrifice Isaac then what possible benefit could there be by God sacrificing “HIS” son.”

        I don’t know why God did it, so you need to ask him about him if he really exists.

        Like

  5. Great piece, but you overlooked just one thing: you say MUSLIMS are NOT looking for converts in the Service? You might want to reconsider that and add them to the ‘Dawa/Evangelism’ list.

    Like

  6. Putney Swope says:

    Yeah, what Arkenaten said. Those people are deranged! In a way they are pathetic. To put so much of your conscious thought into an obviously human construct isn’t healthy. To become so unglued when that fragile construct is threatened is dangerous.

    Like

  7. kris mccleery says:

    Wowie wow wow! I’m glad I don’t belong to any cults. That was frightening to read!

    Like

  8. Labrys says:

    I’ve been writing a monthly check to the Weinstein’s foundation for a good while now, the anti-Semitic hate mail just makes me more certain of my support.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bewilderbeast says:

    The US military talks about courage all the time, but when they see an example of true courage – the real, genuine courage of Mikey Weinstein – they’re too scared to recognise it. Where are the generals standing up with courage to defend what is right? I see lots of examples of cowardice among the generals and the leaders who are responsible for the military; very few examples of true courage. Courage is doing the right thing EVEN WHEN it is unpopular.

    Like

    • Gunther says:

      Got that right about the US military lacking courage. They had no courage to stand up to Bush, Jr., when there was no evidence that Iraq had WMDs or that Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. allanmerry@allanmerry.net says:

    Ohh —– My —– Lucky Stars!! (Lucky to have Fled from “God” as a new-to-town 8 year old when the Sunday School teacher dismissed the rest of the class and then directed me to stay and get down on my knees. Literally Bolted out the door. With my parents subsequent approval.) Early 1940’s. We’d lived previously in small rural towns where my parents were public school teachers, and experienced “going to church” to be just something to fit in. OK, NOW! Y’all need to help ME with My initial Anger at the GARBAGE side of what I read above. “JUST PUT ME IN TOUCH WITH ONE’A THOSE IGNORANT PREHISTORIC JERKS AND I’LL INVITE HIM TO MY NON-CHRISTIAN HOME WHERE WE’LL JUST SEE WHO’S THE BIG TOUGH!! Wait, maybe not so fast; I’m a wasted 83 yo Pansy. Ohhh Kay, now I’m all better, but for better reasons. I suspect that there are WAY more of THEM, (if in varying degrees of ignorance of reality, for myriad individual reasons), than there are of us for whom “God” is Mom and Pop Nature (“MPN”) and the Cosmos. So then, MPN, More Power to the Strong realists. (We’ll do what we can.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Geoff Toscano says:

    I can’t help but think that the problem is an ever increasing rubbish tip of unwarranted hype.

    First of all, MAGA. Was America once great? Well certainly it’s been different, and has held differing values over the years (prior to the 1970s evangelicals hardly even considered abortion), but it’s always been hampered by outdated values, slavery, segregation, gun laws, bigotry, and extreme religion. Yet Americans are persuaded to the obsessive view that America used to be great, and can be great again if only it follows ways that they are told will do this but, in reality, are exactly the opposite, such as anti LGBTQ, science denial, confusion of church state separation, and hatred of Muslims.

    Then there’s a cynicism regarding authority, that’s ironically been nurtured by Trump attempting to deflect from his own shortcomings, such that many Americans have no ability to distinguish truth from fiction. Any worldview that is based on taking seriously Fox News is inevitably compromised. This is then reinforced by an approach to the world that is in denial of reality, from creationism, to ready acceptance of avoidable gun massacres, climate denial, ant-vax, and of course the idea that to be a decent person means being Christian.

    Lastly, there’s a very strange approach to the military. I don’t deny that they do a dangerous and necessary job, but so do firefighters, police, and social workers. Soldiers do a job for which they are paid yet whenever there’s reference to military service in any given context all of a sudden we have to become all deferential. ‘Bless you for your service’ or ‘you are a true patriot’, implying that nobody who doesn’t serve can be.

    Add these together and there’s a whole bundle of confused people who simply hit out in the only way they are able when they perceive threat. To many people, and especially those in the military, the idea that the most important thing in their lives, religion, can be challenged and controlled by those they have been conditioned into thinking are of Satan, is just too much for them to handle.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. bewilderbeast says:

    Hilarious thing is if you do think America was greater at some past time than it is now, it’s cos it was more socialist! The roads got fixed, bridges got built, people were represented by unions, rich people paid more taxes – the good old days! We SHOULD INDEED go back to those good old days.

    Like

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