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Lately, truly groundbreaking research has been done by Bruce Wilson in conjunction with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Chris Rodda (author of Liars for Jesus, a damning expose of a form of historical revisionism popular in dominionist circles--particularly by the org Wallbuilders) in regards to a very scary subject: namely, the first well-documented evidence of a systematic attempt to "steeplejack" the Armed Forces by "Joel's Army" neopente dominionists in much the same way that the GOP was originally targeted. The info that's come out so far (much is still embargoed) points to strong involvement of one neopente parachurch group in particular--namely, Campus Crusade for Christ.

In this light, I've summarised info on CCC activities other than military steeplejacking so that people can understand just why this is an incredibly grave concern.

Campus Crusade--a short history

Campus Crusade for Christ is probably one of the earliest of what are now known as "parachurch" groups--groups that are not clearly linked with a particular religious denomination, but which promote particular theological movements.  Depending on whether or not Campus Crusade is considered a true parachurch, it could also be considered among the earliest attempts at an Assemblies frontgroup (more on this in a bit--yes, this does get complicated to sort out in the case of Campus Crusade).

The group's origins date back to at least 1951, when Bill Bright--who is claimed to be a Presbyterian but whom, as we shall see, tends to hold sympathies far closer to neopente groups--founded the first Campus Crusade branch at the University of California-Los Angeles.  Since then, the group has expanded dramatically--not just in college campuses (it can be said they have a worldwide focus, though some campuses have cracked down--more on that in a bit) but also expanding to non-collegiate focuses (including, among other things, the military infiltration noted by MRFF).

Campus Crusade's founder is also known to have been very, very heavily involved in the inner workings of dominionism.  Among other things, Bill Bright is a co-founder of the Alliance Defense Fund, a dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to the ACLU that often files lawsuits in promotion of dominionist causes; he is also known to have been not only a member of the Council for National Policy but actually a member of its directors board.  Bill Bright also founded possibly one of the first explicitly political-dominionist publications (Third Century Publishers, a front of Christian Freedom Foundation, which is in turn a front of Campus Crusade--yes, Campus Crusade has a lot of frontgroups; we'll get into that more later) that was instrumental in the original efforts to steeplejack the GOP:

In April 1976, Sojourners, a progressive evangelical magazine, published a report on a series of secret meetings convened by key Christian Right leaders in 1974 and 1975. Sojourners traced the rise of the New Christian Right to the 1974 formation of Third Century Publishers, established for the purpose of promoting books and study guides designed to link a comprehensive conservative political agenda with born-again Christianity." A meeting in 1974 convened to solidify the financial base for Third Century Publishers, was convened by Arizona Congressman John Conlan and Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, with attendees including 20-25.  The initial publications "were directed at manipulating Christians to accept political action as part of Christian thought." In 1975 a meeting was convened by Bright and Conlan to "train regional director in Third Century's strategy to gradually take positions of leadership with the government." Conlan told regional directors that Bill Bright would be working behind the scenes with his Christian business contacts to secure financing. They realized they needed a tax-exempt foundation that could receive donations for the work of the "for-profit" Third Century. "They approached and eventually took over the Christian Freedom Foundation, started in the 1950s to promote conservative economics," which was in financial trouble in the 1970's.

(Source: Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pp. 49-50; the segment details the later takeover of the publisher by Ed McAteer, instrumental in the later steeplejacking of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

Of particular note to military steeplejacking, Bill Bright is also a known co-signer of the Land Letter--a document between leaders of multiple dominionist groups that issued a theological justification for the invasion of Iraq which was sent to George W. Bush:

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20502

Dear Mr. President,

In this decisive hour of our nation’s history we are writing to express our deep appreciation for your bold, courageous, and visionary leadership. Americans everywhere have been inspired by your eloquent and clear articulation of our nation’s highest ideals of freedom and of our resolve to defend that freedom both here and across the globe.

We believe that your policies concerning the ongoing international terrorist campaign against America are both right and just. Specifically, we believe that your stated policies concerning Saddam Hussein and his headlong pursuit and development of biochemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction are prudent and fall well within the time-honored criteria of just war theory as developed by Christian theologians in the late fourth and early fifth centuries A.D....

Of note, Bill Bright signed the document as an official representative of Campus Crusade:

Sincerely Yours,

Richard D. Land, D.Phil.
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Southern Baptist Convention

Dr. Chuck Colson
Prison Fellowship Ministries

Dr. Bill Bright
Founder and Chairman
Campus Crusade for Christ International

D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.
Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.

Dr. Carl D. Herbster
American Association of Christian Schools

I am not the only one by far to have written on Bill Bright being surprisingly influential in regards to modern dominionism--"Mainstream Baptist" on Talk to Action has also written rather extensively on this matter as well.

As we shall see, much of the theological basis for hard dominionism and some controversial practices of Campus Crusade come ultimately from both the general theology and the coercive tactics of a surprisingly influential--and a surprisingly little-known--"parent".

Sorting out the tangled web of Campus Crusade's denominational parentage

As I have noted, determining whether Campus Crusade is a true parachurch or a front-group is in fact problematic--especially if one does not rely on sources that have the possibility of being whitewashed.  Among other things, Campus Crusade has very close links to the Assemblies--enough that it becomes difficult at times to tell if Campus Crusade was "borged" by the Assemblies, is in a "co-recruitment" partnership with the Assemblies (similar to the Dexter Yager upline in AmWay), or is in fact a front-group similar to the FGBMFI.

Surprisingly, even Campus Crusade admits this relationship after the death of Bill Bright:

ORLANDO, Fla., March 4, 2003—Bill Bright, founder, and chairman emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ and co-founder of Global Pastors Network (GPN), has selected John C. Maxwell, founder and chairman of the INJOY Group and EQUIP, Atlanta, Ga., to succeed him as chairman of GPN following his death. Bright has been battling pulmonary fibrosis for more than a year.

Global Pastors Network is a worldwide Internet portal and gateway for distributing training content and materials from the Christian community to pastors around the world. Launched in 2002 in a partnership with James O. Davis, founder and president of Cutting Edge International, GPN is a growing coalition of Christian ministries working together to train, equip, and assist pastors everywhere.

Already, GPN is accessible in 237 nations, provinces, and territories, and is preparing to introduce a core curriculum of training materials in all the major languages of the world. Bright has called GPN "the most important project I have ever been part of in my life." A new headquarters facility for GPN, The Bill Bright Leadership Center, is being planned near the Campus Crusade for Christ World headquarters in Orlando.
. . .
GPN’s 40-member board of directors includes:

   * Larry Burkett, Crown Ministries
   * Michael Coleman, Integrity Music
   * Steve Douglass, Campus Crusade for Christ
   * Paul Eshleman, The JESUS Film Project
   * Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse
   * Jack Graham, Southern Baptist Convention
   * Michael Little, Christian Broadcasting Network
   * Jesse Middendorf, Nazarene Church
   * Roy Peterson, Wycliffe Bible Translators
   * Robert Reccord, North American Mission Board, SBC
   * Adrian Rogers, Bellevue Baptist Church
   * Thomas Trask, Assemblies of God
   * Kenneth Ulmer, Faithful Central Bible Church

OK, let's note--the guy who now runs Campus Crusade is a member of an org that has strong links to "Joel's Army" stuff (they also run EQUIP Ministries, among others), has links to the Assemblies as well as a major denomination that was in part steeplejacked with the help of Assemblies men, and the Assemblies-man in question just happens to be the head of the entire United States Assemblies leadership.

More links between Campus Crusade and the Assemblies are happily promoted by the other partner--it seems the Assemblies of God practically claim Campus Crusade and Bill Bright as one of their own.    Assemblies churches seem to fall over themselves to promote Campus Crusade (even, in many cases, to the exclusion of the Assemblies' own "official" Campus Crusade-like group Chi Alpha); Bright himself seems to have been mutually friendly to Assemblies churches as noted in eulogies from Assemblies congregations.

Much harder to deny are official denomination-wide Assemblies papers promoting Campus Crusade as an explicit recruitment front for the Assemblies of God; this has in fact been noted by multiple persons who are walkaways from Campus Crusade.  

In addition, it seems Bill Bright himself explicitly endorsed some of the most bizarre bits of Assemblies theology.  The Assemblies happily promotes Bill Bright in writing about marathon fasts--a practice in Assemblies and "Assemblies daughter" churches where people go without food for 40 days at a stretch for "atomic power with God".  (I have written about the subject of "marathon fasting" in the Assemblies before, specifically in writing about the "Fire Bible"  which is now the official Assemblies study bible; I am in fact very familiar with this practice, in part, because the particular group I am an escapee of was a particular promoter of 40-day and 21-day marathon fasting.)  

