Killing for Jesus in the United States military: is it a healthy development?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
(from "Markham's Behavioral Health")
In the May, 2009 issue of Harper's Magazine, the lead article is Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military" by Jeff Sharlet which describes the rise of evangelical fundamentalist Christians in the officer ranks of the Armed Services and the havoc this plays not only on the esprit de corps of the troops but in the way that war is pursued by the United States in the foreign lands that it occupies and is stationed in.
Towards the end of the article Sharlet writes:
"Today, fundamentalism, based as it is on a vigorous assertion of narrow and exclusive claims to truth, can no longer justify common cause with secularism. In it principal battle, the front lines are not Iraq or Afghanistan but right here, where evangelical militants must wage spiritual war against their own countryman."
Sharlet goes on to embellish this statement with evidence:
"...Army Lieutenant Colonel Greg E. Metzgar explained that Christian soldiers must always consider themselves behind enemy lines even within the ranks, because every unsaved member of the military is a potential agent of 'spiritual terrorism.'"
Sharlet writes eloquently about the problem when he writes in conclusion in his article :
"They're spiritual warriors themselves, men and women persuaded that the only God worth believing in is one who demands that they break - in spirit and in fact - the oath to the Constitution they wear to uphold in their lives."
Sharlet's last sentence to his article is "True truth; truth that requires an amplifier. For the God soldiers, democracy is not enough."
George W. Bush who said that he believed that it was God who wanted him to be president, who developed alliances with the right wing dominionists, who poured billions of dollars into faith based initiatives, has contributed to the development of an America which is insidiously becoming fascist and when this kind of belief insinuates itself into the military, the citizens of a free democracy are in peril of loosing their freedom to religious fanatics who would have the world join them in their beliefs or die.
The scary thing is that they honestly and truly believe that this is what their God wants and that they will be glorified in killing for such a righteous cause.
In psychiatry this kind of delusional thinking has been labeled religiosity. It is not true religion but an egotistical belief that one's way of thinking is the only way of thinking and it is, of course, nuts. [MRFF Editor's Note: Click Here]
I saw an 18 year old young woman yesterday who is barely passing in her first year at college and tells me that she and a friend are thinking of joining the military. Unfortunately, she is getting desperate in considering her life choices and the military is making all kinds of promises to her and yet she has no idea what she is getting into.
I am of the Vietnam generation when there still was a draft, and I am against the draft and glad that it hasn't been used, that leaves us in a democracy with a mercenary military where people join voluntarily for the money and the opportunity of social advancement if they submit themselves to the discipline, regulatory environment, values, and thought patterns required to be a "good soldier", i.e. a trained killer who obeys orders from a superior. It is this voluntary abdication of ethical choice under the rationalization of obedience to a higher cause that destroys the fabric of a democracy and leads to totalitarian control. It is distressing to me to see this happening in the United States of America and to be ignored and/or accepted by its citizens.
MRFF Editor's Note: If you didn't catch it, Markham says that the term used by psychiatrists for the disorder of having religious delusions is "religiosity." The word "religiosity" should ring a bell because it's the word used in the Army's suicide prevention program instructions for what the Behavioral Health Providers are supposed to promote. So, the Army is telling its Behavioral Health Providers to promote a psychiatric disorder!
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