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View Diary: Pentagon Pushes Apocalyptic Christianity. Hard. (275 comments)

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  •  This hasn't gone unnoticed, tho probably (14+ / 0-)

    not to the extent it should be in the headlines.

    Christian Embassy too close for comfort?

    Christian Embassy has been ministering in the halls of the Pentagon with little public attention for more than 25 years. But now controversy over a 10-minute promotional video has put the media spotlight on the close — too close, critics say — relationship between the evangelical group and high-ranking military officers.

    The flap started last December when the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group founded by retired Air Force attorney Mikey Weinstein, demanded a Department of Defense investigation into the appearance of senior Air Force and Army officers in a fundraising film produced by Christian Embassy, a ministry affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ.

    Now the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General has issued a report concluding that seven senior officers violated military regulations by appearing in the video. According to the report, released July 27, the officers were filmed during the duty day, in uniform and in identifiable Pentagon locations. Military regulations prohibit officers from endorsing a “non-Federal entity” while in uniform.

    Pentagon Chaplain Accused of Aiding Proselytizing

    On the heels of a scathing report issued by the Defense Department's inspector general that took high-level Pentagon officials to task for allowing an evangelical Christian organization unfettered access to the Department of Defense (DOD) to promote its fundamentalist agenda, comes word the Pentagon's top chaplain opened its doors yet again to another evangelical group whose leader recently spent two days at the facility proselytizing, passing out Christian literature, and "saving souls."

       The Constitution bars the federal government from establishing religion.

    Col. William Broome, the Pentagon chaplain, and his deputy, Maj. Alan Pomaville, invited Kistler's group to speak to DOD employees at a Pentagon prayer breakfast June 6 and in the Pentagon auditorium June 7, according to a copy of a recent newsletter published by H.O.P.E Ministries. Kistler, according to written statements made to his congregation, spent a considerable amount of his time at the Pentagon proselytizing to DOD employees in violation of federal law.

    Time Magazine 8/02/07

    The report cleared some DOD personnel of wrongdoing but concluded that the chaplain, Colonel Ralph G. Benson, had "provided a selective benefit" to the Christian Embassy by "mischaracterizing" the video as a documentation of the chaplain's ministry rather than a film promoting the Christian Embassy group and intended for outside consumption. The mischaracterization, the report noted, enabled the video's makers to film in recognizable Pentagon locations.

    The report also criticized four generals and two colonels who appeared in the film, saying they "improperly endorsed and participated with a non-Federal entity while in uniform." It observed that "their remarks conferred approval of and support to Christian Embassy, and the remarks of some officers implied they spoke for a group of senior military leaders rather than just for themselves."

    In the course of defending himself to the Inspector General's office, one of the generals asserted his belief that the Christian Embassy had become a "quasi-federal entity." This seems to support assertions by Weinstein that there is real confusion in high ranks of the military regarding armed service's secular status.

    Washington Post

    Free exercise of religion doesn't stop at the entrance to the Pentagon or other government buildings; it's appropriate for Christian Embassy to hold prayer breakfasts and fellowship meetings at the Pentagon as long as other religious groups have similar opportunities. But especially in the military, with its emphasis on rank and discipline, those at senior levels need to ensure that their actions are not seen as a government endorsement of a particular religion.

    The 47-page inspector general's report offers a vivid picture of how inappropriately intertwined Christian Embassy had become with Pentagon operations by the time the video, with its extensive scenes inside the Pentagon, was filmed in 2004. When Christian Embassy asked the chaplain at the time, Col. Ralph G. Benson, for help in gaining access to the Pentagon, Col. Benson obtained approval by "mischaracterizing the purpose and proponent of the video," the report found. His request said that a Christian Embassy film crew would be "filming various aspects of our ministry" and had "volunteered to help us on this project." In fact, Christian Embassy had approached Col. Benson for help.

    We aren't going to destroy the Republic by enforcing the Constitution, we destroy it by inaction, by being fearful of the consequences.

    by ghengismom on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:21:06 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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