In fact, Bill Bright was apparently fond enough of the practice that he set up a website at to promote the practice (the domain has since been purchased by domain squatters, but archives of the material are available via the Wayback Machine archives)--at least one archived copy indicates the website was in fact a joint affair of Campus Crusade and Mission America (the latter being an explicitly "Joel's Army" political dominionist group).  

It appears that Bill Bright may have even explicitly partnered with Assemblies-men at these times:

In 1994, Bright fasted 40 days during which he claims to have received a "prophecy from God" that a mighty revival is coming. He then issued a call for hundreds of liberals, charismatics, and  new-evangelicals to gather in Orlando December 5-7 to fast and pray for revival. An ecumenical Invitation Committee included such individuals as CNP's Rev. E.V. Hill,  James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Larry Burkett, and others like Robert Schuller, Charles Colson, Jack Hayford,  W.A. Criswell, Charles Stanley, Paul Crouch, Luis Palau, and Bill Gothard.

(Quite a number of the people in the "others" category are from the Assemblies or "Assemblies daughter".  Chuck Colson has very close connections with the neopente movement in general; Paul Crouch is a founder of TBN (yes, the "name it and claim it" dominionist network) and an Assemblies pastor; Luis Palau is an Assemblies televangelist; Bill Gothard has extremely close connections to the Assemblies and is a major promoter of not only extreme forms of religiously motivated child abuse but spiritual abuse in general; and Jack Hayford has connections with International Foursquare (in fact, he's the president of the denomination), the "Assemblies daughter" Aimee Semple McPherson founded.  The other two are SBC members, but Charles Stanley is a pastor of a heavily steeplejacked SBC megachurch which has promoted Joel's Army theology.)

One other bit of Assemblies practice that Campus Crusade has adopted--and which it has become wildly successful for, as well as very controversial--is the use of the "cell church" model.

Campus Crusade and spiritual abuse

Unfortunately, it appears Campus Crusade has also picked up a lot of bad habits from the Assemblies--including the use of not only an abusive model of "discipling and shepherding", but also the use of a plethora of front-groups.

Campus Crusade--like many parachurch groups with close links to neopentecostalism--have embraced the "cell church" method of "discipling and shepherding" that was originally developed in the Assemblies as their primary structure--generally, Campus Crusade recruits using cells, and eventually refers the recruit to a "parent" church (frequently, an Assemblies of God or similar neopente congregation).  This is a very dangerous thing indeed, as the "cell church" model--and the "discipling and shepherding" promoted therein--are among those methods of spiritual abuse most firmly documented to cause longterm psychological harm.

The book The Discipling Dilemma--which, among other things, published the study showing longterm personality changes in people involved in coercive religious groups--has expressed specific concern about the practices in Campus Crusade:

Another parachurch organization that influenced the discipling movement is a group known as "Campus Crusade." Bill and Vonette Bright are its leaders. They are as cheerful and sunny as their last name suggests. Bill has been in campus work for almost four decades. Campus Crusade has led the way among evangelical fundamentalists in several areas.

Historian Richard Quebedeaux observed that Bright is an authoritarian leader with a chain of command placing himself clearly at the top as leader of Campus Crusade. Further, he says, there is a lack of any effective self-criticism within the organization. Concerning Bright, Quebedaux adds,". . . it has been very difficult for him to divorce himself from the pietistic tendencies toward legalism and super-spirituality, despite his words to the contrary. " [8]  It should be noted that this criticism comes in a work about Bright and Campus Crusade that is highly favorable. Similar criticisms have been made concerning the leaders of the discipling movement among churches of Christ.

([8] Richard Quebedeaux, I Found It (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 176 ff.)

In fact, exit counselors have noted potential religious abuse related to the use of "cell churches" by Campus Crusade.  Rick Ross has in fact noted his concerns in a conference with campus directors on both the coercion in "cell church" groups and on other practices--namely, deceptive recruiting--by Campus Crusade:

Ross, who spoke Feb. 21 at ASU on the topic "Cults and Crusades: Conversion through Coercion," comes down the hardest on such religious organizations as Hare Krishna, Rajneesh and the Unification agendas and the recruiting practices of certain organizations targeted towards college campuses, specifically Maranatha Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade For Christ and Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship.
Between 65 and 85 people attend the weekly meeting of Campus Crusade For Christ even though there is no actual "membership," according to staffer John Burks. There are, however, smaller Bible study groups which have about 50 dedicated students who attend regularly. Burks said Campus Crusade is an "evangelical arm of the Church," and its members actively attempt to recruit interested students. "The distinction of our ministry is that you take the initiative to share your faith. If I just sit in my room all day, no one will know what is most important in my life."

Campus Crusade was founded by Bill Bright about 33 years ago. One of several booklets which Bright authored and is used by followers is titled :Jesus and the Intellectual." One passage states: "Commitment to Christ involves the surrender of the intellect, the emotions and the will - the total person."

Ross says, "this urging to give up your autonomy, give up your individuality, is very similar to what we're seeing in cult groups."

Burks says that is exactly what Campus Crusade is based upon. "We have just chosen to put our life in the hands of God."

Among the biggest offenders of non-disclosure of the group's identity by recruiters is Campus Crusade, Ross says. "They train their professional proselytizers in methods of deception. They are urged to approach potential converts without identifying themselves or their concerns clearly."

Burks explained the process by which the Campus Crusade informs students of the organization begins with a questionnaire. "I tell them I'm with an organization on campus and see if they are willing to fill out the questionnaire." The questions stimulate the student to think about various topics, including God and death, he said. "Through the questionnaire, it is very easy to get into a discussion."

Ross said he once exit-counseled a person who had left the Campus Crusade and said it was a "very tough case." He said the person's pupils were dilated and that he had trouble focusing attention. These are symptoms of mind control similar to those used in cults, Ross said.

"Either his view of a cult is different than mine or he is misrepresenting us," Burks said. "I will try to take a stand when it comes to cults. They are very deceptive and I don't want to be like that at all. We don't believe, as an organization, that you can force a person to believe in something."

The use of questionnaires for recruitment is in fact very interesting to me, as it is known that Scientology has a very similar method of recruitment (namely, through use of "personality tests" indicating one needs Scientology "auditing").

However, it's not just abusive "cell groups" and Scientology-esque "questionnaires" that are of concern.  Rick Ross also mentions something else that Campus Crusade has become well nigh infamous for--deceptive recruiting, both in snaring people in, and in a rather extensive network of frontgroups.

Campus Crusade--in what has been regarded as a potential danger sign in and of itself in various metrics of "coerciveness" such as the BITE Model--tends to engage in quite a bit of recruitment under false pretences.  Remarkably, a fair amount of the help for this comes from the two major corporate sponsors of dominionism most closely linked to the Assemblies and the SBC--the same two dominionist denominations Campus Crusade has close links with--the same two linked to the present scandal regarding dominionist steeplejacking.

Specifically, AmWay (and particularly the DeVos Foundations) are major funders of Campus Crusade, and Chick-Fil-A has been known to host events on Saturday mornings that are operated via a Campus Crusade frontgroup targeting dads and kids.  (Chick-Fil-A is also known for promoting Focus on the Family material in kid's meals, and the Dexter Yager upline of AmWay has such connections to the Assemblies that it can literally be considered a co-recruitment relationship.)

One of Campus Crusade's favourite methods of recruitment are setting up multiple organisations to target specific audiences--in particular, captive audiences.  The Wikipedia article on Campus Crusade has a very small list of frontgroups, but this is by far not complete; to my knowledge there has not yet been compiled a complete list of known Campus Crusade fronts.

Sara Diamond's Spiritual Warfare again notes the very early use of frontgroups by Campus Crusade as a major recruitment strategy:

In 1967, Bright launched a campaign called "Revolution Now" on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.  Hardly a God-inspired program, it was geared specifically toward thwarting the efforst of the movement against the Vietnam War and supporting Bright's friend Governor Ronald Reagan in his attempt to contain massive campus disruption.  Bright sponsored a week-long blitz of evangelism on campus, culminating with a faculty meeting at which both Bright and Billy Graham spoke.

With their short hair and straight-laced mannerisms, Bright's Campus Crusaders were woefully out of place on the Berkeley campus.  In order to have an impact, Bright instructed several of his staffers to adopt the appearance of hippies and form a front for Campus Crusade, called the Christian World Liberation Front (CWLF), so christened to mimic the campus Third World Liberation Front.  Bright explained the plan to  evangelical writer Richard Quebedeaux:

Christian World Liberation Front was, in the beginning, a frontorganization for Campus Crusade. We asked three of our choicest men to launch it, and most of our staff didn't even know about the plan.  Only about a half dozen of us were aware of what was happening and it was a test.  There was a powerful radical movement among the students then, and we were trying to figure out which route to take, whether we as a movement should adopt a radical countercultural approach on campus in order to be all things to all people that we might win them for Christ.

