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[cross-posted at http://njdc.typepad.com/... ]

Wondering what attitudes toward Jews -- or atheists, Hindus, Muslims, and maybe even non-evangelical Protestants, for that matter -- the Bush Administration's Justice Department is willing to condone?

FOR THAT MATTER, wondering about the purported difference between "proselytize" and "evangelize?"

FIND OUT ON JUMP -- but here's a hint, and the word "unchurched" figures shockingly prominently, given that we're discussing the federal government and the American Constitution.

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:

    "The Justice Department claims an Air Force Academy graduate has no legal standing to sue the Air Force over allegations of proselytizing by chaplains, and asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.

    The government claimed Mikey Weinstein and his co-plaintiffs haven't shown they would be harmed by the alleged proselytizing and said their allegations have no substance.

    The motion, dated last week, also faulted the lawsuit for citing Brig. Gen. Cecil R. Richardson's quote from a New York Times article without including the next sentence of the story.

    Richardson was quoted as saying, "We will not proselytize, but we reserve the fight to evangelize the unchurched."

    Government lawyers said the next sentence read, "The distinction, he said, is that proselytizing is trying to convert someone in an aggressive way, while evangelizing is more gently sharing the gospel."

    The government motion said that makes clear Richardson "rejects aggressive efforts to convert individuals.""

So... the Justice Department thinks there is no harm in efforts by a BRIGADIER GENERAL to persuade his subordinates that they might want to become Christian?

Can anyone come up with a way in which it would not be intimidating for a junior officer or enlisted man or woman to be deemed "unchurched" by a Brigadier General who then followed up by "gently" invoking Christ?

Is this our America?

Originally posted to jefffromthenjdc on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 01:48 PM PST.

Poll

How much has proselytizing in the military affected unit cohesion?

0%0 votes
57%16 votes
42%12 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  The real difference. (none)
    The real difference between evanglizing and proselytizing has nothing to do with one being "gentle" and the other being "aggressive".  The real difference is simply that proselytizing is a broad terms that covers conversion to anyt faith, or even just an idea that isn't faith-based.  Evangelizing is a much narrower term that specifically means conversion to Christianity.

    I find it interesting that our armed forces reject the notion of converting recruits to any faith or idea except Christianity.  Apparently democracy and the rule of law are out, but Christianity is A-OK

    Don't believe me?  Here is is directly from Merriam-Webster online:
    Main Entry: evan·ge·lize
    Pronunciation: i-'van-j&-"lIz
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): -lized; -liz·ing
    transitive senses
    1 : to preach the gospel to
    2 : to convert to Christianity
    intransitive senses : to preach the gospel
    http://www.m-w.com/...

    Main Entry: pros·e·ly·tize
    Pronunciation: 'prä-s(&-)l&-"tIz
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): -tized; -tiz·ing
    intransitive senses
    1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith
    2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause
    transitive senses : to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause
    http://www.m-w.com/...

  •  Take a deep breath (none)
    Brigadier General Richardson is a chaplain.

    He supervises chaplains. He is not a commander of troops.

    Chaplains go good things.  They help military members (of any faith, or none) and their families deal with the special challenges of serving in the military.

    Yes, this is America.

    What matters most is what lasts longest.

    by Sargon on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 02:17:45 PM PST

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