Author warns of fundamentalist surge in U.S. military.
James Carroll James Carroll can refer to:
make inroads into to start affecting or reducing: my gambling has made great inroads into my savings
inroads npl to make inroads into [+ in the U.S. military in a way that could threaten America's ability to fight Islamist extremism.
Carroll, in a recent interview with Tom Engelhardt of The Nation Institute, talked about his experiences working on a documentary version of his book. Part of that project involved delving into allegations that an evangelical Christian subculture had taken root at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and, by larger extension, across the U.S. military.
Carroll was appalled by what he found.
"In the Pentagon today," he says, "there is active proselytizing by Christian groups that is allowed by the chain of command. When your superior expects you to show up at his prayer breakfast, you may not feel free to say no. It's not at all clear what will happen to your career. He writes your efficiency report. And the next thing you know, you have, in the culture of the Pentagon, more and more active religious outreach."
Continues Carroll, "Imagine, then, a military motivated by an explicit Christian, missionizing impulse at the worst possible moment in our history, because we're confronting an enemy--and yes, we do have an enemy: fringe, fascist, nihilist ni·hil·ism
a. An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence.
b. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.
2. extremists coming out of the Islamic world--who define the conflict entirely in religious terms. They, too, want to see this as a new 'crusade.' That's the language that Osama bin Laden Osama bin Laden: see bin Laden, Osama. uses. For the United States of America UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The name of this country. The United States, now thirty-one in number, are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, at this moment to allow its military to begin to wear the badges of a religious movement is a disaster!"
A former Roman Catholic priest, Carroll also warns about a rising tide of Christian fundamentalism around the world.
"My own conviction is that a crucial 21st Century problem is going to be Christian fundamentalism," he says. "Its global growth is an unnoticed story in the United States. Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia are now absolutely on fire with zealous belief in the saving power of Jesus, in the most intolerant of ways. A religious ideology that affirms the salvific sal·vif·ic
Having the intention or power to bring about salvation or redemption: "the doctrine that only a perfect male form can incarnate God fully and be salvific" Rita N. Brock. power of violence is taking hold. It denigrates people who are not part of the saved community, permitting discrimination, and ultimately violence. Hundreds of millions of people are embracing this kind of Christianity."
Carroll said the way to combat this trend is to remember the values of our Constitution.
He observed, "America is also a secular nation, of course. The separation of church and state
In related news, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is a watchdog group whose stated goals are to ensure that religious freedom is maintained in the United States military. has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of a soldier serving in Iraq who says he was intimidated by a superior officer when he tried to hold a meeting for non-believers.
The legal complaint alleges that Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist at Base Speicher in Tikrit, was threatened by a major after Hall met with fellow nonbelievers. Hall said he sought and received permission from the base chaplain before posting fliers around the facility announcing the meeting.
The gathering took place on Aug. 7. It was disrupted by Major Freddy J. Welborn who, according to the complaint, blasted the attendees and threatened to bring an action against Hall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was enacted by Congress in 1950 (10 U.S.C.A. § 801 et seq.) to establish a standard set of procedural and substantive criminal laws for all the U.S. military services. (It went into effect the following year. "and further threatened to prevent plaintiff Hall's reenlistment in the United States Army United States Army
Major branch of the U.S. military forces, charged with preserving peace and security and defending the nation. The first regular U.S. fighting force, the Continental Army, was organized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, to supplement local ." (Hall v. United States Department of Defense)