(Pg. 52.  Pp. 53-54 go on to discuss possible inroads to military steeplejacking by Campus Crusade dating from the early 80s.)

At least one group that practices this sort of recruitment by deception--Fellowship of Christian Athletes (which is one of those undocumented Campus Crusade frontgroups)--has a number of additional links between Campus Crusade and the Assemblies; one of Hobby Lobby's subsidiaries, Bearing Fruit Productions (which specialises in producing "Converted Injun Exploitation" films for the likes of Ron Luce's Teen Mania get-togethers), has a senior VP for FCA on its board of directors (T. Ray Grandstaff).  Hobby Lobby essentially operates as a de facto funding front for the Assemblies of God's international missionary and publishing wings; FCA also has rather explicitly partnered with Assemblies "youth missions" frontgroups in past.

FCA, of particular interest to the military steeplejacking scandal, has apparently promoted very similar methods of infiltration with sports teams (per walkaway Reggie White); in addition, FCA has been heavily connected with the USAFA "forced dominionism" scandal.  In cases of coercion in schools (which, much like the military scandal, have resulted in lawsuits), remarkably similar patterns of "mandatory dominionism" being enforced as a condition of participation have been noted.  In fact, no less than two ACLU court cases have been noted in regards to this--a suit which literally led to the creation of the ACLU of Alabama in the early 50s due to FCA coercion on football teams, and a more recent case by ACLU Maryland.

Another Campus Crusade frontgroup, Athletes in Action, has become particularly infamous for a particular method of recruiting they have specialised in--getting sports professionals to come to public schools for "anti-drug" talks that are marketed to the schools, and (once the kids are in the mandatory assembly) springing hardsell "altar calls" to the kids.  

Of note, both Athletes in Action and FCA have been explicitly banned in some school systems due to a recurring pattern of deceptive advertisement.

Unfortunately, this sort of deceptive recruiting seems to be the rule with Campus Crusade.  Among other things, they have set up entire "parallel economy" pharmacy organisations as recruitment fronts.

Another potential sign of religious abuse is the practice of "love-bombing"--showering a new "mark" with affection even as the world outside is condemned.  A support forum operated by an exit counseling group has in fact noted that love-bombing occurs by Campus Crusade.

Yet more signs of bad behaviour show up in the apparent promotion of Scientology-esque "deliverance ministry"--including the concept of literally hexing people in the name of Christ.  Sara Diamond's Spiritual Warfare again demonstrates such an example:

Under the influence of Sunday school teacher Henrietta Mears ­ who in 1949 had helped launch Billy Graham's career by sending 5,000 people from her Hollywood Presbyterian Church to Graham's Los Angeles Crusade -- [Bill] Bright developed the concept of "spiritual multiplication" using "Christian cells." The idea was based on the symbol of a triangle: two Christian students write their names on two sides of a triangle and on the third side they write the name of an unsaved friend for whom they pray and witness.

Once the new person joins the triangle, the "cell" splits into two more triangles in search of a third side. It was an organizational strategy intended to mimic (and defeat) Bright's conception of how communists organize.

(p. 51.)

This sort of thing--literally writing the name down of someone to pray they convert despite themselves--is a classic form of neopente "name magick", and has been used to not only target people but explicitly curse them to be miserable.  Walkaways are similarly targeted.

At least one walkaway from Campus Crusade on the Dark Christianity LJ community has noted how Campus Crusade tends to put pressure on people--among other things, if you choose to go to a non-neopente church, you will be encouraged to "pray about it"--and subtly (and occasionally not-so-subtly) encouraged to pick a more acceptable congregation.  The same person has described recruitment tactics--including, notably, a Campus Crusade publication called How to Make Your Mark: A Manual for Evangelism and Discipleship which is particularly telling on tactics:

For example:

* It tells leaders to evangelize to all people, but to select one's first and later target groups based on things like who the "opinion-setters" are on campus, which group might be "easy to reach," or what group might best further CCC's agenda quickly. * When people convert, the book recommends a specific follow-up appointments scheduled at particular times after the initial conversion (i.e. the first one is 24 to 48 hours after conversion). * "Filter" converts to see who would make a good "disciple" (person to become more involved with leadership, or to make more converts). Criteria include: "Does the person demonstrate availability?" "Does the person demonstrate faithfulness?" "Does the person demonstrate teachability?"... * In their favor, the book does stipulate that when selecting disciples, "Do not pressure anyone." * When hosting a well-known evangelical speaker, the book directs leaders to "disperse Christian students throughout the crowd for spontaneous and casual interaction during the meeting, and 'divide and conquer' evangelism afterward." It suggests preparing a program of meetings for new converts to attend, too, based on the recommendations for follow-up appointments. * It also provides directions on how to recruit people to go to conferences and work on summer projects (basicly a kind of soft-sell approach).

...with that, and knowing that Campus Crusade is essentially a subsidiary of "Joel's Army" you know why folks like me and Bruce Wilson are very, very worried.

Originally posted to dogemperor on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:03 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (31+ / 0-)

    This is meant as essentially backgrounder to MRFF's and Bruce Wilson's stellar research in regards to dominionist infiltration of the military--as Campus Crusade is bad enough to be considered a coercive religious group by many exit counselors, I figured backgrounder on why this is a Bad Thing would be appropriate.

    I also know I probably just painted a big-ass target on my backside with this :D  Ah well. So it goes. :3

    Anyways, yeah, I find it as disturbing as, say, if Scientology set up shop in the Pentagon--which is what we should be comparing this to, rather than to the nice Presbyterian congregation down the street :3

  •  you've done a lot of hard work here (9+ / 0-)

    great diary.  dovetails well with troutfishing's recent diary on the subject.

    Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

    by Mad Kossack on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:12:11 PM PDT

  •  FWIW (12+ / 0-)

    I have a diary on the Lost Boys of the FLDS coming tomorrow afternoon. And on TH I will be tying the FLDS to the larger picture as an example of theocracy--and of people who succeeded in isolating themselves from the rest of Americain the way the dominionists are doign via the parallel economy.  COlorado City is a small-scale example of what the dominionists ave planned for the rest of us--and we need to examine that experience and  plan ways to defeat the larger forces of dominionism.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:27:20 PM PDT

  •  Wow, that was very long indeed! (9+ / 0-)

    I wonder how they feel its OK to use tactics that are secret or hidden. My mother always told me to beware of someone that keeps secrets because they always have something to hide.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:37:08 PM PDT

  •  highly recommended (11+ / 0-)

    The Dominionists frighten me more than any group, foreign or domestic. I have only just begun to research their corrosive influence on rationality, their battle, if you will, on those of us who do not fall for the snake-oil salesmen and the rainmakers who would save us from evil, all the while working to ensure the complete and utter destruction of our mother earth.

    Thank you dogemperor for this diary. An amazing piece of work.


    by Maine Atticus on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 03:44:32 PM PDT

  •  Impressive. (5+ / 0-)

    Hotlisting and recommending.

  •  Wycliff Bible Translators is CIA (5+ / 0-)

    Also known as the Summer Institute for Linguistics.  They were a CIA front, posing as translators in rural South American and I Belive, the Philipines.

    CounterSpy blew their cover a long time ago.

  •  Scary? Not really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    73rd virgin

    The military provides a variety of (choices) when it comes to religious practices. And of course the GROWN men and women in uniform can pick whichever church they want off base. And of course they can pick not to attend any religious service at all.

    The latter is the most common.

    Now obviously things like what are alleged with MAJ Welborn should NOT happen, ever. But something of that nature would be a complete anomaly, at least from my experience.

    There is nothing "scary" or "spooky" whatever organization is trying "infiltrate" the Armed Forces. Religious organizations of all faiths have always done everything they could to try to convert people. Those religious groups focusing on the military, or law enforcement is nothing new.

    Whatever argument they have about their purported methods, I will counter again with the fact that we're grown men and women.  

    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 04:16:20 PM PDT

    •  Willfully blind? Or honestly blind? (7+ / 0-)

      Members of coercive cults are not "grown ups" since they have surrendered their intellectual prerogatives to the Sky God. That's what "Jesus Is The Intellect" means. They have willingly made themselves functionally children serving adults who are higher in the hierarchy than they are.

