Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Winning hearts and minds all over the place

Via David Neiwert and Ed Brayton, there's this terrifying article by Max Blumenthal. Take a look at this paragraph:

[Stephen] Baldwin became a right-wing, born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, and now is the star of Operation Straight Up (OSU), an evangelical entertainment troupe that actively proselytizes among active-duty members of the US military. As an official arm of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, OSU plans to mail copies of the controversial apocalyptic video game, Left Behind: Eternal Forces to soldiers serving in Iraq. OSU is also scheduled to embark on a "Military Crusade in Iraq" in the near future.

There's so much to worry about in those few sentences, least of which is that a bunch of religious kooks are sending are soldiers Left Behind. I mean, what else are they going to do with all those copies of a videogame that no-one else would buy? I'm sure our men and women in uniform could use them as coasters.

Worse is that this proselytizing, fundamental Christian organization is part of the Department of Defense, in direct opposition to the separation of church and state.

And then there's the fact that people are talking about starting a crusade in Iraq:

"We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war torn region," OSU declares on its website about its planned trip to Iraq. "We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq."

And then there's this:

What's more, OSU's "Freedom Packages" include a copy of evangelical pastor Jonathan McDowell's More Than A Carpenter -- a book advertised as "one of the most powerful evangelism tools worldwide" -- that is double-published in Arabic. Considering that only a handful of American troops speak Arabic, the book is ostensibly intended for proselytizing efforts among Iraqi civilians.

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