I’ve decided to volunteer for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. They specialize in defending people of all religions and none from the increasing threat of aggressive Christian evangelism within the military.
To understand why this is an important issue, just watch the video above. It’s seven minutes of the most horrifying examples of Christian evangelism within the military that I can imagine, including statements that military ministries and parachurch organizations specifically, strategically target servicemembers when they enlist or when they are in extremely difficult training situations, knowing that they will be more emotionally vulnerable and open to manipulation at those times – one of these evangelists says his goal is to “meet them at their absolute worst.” They consider themselves and those they convert to be “government paid missionaries.”
And it’s not just within the ranks; another clip refers to everyone associated with a military base – servicemembers, dependents (like me), and civilian employees are all part of the “harvest field.” I am not part of anyone’s harvest field, thank you very much.
If you can’t watch all of it, skip ahead to 5:15 where the clips filmed in Afghanistan start. It starts with a video where military members are explicitly plotting to get around the part of General Order #1 by claiming that they’re not “proselytizing,” they’re just “giving gifts.” (Those gifts were specifically created Bibles shipped over for exactly this purpose.) That was shown on Al Jazeera. How much weight do you think the official claims that we’re “not at war with Islam” have when these kinds of videos get out, and this kind of behavior happens in the field? When Muslims experience their religion being attacked, this is writing Al Quaeda’s recruiting materials for them.
Finally, my spouse and I have gotten help from MRFF. When LitSpouse’s promotion was coming up, we questioned the inclusion of certain explicitly religious elements of the ceremony. For one thing, he asked whether an invocation was required; pointing out that there would be people of many religions and none in the audience and in the ceremony, he said that he didn’t think there was any way to give a non-exclusionary invocation. Others told him that oh yes, invocations are traditional, and as long as they’re not “sectarian” no one should feel excluded, and he absolutely has to have one. The MRFF told us differently and stood ready to defend us.
We found a creative solution: he declared that that was fine, and that he’d ask me, as a Priestess, to give a non-sectarian invocation to Goddess. All talk of invocations being required stopped immediately.
There are lots of people who aren’t as lucky as we were who vitally need the kind of support and protection that MRFF provides. I’m honored to be offering them help.
Please note that although I am a volunteer, nothing I have said or will say on this blog represents an official position of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. It is all my personal opinion.