      When the officers above you, and above them, and above them -- all the way to the top of the Pentagon -- consider your service, and your career solely in terms of whether you are "saved" in the way they understand it, well then it hits home, doesn't it?

      The traditions of the military don't matter to these disciples. Being inside the cult is all that matters.

      If you cannot see that, or choose to not see that, then you are operating without a grasp of the terrain around you, and ahead of you.

      "The rule of the wise must be absolute . . . rulers ought not to be responsible to the unwise subjects." ~ Professor Leo Strauss

      by antifa on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 05:10:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because anyone who disagrees with you (0+ / 0-)

        MUST be some kind of blind, right? Especially when the live and work in the culture you're trying to describe.

        You said something interesting. "WHEN the officers above you". During 10 years of service in two different branches, it's never happened. I've also never witnessed it happening. And I have absolutely no fear that it ever will. And IF I'm wrong, I'll simply file an IG complaint.

        Now imagine this. Imagine you live in a nice, cushy neighborhood not dissimilar to that of Ward and Beaver Cleaver. Now imagine going on the internet and seeing multiple diaries discussing how bad the gangs are in your neighborhood... by people who don't even live there.

        Are you suddenly going to live in fear?

        Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

        by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 05:25:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, so . . . willfully blind it is. (0+ / 0-)

          Thank you for answering my question.

          To the normal layers of chickenshit that is the lubricant of military careers is added this whole 'nuther layer of how you stand with Jesus H.

          And you simply jump out of airplanes, pull the trigger, and "See nuffink -- nuffink!"

          To whom did you deliver your intellect, Sgt. Schultz?

          "The rule of the wise must be absolute . . . rulers ought not to be responsible to the unwise subjects." ~ Professor Leo Strauss

          by antifa on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 09:54:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I said (0+ / 0-)

            Because anyone who disagrees with you is "willfully blind". Words cannot express how completely arrogant that is. I respect the fact that you're probably of reasonable intelligence and you simply disagree with me. But your condescending characterization of my job and my opinion doesn't speak well of your character.

            Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

            by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:21:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, you're in good shape then . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              what you do not see can never hurt you.

              If somehow you someday encounter the sneaking, lying, deceiving Christianizing of the military that the diary describes, why, you will simply file a paper complaint with the IG.

              Congratulations on a stunning display of military intelligence!

              "The rule of the wise must be absolute . . . rulers ought not to be responsible to the unwise subjects." ~ Professor Leo Strauss

              by antifa on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 12:11:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Ah yes, our favourite critic responds :3 (9+ / 0-)

      My major concern with Campus Crusade's infiltration of the military is threefold:

      a) There is a rather substantial body of evidence (including, notably, testimony from exit counseling groups and walkaways from the organisation) indicating that Campus Crusade may engage in tactics (as part of its general recruitment) that constitute coercive tactics.

      Namely (using the BITE model), there are troubling signs that Campus Crusade meets the criteria of a coercive group under the Information Control (use of "discipling and shepherding" tactics, including informational control and "big brother" watching, as well as use of deceptive recruitment tactics), Thought Control (pretty much any critical information, including notably from mainstream Christian churches, is told to be "prayed over" and ultimately dismissed), and Emotional Control (among other things, the unethical use of confession) axes; there are also signs of it meeting some Behavior Control axes as well (people being discouraged from attending non-neopentecostal and/or non-SBC churches).

      In other words, Campus Crusade is not in fact behaving like a standard ecumenical Christian fellowship organisation.  Rather, it has documented use of tactics which are remarkably similar to those used by abusive groups--and pretty much only used by abusive groups.  (Their method of recruitment by deception in particular smacks far more of Scientology than of anything in the worlds of either Jesus or Paul, much less practices in mainstream Christian churches.)

      b) Campus Crusade has a documented history of very close partnership with, and use as a recruitment organisation for, a neopentecostal denomination that is increasingly recognised as a coercive religious group for the same reasons (for further documentation on this, a review of coercive tactics in neopentecostal dominionist churches and explicit comparison of the practice of "deliverance ministry" in the Assemblies with Scientology may be useful.

      This is particularly concerning, as the Assemblies are noted to promote a very highly militarised version of Christianity in which it is explicitly promoted that anyone opposed to the church will be destroyed by the "army of God"; there are indications that groups connected to the Assemblies have engaged in frank paramilitary training of youth towards this end.  (The movie "Jesus Camp" is in fact a documentary focusing on an Assemblies-run camp targeting children; I can state that "Jesus Camping" in Assemblies circles is unfortunately all too common.)

      c) Both groups strongly indicate that most things that people consider "moral"--not lying, not forcing one's faith on another if they say "no"--are in general disregarded by the groups in question (the Assemblies has a very well documented history of this in particular, including literal calls from regional Assemblies heads for the denaturalisation of all non-dominionists and involuntary exorcisms of potential walkaways, the latter of which have resulted in at least two lawsuits that I am aware of where courts have awarded damages for false imprisonment; Campus Crusade has demonstrated that outright deception is considered an acceptable practice for purposes of prosyletisation).  

      This throws into very serious question basic things like "Will they uphold the Constitution and UCMJ?" or "will they uphold internationally recognised rules of war?"--and there is some very disturbing evidence to suggest that in fact they consider dominionism to be above their oaths to the Constitution and that they may not in fact be acting in good faith (ex-General William Boykin and Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan--the former an Assemblies man and the latter an Assemblies chaplaincy candidate--were intimately connected with the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, and evidence has come out that explicit religiously-motivated abuse occured from both; of note, Boykin largely was in charge of the policies authorising the treatment at Abu Ghraib and at facilities practicing "extraordinary rendition", and Jordan was in fact head of interrogation at Abu Ghraib).

      In other words, I'd be just as disturbed if the Sea Orgs set up shop in the Pentagon and were setting up front groups in an attempt to "Clear the Planet" starting with the Pentagon; Scientology, of note, is well recognised as abusive and has also promoted a particular "final battle" theology. seem to take a great deal of umbrage at the concept of "Joel's Army" theology being harmful at all, especially to the military.  You've also mentioned being in one of the increasingly unusual units in the Army that has not had major problems with religious coercion of this sort (the Marines, as I understand it, have some of the least problems with religious coercion in the military) and is still enforcing the UCMJ.  (I will, for now, assume that you are in fact attempting to debate in good faith.)

      In that light, look at my writings and Bruce's like this--perhaps the documentation of the abuse that is occuring elsewhere can prevent similar abuses from occuring in your unit (for example, if the head of your unit ever changes).  It might not be happening in your unit--we'd like, ultimately, for all units to be like your unit and uphold the law, and to keep your unit from ever experiencing the sort of chaos that the US Air Force Academy had to put up with.

      •  Read my Signature (0+ / 0-)

        And then answer me this. Are any of your fears based on ANYTHING besides what you read on the internet?

        Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

        by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 05:27:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, yes. Yes, they are. (4+ / 0-)

          Honestly, do you wish to know what my fears are based on?


          How about this?

          (For the record, the reason I write about this stuff is because I was raised in the groups that are promoting this sort of material.  Saw it with my own eyes, just as much as you saw the Earth whilst jumping out of planes.)

          I'll go ahead and quote a bit of my own recollections, too, just so you can get the point:

          One of the things I still have nightmares over to this day--and modern political events don't help at all with this--is of Cold War sermons regarding the Final Battle.

          You see, they would preach that Russia (back then the USSR) was the literal country of Satan and its leader was the Antichrist.  And at the very end of things, Russia would use some Middle Eastern country--Iran was quite frequently mentioned--and would launch an invasion of Israel after having nuked Jerusalem.

          The US would begin a nuclear exchange with the Russians after that, which would end up with the US and Israel against the rest of the world in a nuclear Mother of All Wars to be centered on Megiddo Hill.

          Of course, all the True Believers would be raptured up first.  And they'd have a heaven-side seat to watch everyone else burn in literal nuclear hellfire.

          And the sick and sad thing was that they welcomed this. The preacher almost seemed to be in orgiastic joy over the fact that in 1984 the relations between the US and USSR had worsened to such a point people were thinking nuclear war was a very real possibility.

          I didn't know then that they were pulling this stuff out of the Scofield Reference Bible (along with their support for young-earth creationism and a lot of other bizarre things) and that the reference in the Scofield bibles were actually from Tsarist Russia--back when the Russian secret service was doing progroms against its Jewish population and printing things like The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion to justify them.

          I know that now, but I still have nightmares about how the whole church was so damned happy that literally the rest of the world was going to be nuked and they were finally going to Get Theirs Against All Those Non-Dominionist Heathens.

