POLICYMIC – What Atheists — and Every American — Can Expect From Our Christian Military

Selected Article Excerpt:

You’d think we’d realize that poisoning a major armed conflict with elements of holy war would be a bad idea. But clearly, we haven’t studied our history. The British did much the same thing in colonial India. The Sepoy Rebellion exploded over the use of beef fat (offensive to Hindus) and pork fat (offensive to Muslims) in the packaging of minié balls. To load their rifles, Indian Sepoys had to bite the cartridge, releasing the gunpowder. Muslim and Hindu soldiers were thus unknowingly violating sacred religious commands. The incident incited religious violence across India, and further convinced India that the British were there not only to rule them, but to remake them.

The similarities between British India and American Iraq shouldn’t surprise us. An invading power will probably always be viewed with hatred and suspicion, generally proportionate to the level of force it uses against the occupied territory. In other words, most Americans might not be too terribly surprised that Iraqis loathed our presence in their country. But what most people don’t realize is the effect of militarized Christianity on our efforts around the world. In the May 2009 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Jeff Sharlet’s piece “Jesus Kills Mohammed: The crusade for a Christian military” describes the religious sentiments driving the Iraq conflict, as a part of his wider examination of evangelism in the U.S. Military.  Sharlet shows evidence for the idea that the religious motivations in the War on Terror are not solely Islamic ones. Feelings of holy fury come from our soldiers, too. Sergeant Jeffery Humphrey, then serving in Samarra, described it as follows:

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