          The fact that we could end up going into a nuclear war with Iran doesn't help my nerves any at this...nor does the fact that, even to this day--fully 12 years after the Berlin Wall fell--they still claim that Russia is "Gog" and that Boris Yeltsin is part of a grand Satanic conspiracy.

          Oh, and by the way...they still claim the same thing now, and they also claimed back then (and nowadays) that Russia would use a proxy state to invade.

          Don't just take my word for it that Assemblies churches promoting this stuff, though.

          Hell, I've actually put up quotes from the Scofield Reference Bible complete with links where you can read the reference notes for yourself.  They actually have hymns in Assemblies churches about the Scofield Reference Bible--this is what most of their theology is based off of.

          Now, I know I can lead you to the "water" but I can't "make you drink".  But I will state this--hearing such stuff, especially when your church had Ollie North as a visitor justifying Iran-Contra as "God's work" and as a plot by God Warriors (tm) to deprive Satan of Nicaragua--well, that tends to scar you as a kid.

          Oh, yes.  I heard this stuff when I was in elementary and middle school.

          Compared to all that, jumping out of planes sounds like fun :D

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            I really don't care if a tenthousand bible thumpers were roaming the streets of Fort Bragg. They're grown ass men and women. The military provides access to ALL major religions (including) hiring Muslim and Jewish Chaplains.

            Every soldier knows about IG (the Inspector General) and can file a complaint if they ever feel discriminated against. In fact, every UNIT has an EO (Equal Opportunity) representative.

            The civilians on this site read these "investigations" and get all spooky-eyed. And I guarantee 99% of soldiers will read this and go, "WTF are they talking about?"

            Please tell me (specifically) what investigations have gone into this that did NOT involve the internet.

            Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

            by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 06:19:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In regards to access, etc. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              antifa, KiaRioGrl79, Sister Coyote, Zaq

              Actually, in the case of the USAFA scandal, there were documented cases (available in court record, as well as through the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) of non-Protestant groups being specifically denied chapel access.

              A great deal of the info--as has been patiently noted--in regards to military investigations is with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which also happens to be the primary group launching many of the lawsuits when the IG has not done something (and they do have documented cases on file, including personal testimony of soldiers, where complaints to the IG have been systematically ignored).

              Any further commentary in regards to the military end of things may be redirected there; in regards to early Campus Crusade efforts in the military in general not covered by pending or in-progress MRFF lawsuits, the primary source I have used is Sara Diamond's book Spiritual Warfare--which, of note, she wrote as part of a graduate thesis on dominionism and which is quite possibly one of the most definitive informational sources on neopente dominionism before 1995 or so (and, of note, in general does not rely on "stuff I found on the Internet").

              As for myself, I am actually not focusing so much on the military aspect of things--I'm noting the behaviour that Campus Crusade is very well documented as doing on a civilian level and noting why this may in fact be a concern when military members of Campus Crusade start implementing this stuff in the chain of command (and yes, MRFF does have documentation of this; some of it is being used in court proceedings and planned court proceedings, so it's still embargoed, so if you want access you will likely have to join MRFF's research team :3).

              At this point, I'm not entirely sure if you are just trying to engage in "defending the honour of the military court system", are astroturfing (either as a Campus Crusade member or potentially as someone in damage control in the military), or if you are honestly playing "devil's advocate" (I'm basing this on observations the past few days with your posting).  Again, as I noted, I can't "make you drink", but again, I will assume "devil's advocacy" :3

              Anyways, my concern about this is primarily as a survivor of one of the groups Campus Crusade partners with--among other things, because of my experience growing up in it, I've been diagnosed with PTSD (no, I don't draw any benefits from that, but trust me, growing up in this can scar as badly as being in a war zone--just via different mechanisms).  Some of my concern--and Bruce's--is ultimately that someone in charge of military policy is going to use dominion theology rather than actual tactical information for basing decisions on (like "do we go to war with Iran"), and will furthermore be in such a position that the IG won't be able to do anything about it.  

              I also have an additional, far more mundane concern than the spectre of war--I'd rather not see our soldiers dealing with PTSD caused not just by the stresses of war, but by actual hazing and coercion by their fellow soldiers.  I myself know a former Air Force pilot who was ultimately forced from service due to both sexual harassment and religiously-motivated harassment (including things like having personal items destroyed by superior officers because they were "satanic")--hence I know it happens.  I have another good friend who was at Ft. Lost-In-The-Wood who also got forced out in part due to religious hazing by dominionists.  The former has in fact had to seek treatment from the VA as a result.

              Trust happens.  And it ain't right.  Not for civvies, not for the military.  I don't want anymore "walking wounded" on either side of the fence, frankly.  Yes, you can go to the IG--but that takes time, and in the meantime, an EO officer can cockblock your request, superior officers can neglect to forward one's request to the IG, etc. Especially if you're in an active war zone like Iraq or Afghanistan--where you are being threatened with "fragging" by your fellow soldiers (and yes, this has happened--in fact, one of the guys who has filed suit with the MRFF has been threatened with this), even the time it takes for such requests to be investigated and churned through the military bureaucracy can be a veritable eternity.

              Our point is, we don't want it to ever be impossible for a military member who is the target of such things to go to the EO or the IG to have this looked at and not expect to have a fair shake.  In your immediate chain of command, you can still reasonably expect this.  Not every COC is like this, however, and it's this stuff in part that MRFF is working to fix.  They've seen a pattern (via testimonies from military members, ex-military, and through FOIA requests) that in many cases "going to the EO" or "going to the IG" is not fixing things, hence the investigations and lawsuits.

              •  Let's be clear on some things (0+ / 0-)

                First, everyone talks about the Air Force Academy scandal. I'm not familiar with it, nor have I ever been at the academy. I can't confirm or deny THAT particular issue. And I'm not saying other issues haven't happened on an individual basis.

                What I am saying is A: it's counter to everything I've ever experienced, after 10 years with two different branches of service. B: Every member can file an IG complaint, and every unit has an Equal Opportunity representative.

                "which also happens to be the primary group launching many of the lawsuits"

                Again misleading. Your "many of the lawsuits" consists of a grand total of ONE. The MAJ Welborn case is the first and only law suit the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has been involved in. Please show me something stating IG refused to act.

                "At this point, I'm not entirely sure if you are just trying to engage in "defending the honour of the military court system", are astroturfing (either as a Campus Crusade member or potentially as someone in damage control in the military), or if you are honestly playing "devil's advocate""

                Or option D: I'm expressing my honest opinion.

                You can knock yourself out going after Christian organizations. I'm more or less responding to, what I perceive to be, unreasonable fear and paranoia. Bootcamp will never become Jesus Camp. The military will always (overall) be a multicultural place to include multi-religious or the lack there of.

                Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 07:25:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In regards to your experience (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  antifa, KiaRioGrl79, Sister Coyote
                  1. I would consider yourself fortunate that you have, so far, never been involved in such a case.  It means the chain of command in your company is actually enforcing the law. :3  (Out of curiosity, which base are you presently stationed at, if you are allowed to divulge such info?  There's probably a lot of people who are going to want to transfer... ;3)
                  1. I have been in personal conversation with some of the researchers involved in the MRFF cases--hence why I know there are multiple lawsuits pending.  (I cannot give much more information on this, as this is embargoed.  Again, ask the folks at MRFF.)  Trust me, it's killng me to have to wait for releases too--but in many ways, it's like beta testing--things have to be kept in embargo until the documents are released in court.  (Yes, this is part of why info is slower to filter out than one would normally like.)
                  1. I am certain that persons in Guatemala also stated their boot camps would never become "Jesus Camp", either.

                  Personally, I'd like to ensure they never become "Jesus Camp"; trust me, I've been "Jesus Camped" and still bear the scars.

                  I want to make sure that every soldier serving his country in the US is in fact able to do so without the risk of being harassed into conversion by his fellow soldiers, his superior officers, and/or his chaplain.

                  1. Sara Diamond is not an "over the Internet" source.  For that matter, neither is Pentecostal Evangel (which, of note, is a print magazine of the Assemblies where they have printed Bill Bright's stuff). For that matter, neither is Richard Quebedeaux (whose book was largely sympathetic to Camus Crusade).

                  Hell, each and every one of the "internet sources" you rant about ultimately has its origins in Real Life Books.  You know, the kind of thing that dead trees are ground up into to make paper for :3  I do include web links for the sake of convenience--so that people who may not have access to the dead-tree-format stuff can go and look it up.

                  1. Sir, I never claimed to be any sort of a formal PI on this :3  I'm just a walkaway who grew up with this stuff and does my best to educate folks about it with the limited resources on hand (which, in the case of neopente groups, consist of a few research papers and books and a whole lot of documentation by ex-members--most of which has come about in the past five to ten years, largely via the Internet but via some print media as well, particularly the Institute for First Amendment Studies' Freedom Writer magazine (which should be available in back archives of better libraries' periodical sections).

                  I never claimed to be a Ph.D.  I never claimed to be all that good of a researcher.  I just point out what I can find in easily accessible media.

                  1. In regards to the "Christianity" of dominionism, a great number of mainstream Christians and even conservative evangelicals would have a bone to pick with you on that. :3  (In fact, some of the most strenuous objection to neopente dominionism IS from conservative evangelicals, who have often been the target of attempted "steeplejackings" and much abuse by dominionists.)  

                  I have, as a deliberate policy, not referred to neopentecostal dominionism as "Christian".  Firstly, I do not wish there to be confusion with non-dominionist forms of evangelical Christianity; secondly, neopente dominionism in many areas resembles non-Christian forms of faith that are known to be coercive.  (In regards to these practices, I refer you (as far as dead-tree sources go) to Steven Hassan's Combating the Cults; the Cultic Studies Journal (published by the International Cultic Studies Association in dead-tree format), Captive Hearts, Captive Minds by Janja Lalich, Cults In Our Midst by Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, Recovery from Cults by Dr. Michael Langone, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement by Ron and Vicki Burks, The Discipling Dilemma by Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr., and many more; in fact, Rick Ross Institute has a very broad list of purchase links to various books on coercive religious groups and practices, as does Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Institute.)  

                  Much of the literature in regards to coercive practices by neopente dominionist groups is being documented by survivors of these groups; due to the nature of much of the documentations being by survivors telling their stories, a fair amount is available primarily via the Internet and/or via exit counselors (who are restricted by confidentiality regulations regarding patients), research must include these sources, but there are court documents that do detail abusive practices of neopente groups (in particular, court cases involving Athletes in Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well as court cases involving involuntary exorcisms, newspaper reports of abuse occuring in churches, etc.; the Pensacola News-Journal had a particularly good investigative report on religious abuse at Brownsville Assemblies of God (home of the "Brownsville Revival", connected with Joel's Army theology) that is available via newspaper archives and was formerly online at their site (it has since been mirrored by Rick Ross Institute online--but you can get the dead-tree documentation if you wish), just for some limited examples).

                  It should be noted that the study of coercive religious groups is relatively new in and of itself; formal methodology in regards to testing the "abusiveness" of a group has only really come about in the past twenty years or so, and the recognition that "Bible-based groups" can in fact be abusive in the past ten or so.  It's been even more recently that coercive practices have been found to be common across coercive religious groups--in other words, Scientology and Soka Gakkai and abusive neopente groups use the same "base kit" of coercive tactics, only giving the "outer wrapping" of the Scofield Reference Bible or specific interpetations of Buddhist writings or bad space opera by L. Ron Hubbard; peel away the "skin", and the core looks identical.  Even more recently, these metrics have been found to identify specific traits that do not exist in mainstream Christian churches that have been used in study controls.  

                  Christian groups will of course use different reasoning (largely based on Christian apologetics) on why neopente dominionists are not in fact part of traditional Christianity.  As this can be a contentious subject even among mainstream Christianity, I focus on more of the  religious abuse aspect.

                  Again, my whole point in this was to note why someone might feel Campus Crusade even appearing to target the military could be problematic.  You've not seen it at your base--count your lucky stars.  We'd like to keep it that way.

                  •  OK... (0+ / 0-)
                    1. Not my current chain of command. Literally every commander, NCO, 1st Sergeant, etc. I have ever worked under in my entire time in the military.
                    1. That's funny, considering on their own website it specifically states that the SPC Hall case is their VERY FIRST.
                    1. And?
                    1. ALL of your "research" is published editorials and opinions of others who also claim "research". Go to any military base and interview the troops yourself. When it turns out you have to set aside 99 responses in order to focus on ONE, you'll know I'm right.

                    Look, here's the deal with all the books you read. "Dominionism" seems to be a soar subject for you. It seems that you spend quite a bit of time reading books, searching the internet, talking to MRFF, and lots of other material to validate your beliefs.

                    Since going to a military base together seems unrealistic, I invite you to set aside a time for us to talk with OTHER troops (live) online. For example, Yahoo Military Chat. We can spend hours going through different rooms talking to different people from all branches. I think you will find my opinion is by far the majority. In fact, I would be shocked to find one who agrees with you.

                    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                    by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:31:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And my final commentary (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      antifa, Sister Coyote

                      a) As I've noted, yes, dominionism is a personal "pet subject" of mine--I'm a survivor of dominionism and a whistleblower.  Of course it's going to be a personal subject.

                      That doesn't mean I'm not careful to dot my I's and cross my T's in researching, though.

                      b) This is going to shock you--I have talked with soldiers near my nearest base (a smallish urban warfare centre with a wee bit of a gold reserve called Fort Knox that you may have heard passing mention of).  I even have friends who were stationed at Ft. Knox.

                      The funny thing is, several of them have reported things like people only being allowed to go to dominionist megachurches on furlough.  (No, believe it or not, I'm not pulling this stuff out my arse.)  They've also had a rough time getting the relevant officers on base to give them the time of day about this.

                      So it's not happening on your Army base (again, as I've not seen reports of this level of misbehaviour in the Marines, I'll leave alone on that).  Good for your base.  (I've still not seen you mention at all where you are stationed, by the way.)

                      In fact, in my particular field of work, it's rather hard to avoid working at Fort Knox--as it turns out, a lot of the IT work in the area is on base or in support of the military.  I've also heard pretty much the same thing from OTHER folks in the IT industry who've talked with soldiers on this.  (In other words, it's not just my own circle of friends and acquaintances.)

                      b2) A lot of what the MRFF is doing is in fact personally interviewing soldiers--in fact, they have actively solicited reports of this sort of thing from soldiers.  (On occasion, the soldiers are having to report anonymously, because they WILL catch hell otherwise.)  Otherwise the MRFF would not know which bases to specifically target.

                      b3) Not a lot of soldiers are willing to speak out publically about this on bases where there are issues with religious harassment--because they themselves often become targets (as I've noted, the party involved with the one announced (my emphasis--there are others in the pipeline) MRFF case has been threatened with fragging by other members of his platoon for merely daring to join with MRFF in a lawsuit).

                      c) As I've noted to you multiple times, I'm sure if you contacted the MRFF you could probably get info on not only a few soldiers who HAVE noted this, but even bases where they have gotten multiple reports from.

                      d) So the MRFF has protection of religious freedom as its primary mission.  Is this necessarily a bad thing?  (You could just as easily argue that the ACLU "seeks out cases of civil rights violations"--oh, wait, you DID argue essentially that with accusing groups investigating racism of being ambulance chasers.)  

                      e) You still have not answered at least one important question, namely, what base you are stationed at (among other things, I may wish to confirm with my contacts that there have not in fact been any cases of religious coercion and/or harassment reported to MRFF from your base).

                      f) The manner of your posting is indicating to me that you may not in fact be purely acting as a "devil's advocate", so I merely have a few questions:

                      1. Why do you refuse to tell us what particular base (or if in an active war zone, what theater of operations--I do realise in those cases that noting the precise base may not be prudent for operational reasons) you are in fact stationed at?  (This is important so that the info you claim--that your base is entirely free of religious coercion--can be independently verified.)
                      1. For that matter, are you presently Army or ANG?  (Yes, this matters; among other things, there may well be differing levels of this sort of sillybuggers going on between reserves and "official" Army.)
                      1. Why is a self-proclaimed atheist so hellbent on not only attempting to defend dominionists (and yes, you have done this--you've dismissed reports of coercive Bible-based groups as being essentially persecution of Christians, which is one of the things that is definitely raising my index of suspicion) but attempting to actively deny any evidence (including the testimony of a JAG--so we can't even use the "unless and until a fellow soldier tells you to your face" line) that religious harassment is in fact occuring?
                      1. For that matter, it appears you're doing a whole lot of whitewashing and condemnation--not just of the MRFF's efforts (which are, as multiple people have noted, the first of their kind--in part because this is the first time a JAG has been actively investigating and had the access needed to properly investigate this matter), but also posting a letter from Barack Obama's campaign which you later (in the comments) explicitly condemned his plan to pull soldiers out of Iraq, and actively supported Rush Limbaugh's infamous commentary in regards to "fake soldiers" (where Limbaugh essentially accused soldiers who want us to leave the festering pile of shit that is the Iraq mess of being Democratic astroturfers).

                      Are you going to argue with the above at all?  (Yes, dearie, two of us can play the "OMG AGENDA!" game.)  

                      Knowing that this is a site that--whilst supporting soldiers (including pushing to get soldiers the care they are entitled to for wartime injuries like traumatic brain injuries and PTSD--unfortunately, rife in this particular conflict)--does not in general support the continued "police action" in Iraq--why the hell are you here?  Devil's advocate?  Astroturfer?  Secretly working for Hillary Clinton's campaign? :D  

                      1. Also, as a person who has a goodly number of Christian friends who are as opposed to dominionism as I am (possibly worse, in fact--they REALLY don't like the black eye that dominionists are handing what is perceived as Christianity by the outside world), why do you insist on conflating Christianity as a whole with dominionism (which I have already noted explicitly in this diary that I do not equate with Christianity, not even evangelical Christianity)?  Do you realise that good, God-fearing Democrats like Jimmy Carter also seem to have an identical issue?

                      If you choose to answer, good.  If not, I'm not going to be offended by this either--I am, at least, becoming increasingly convinced you intend to descend this into a pissing match (different than trolling, but still showing a remarkable unwillingness to hear the Other Side--I am at least listening to your viewpoint, and noting areas of disagreement) and would rather not have the entire thread soaked in urine.  I have had my fun for the night with this, and rather than call you a troll, I am simply going to retire, wake up refreshed tomorrow, and enjoy the first day below 90 degrees we've had for a while. :3

            •  In regards to the present Inspector-General (5+ / 0-)

              In the case of the US Armed Forces, a quick bit of research shows that the head is Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Green; Green has a history of (among other things) stating that claims of abuse at Abu Ghraib were "unsubstantiated" (the above is from Rep. Barney Frank's website).  It is a matter of record that at least the two top parties directly responsible for abuse (Boykin and Jordan) were in fact members of one of the groups connected with reports of religious coercion in the military; again, as noted, there are also reports of explicit religious coercion in regards to that particular scandal.

              There is also a record where the Inspector General failed to address serious safety violations reported to him in regards to the Wackenhut Corporation (a military contractor which produces munitions including missiles).  Many of these violations--which led to senators calling for an investigation, including Sen. Ron Wyden (from whose page this is from)--involved things like falsification of records and serious security violations (including unlocked doors and even a documented "sting" where an unauthorised party snuck in as a security guard).

              There are also calls for investigation on whether the Army was aware of complaints re Walter Reed Medical Center--people had written to the Inspector-General without results, and it took the scandal breaking the news for people outside the military to find out.  So far, it's been found out that the VA system for dealing with injured soldiers is a complete and utter shambles, but not much has been done to correct things.

              So.  Three examples where writing the Inspector General did Sweet F.A. on things.  

              •  There's not ONE Inspector General (0+ / 0-)

                Every base has an IG office, and every unit gets random IG inspections (which includes) sensing sessions with the soldiers.

                Look, the military is a HUGE institution. Anyone with the power of google can pretty much paint any picture they want. I could pull enough shit happening in our schools that will make people want to keep their kids locked up at home. But you know what? There are countless thousands of schools all over the country. I can pull up hot female teachers boning their students (where were they when I was in school?), school shootings, racisms, sexism, gay bashing (among staff) ANYTHING I want.

                What I'm talking about is an overall picture.

                I'd still like to know what investigative work didn't involve the internet. Fine, you read someone else's book. What else?

                Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 07:32:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh, a few other things. (4+ / 0-)

                  Like I noted, a lot of my own research has been spurred on (and it's not just one book, as an aside) as documentation showing others that things I directly experienced are not an isolated phenomenon.

                  If you're asking me to pull Bill Bright's corpse or Thomas Trask on here and having them publically admit it--it's probably not going to happen, because in general this is not their style.

                  Of course, you are also welcome to join a dominionist church and experience that wonderful sort of PTSD-inducing fun for yourself.  I don't recommend that approach, however.

                  (Also, as an aside--those "links I found on the Internet" that I noted are all, to a one, from Congressmen.  You are also welcome to write their offices for the hard copies, including the calls they likely got from their own constituents asking them to investigate.)

                  The Inspector-General I noted, as an aside, is for the entire Army--individual bases, as you noted, do have their own IGs.  The thing you've not been very keen to accept so far (and which MRFF will be publishing more proof on--they released a new press release on regards to the Department of Defense giving official sanction to the groups in question, and previous documentation in press releases from MRFF) is that--in part because people very high up in the chain of command have given official DoD approval for this activity--it is very hard to lodge IG and OE complaints in practice.

                  In addition, the culture at many bases not only discourages complaints to the IG but, in some cases, the IG is in fact explicitly biased towards those promoting religious hazing.  Such behaviour has in fact been documented at the US Air Force Academy and reports are also being investigated at other bases (including Ft. Leonard Wood, bases in Georgia, etc.).

                  Rather hard to go to the IG if the IG is in fact a member of the group doing the harassment, no?  (And yes, this is the case in some areas.  Ask MRFF if you want details on which bases have been noted as most problematic.)

                  •  MRFF.... (0+ / 0-)

                    Is an organization who sits around look for people who have been "religiously wronged". That's their sole purpose as an organization.

                    You know, I'm willing to bet there's some organization out there who will SWEAR racism is running wild all over the military. They will have "facts", stories, letters from soldiers who have been wronged, etc.

                    The one thing everyone keeps turning to is the AF Academy. I can't speak on that issue, because I've never been to the academy. And I rarely ever talk to AF officers.

                    So, by all means, go after individual cases of "religious oppression" or whatever you want to call it.

                    But the facts that I DO know is that the military is becoming MORE religiously diverse, it's hiring a wider range of Chaplains and it's granting access from a variety of religions. In another diary I posted a thread of a Jewish organization traveling to Iraq to provide materials to Jewish troops during the "holy season".

                    It's like this. I've spent YEARS in the military, in two different branches. I can't count how many different NCOs and Commanders I've worked under. I've also worked/trained/lived in many different bases. You're basically trying to convince me about the conditions of something I'm intimately familiar with.

                    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                    by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:42:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  that's a red herring (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              antifa, dogemperor

              "Please tell me (specifically) what investigations have gone into this that did NOT involve the internet."

              That's a red herring and I'd venture to say you know it.

              Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a library.  Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a newspaper.  Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a radio!  Or a telephone!  Oh look, Dogemperor used a telephone, that means the whole story is phony!

              Dude, you're grasping at straws.  

              You've said you're a recruiter for the Army.  OK, so maybe you don't want to see potential warriors scared off by the thought that they'll be subject to cult pressure in Basic?  That's legitimate, but face it head on!

              When some kid comes to you and says "well what about this?" instead of pooh-poohing it, deal with it and tell them "I haven't seen it myself, but I've read about it, and you ever run into it yourself, here's what you can do."  Empower them.  And in doing so, you'll be encouraging exactly the types of people who we need in the military, to stand up for the American tradition of respect for religious diversity and freedom of conscience.  

              •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

                You've said you're a recruiter for the Army.  OK, so maybe you don't want to see potential warriors scared off by the thought that they'll be subject to cult pressure in Basic?  That's legitimate, but face it head on!

                I'm sorry, but that is about the dumbest thing I've ever read. I'm (at least) giving you guys the respect of assuming you actually believe this crap. But so far, because I'm IN the military and disagree, I've heard "you're willfully blind" "you're trying to hide the truth to help recruiting", and a whole mess of other stupid assumptions. Hey, here's a thought. I JUST SIMPLY DISAGREE WITH YOU. Wow, what a concept! And yes, I'm sooo worried about applicants reading Dailykos. I would venture to guess about ZERO so far even know about this site.

                Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a library.  Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a newspaper.  Tell me what investigations did NOT involve a radio!  Or a telephone!  Oh look, Dogemperor used a telephone, that means the whole story is phony!

                Just about every legitimate investigation is multi-dynamic. And almost all will certainly involve face to face interviews (without editing or omitting ANY). How about interviewing military Chaplains, or the soldiers themselves? I'm not talking about only interviewing the very few who have complaints. I'm talking about speaking to random trooopers from many different bases. Or SOMETHING besides this or that internet blog/editorial/article.

                Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:55:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "simply disagree" does not spend quite that much (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  antifa, dogemperor, Sister Coyote

                  time and effort doing it.

                  Seems to me you've been bird-dogging these diaries for the last two days saying there's no there there.  

                  Look, I happen to be a strong supporter of nuclear power as part of the solution to the climate crisis.  When I get into it with some anti-nuker in whatever diary, I usually argue back & forth about four comments in each direction.  I don't stay on their case for two days at a time.  Same case with various libertarian points that I frequently make against people I consider to be nanny-staters.  

                  Simply disagreeing, or even vigorously disagreeing, doesn't lead to bird-dogging.  

                  The magnitude of your response is disproportionate to the magnitude of the stimulus.  


                  As for multi-dynamic investigations, that stuff requires money and lots of it: for travel, long distance bills, transcriptionists, etc.  

                  There is an illegitimate debating tactic that goes, "if you were really serious you would do X, Y, and Z," where X, Y, and Z are unaffordable or otherwise unobtainable in practice.  

                  Hey, if I'm such a firm believer in nuclear power, why don't I build a reactor next to my house, eh?   The answer is, because I don't have the half-billion to a billion dollars it takes to build the darn thing!  Oh, well that proves I'm not really serious about nuclear power, doesn't it?, because if I was serious, I'd raise the half-billion to a billion and get going!

                  The internet is becoming exactly what its architects at DARPA intended, when they handed the entire world our First Amendment on a silver platter.  A revolution in freedom of speech and press, the inevitable end of tyranny everywhere, without need of a shot being fired.  The ultimate weapon for liberty and justice for all.  

                  So as far as I'm concerned, the ability of any of us to access something infinitely more than the Library of Congress from out desktops, and publish to the entire world for not much more than the cost of basic telephone service, isn't evidence of sloppy journalism, it's evidence that those visionaries at DARPA were right on target.  

                  •  Thank you, Dr. Freud (0+ / 0-)

                    For your psychological analysis. I do simply disagree, and your assertion otherwise IS arrogant. It's no different than Rush Limbaugh saying, "oh, someone must have put that in your head. You're being used." or whatever retarded argument that might be.

                    The fact that you can't accept that a currently active soldier truly disagrees is rather sad.

                    That's fine that the diarist is simply stating his/her position based on very limited resources. Most of us do that. Just don't refer to yourself as an EXPERT or go on and on about your "countless man hours of research" (troutfish).

                    Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                    by USArmyParatrooper on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 11:57:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  For the record... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      antifa, Sister Coyote

                      ...I, at least, have not claimed to be an expert in much of anything.  (Maybe raising computers from the dead...)  I actually get a bit embarrassed when people claim I am an expert--I just look at it as rolling up evidentiary Katamaris.  (Which is something that will make no sense to you if you don't play Katamari Damacy.  I apologise in advance.)

                      Now, I really am going to get some sleep.  I also take no responsibility for what my fellow Kossacks may do in my absence :3

                  •  Actually, he seems to have been at this for a bit (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    antifa, Sister Coyote

                    At least based on his diary entries, he seems to have joined around September 14, 2007; all of his diaries have been pretty much roundly condemning of anybody who has noted issue with how the military is in fact run (including at least one defense of Rush Limbaugh's little "fake soldiers" comment, a swipe at Obama for commentary on his mailinglist about backing down from Iraq, and a missive accusing people speaking out against massive funding of the military-industrial complex of essentially handing Giuliani a win in 2008).

                    The particular "bird-dogging" of MRFF dates back at least to September 26, and I am getting an impression (and of note, some responders on Bruce's own diary post yesterday have noted explicitly) of possible astroturfing.  (I honestly would not be shocked at this and would in fact expect it--not just from dominionists; there are folks who Very Much are the "Officer Bradleys" of investigations like this, "Move on, nothing to see, move along".)

                    At any rate, I'm done debating with him--I need to get some rest :D

                    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                      I have flat out SAID I primarily speak on military issues.

                      including at least one defense of Rush Limbaugh's little "fake soldiers" comment

                      Post it. You can't? Thought so.

                      a swipe at Obama for commentary on his mailinglist about backing down from Iraq

                      LOL! A swipe at Obama? Post it. You can't? Thought so. Oh, wait. I know what it is. It must have been me posting that I finally donated to his campaign, or the few other posts I have urging others to do the same.

                      Yep, you sure got my number. Don't ever become a PI.

                      Looks to me like every bit of your investigative work has occured on the internet. That's. Not. Investigative. Journalism.

                      by USArmyParatrooper on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 12:17:40 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  This stuff is insidious. (7+ / 0-)

    Your work always fascinates me, dogemperor, and frightens me at the same time. I know that I'm never in for an easy ride when I see your name on the diary list, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy clicking on it. Thank you for all the hard work you've poured into this subject.

    Question Authority - Now, more than ever.

    by Zaq on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 04:55:11 PM PDT

  •  I have a question (6+ / 0-)

    Please forgive me if you think it's a stupid question, or it copies an already asked one. Considering how hard certain forces are working to evangelize the US armed forces, have there been any efforts to evangelize the Iraqi armed forces?

    I mistrust those who say they know what God wants, because I notice it most often coincides with their own desires - Susan B. Anthony

    by Pan Zareta on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 05:03:02 PM PDT

  •  your work amazes me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    farleftcoast, dogemperor, KiaRioGrl79

    and i appreciate it deeply.

    but it usually makes my head spin in such a way as to inhibit my ability to make a rational comment....and maybe that's for the best... ;)

  •  The Executive Summary version? (4+ / 0-)

    Is there such a thing?

    You, Troutfishing, and others have done great work on this important topic. But your diaries are sooooo long, and sooooo thoroughly annotated with links. It's a complex subject, and probably doesn't lend itself to an elevator speech.

    However, I really wanted 2 (max 3) pages of information with no more than 4 or 5 sources of easily digested back up information. I wanted it when a guy who has some standing in the community (and known to be a main of sincere and strong faith) said "I'm told evangelicals are seen as extremists, but I have a hard time believing that. I don't see how that could be".  I will want it again in future similar circumstances. I need a good overview of the forest, not a detailed description of every tree, when doors like that open.

    "Sir, you are giving a reason for it; but that will not make it right." Samuel Johnson

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 05:36:42 PM PDT

    •  I do wish I could condense it... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antifa, farleftcoast, KiaRioGrl79

      ...but if I did, I'd spend an eternity writing it, because some of this stuff doesn't compress well.

      Especially in the case where there is necessary backgrounder info...

      •  I understand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troutfishing, dogemperor, KiaRioGrl79

        Been in that position on other issues where I have some expertise and an overabundance of knowledge and information.
        However, with some time and effort, it usually can be boiled down to a few key points that will give most people a thing or two to think about; and with some pointers to additional research that can lead at least some to delve even deeper. It does make it easier to get the message in front of more people - which has to happen in order for any change to occur.

        "Sir, you are giving a reason for it; but that will not make it right." Samuel Johnson

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 07:03:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  sumarizing the issues... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor, Sister Coyote

      Thanks Catte, dog, and trout for bringing this up!

      Having subscribed to dogemperor for six months, I'm jumping in with a potential elevator speech.

      We need to answer three questions:
      -what are coercive religious tactics?
      -why are they dangerous?
      -how many people are hooked into problematic groups?

      -what are coercive religious tactics
      Cult methods of getting converts - stripping them of their identity through fear of being sent to hell or through fear of being alienated from the group, enforcing a uniform message and rules for group members. The desired outcome crosses personal boundaries and affects the victim's very definition of "self".

      -why are they dangerous?
      end-times theology which emphasizes the storyline of an ultimate battle and rapture, a literal belief in demons as disembodied spirits that take control of a (helpless) person, social isolation from the outside world...

      -how many people are hooked into these problematic groups
      THIS IS THE BIGGEST QUESTION! Most people may know a little bit about cults and their tactics. The dominionists that dog describes are secretive, and it's very hard to distinguish between a normal small group and a cell, unless you are inside one. (E.g. I'm attending a small group tomorrow where we will read MLK's sermons and talk about his genius for constructing nicely balanced comparisons and contrasts between viewpoints. E.g. my friend is joining an AA group because she desparately needs to change her behavior.)

      Expounding further, it sounds as if dominionism got more powerful and widespread since the early 2000's. They were set off by 9/11 which played into their dramatic depiction of devistating destruction, and gave them a tool to use in recruiting - a situation where emotions are so high that people do not evaluate the message very carefully. We have very mixed-up feelings about that day, every single one of us. Also, many people turned to religion to try to explain these difficult things.
      They've ALWAYS been trying to convert people, but it hasn't necessarily worked. Now they have gotten systematic and methodical, which seems to be producing results for them. How widespread is it - very hard to say. I heard that the scary type of megachurch is actually a revolving door - new converts soon wise up and head for the exit, only to be replaced by still more new converts. But I have no data on this.

      In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

      by Lefty Mama on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:36:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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