13 thoughts on ““Kill an Afghan Muslim for Christ”

  1. Afghan president chooses warlord as running mate
    05.05.09 07:14

    President Hamid Karzai chose a powerful warlord accused of rights abuses as one of his vice presidential running mates on Monday, hours before leaving for meetings in Washington with President Barack Obama and Pakistan’s president, AP reported.

    The selection of Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a top commander in the militant group Jamiat-e-Islami during Afghanistan’s 1990s civil war, drew immediate criticism from human rights groups.

    A 2005 Human Rights Watch report, “Blood-Stained Hands,” found “credible and consistent evidence of widespread and systematic human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law” were committed by Jamiat commanders, including Fahim.

    Karzai was “insulting the country” with the choice, the New York-based group said Monday.

    Fahim served as Karzai’s first vice president during the country’s interim government put in place after the ouster of the Taliban in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. During the 2004 election, Karzai dropped Fahim from his ticket in favor of Ahmad Zia Massood – the brother of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massood, who was assassinated by al-Qaida two days before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    Under Afghan law, the president has two vice presidents.

    “To see Fahim back in the heart of government would be a terrible step backwards for Afghanistan,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. “He is widely believed by many Afghans to be still involved in many illegal activities, including running armed militias, as well as giving cover to criminal gangs and drug traffickers.”

    The U.S. Embassy would not comment, saying it wasn’t helpful for the United States to comment on individual candidates. However, a U.S. statement said, “We believe the election is an opportunity for Afghanistan to move forward with leaders who will strengthen national unity.”

    Karzai’s popularity has waned in recent years, as civilian casualties caused by international military forces have increased and charges of government corruption persist. But so far no candidates who could challenge Karzai’s hold on power have registered for the Aug. 20 vote. Candidates have until Friday to register.

    The Afghan president formally registered as a candidate on Monday, then immediately left for the United States, where he, Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari are expected to discuss the increasingly perilous security situation in both countries.

    The U.S. is increasingly focusing on Afghanistan as it shifts its resources away from Iraq. Obama is sending 21,000 additional forces to bolster the record 38,000 U.S. troops already in Afghanistan in hopes of stemming an increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency.

    The choice of Fahim could be an issue for Western countries invested in Afghanistan’s success, said Mohammad Qassim Akhgar, a political columnist and the editor-in-chief of the independent Afghan newspaper 8 a.m.

    “Perhaps if Karzai wins the election Western countries are going to use this point as an excuse and limit their assistance to Afghanistan,” he said. “This is also a matter of concern for all human rights organizations who are working in Afghanistan and working for transitional justice.”

    Karzai entered the registration room flanked by the two men running as his vice presidents – Fahim and ethnic Hazara leader Karim Khalili, Karzai’s current second vice president.

    Wearing his trademark green and purple cloak, Karzai told reporters at the election commission headquarters that he wanted to run again “to be at the service of the Afghan people,” though he acknowledged there have been “some mistakes” during his five-year term as president.

    Massood publicly criticized Karzai in recent months for staying on as president after May 21, the date the Afghan constitution says Karzai’s term ends. The Supreme Court has ruled Karzai can stay in office until the Aug. 20 vote, which was pushed back from spring because of lingering winter weather, ballot distribution logistics and security concerns.

    In a reminder of the country’s perilous security, a suicide bombing, a roadside bomb and a militant attack killed 24 people Monday.

    The suicide bomber attacked the mayor of Mehterlam, capital of eastern Laghman province, killing six people, including the mayor and his nephew, the deputy governor said. In Zabul province, a roadside bomb exploded against a family riding on a tractor, killing 12 people, while militants attacked a convoy and killed six security guards, officials said.

    Aziz Rafiee, the executive director of the Afghan Civil Society Forum, said Karzai’s latest change of heart begged a question.

    “If (Fahim) was a good choice, why did (Karzai) remove him” in 2004? Rafiee asked. “And if he was a bad choice, why did he select him again? The people of Afghanistan will answer this question while voting.”

    http://news-en.trend.az/world/afghanistan/1465555.html

  2. Reuters
    04-05-2009

    By Emma Graham-Harrison

    KABUL – Afghan men are illegally collecting voter cards in the names of women, raising worries about fraud in the upcoming presidential election, the head of Afghanistan’s human rights commission said on Sunday.

    In Logar province which borders Kabul, nearly three-quarters of those who registered as voters were women, a suspiciously high ratio, said Sima Samar, chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

    “The men are just bringing the names of a woman and getting registration cards on their behalf and that is why I can say there is a possibility of fraud,” Samar told a news conference in the Afghan capital.

    The Aug. 20 presidential election, in which incumbent Hamid Karzai looks set to be the strongest candidate, is seen as a litmus test of the success of nearly a decade of international intervention in Afghanistan.

    A Taliban-linked insurgency is gaining strength across the south and east of the country. Thousands of additional U.S. troops are arriving this year to try and regain the upper hand as part of President Barack Obama’s new strategy for the region.

    Suspiciously high levels of female registration, in areas where women are often reluctant to travel, has also been noted in Paktika, Paktia and Khost provinces, as well as across parts of the south, Samar said.

    “The person registering should be there in person to take their card, and photos should be taken and fingerprints taken, and if that is not applied, it means that the officials who are in the registration site are corrupt,” she said.

    Samar added she feared voters holding multiple cards might be able to cast a string of ballots before getting a finger marked with the indelible ink which is supposed to prevent fraud.

    The U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide said the apparent corruption in handing out voter registration cards to men was a concern, but he hoped strong election standards would prevent anyone with a fake card from abusing it in the poll.

    “Of course we are worried about the irregularities, but … there is still a possibility to correct much of this on polling day,” he told Reuters.

    “Much more than last time our focus will be on what happens there at the polling station. We know that during the last election there was rather serious fraud at that level on polling day and immediately afterwards, and that is what the system we are trying to put in place now is intended to minimise.” (Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Sophie Hares)

    http://www.e-ariana.com/ariana/eariana.nsf/allDocs/7F2783C7D2043759872575AC007C601B?OpenDocument

  3. Former prime minister Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai said that the footage appeared to show “that in a foreign military base inside our country, people work against our religion.”

    “We consider this act as a direct attack on our religion that will arouse Afghans’ emotions to take actions against them.”

    Violence in Afghanistan this year has reached its highest level since the Islamist Taliban were ousted in 2001, despite increasing numbers of US and other foreign troops. …

    Trying to convert Muslims to any other faith is a crime in Afghanistan. An Afghan man who converted to Christianity was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2006 but was allowed to leave the country after an international uproar. – Reuters

    http://www.tradearabia.com/news/newsdetails.asp?Sn=INTNEWS&artid=160769

  4. First Published 2009-05-07, Last Updated 2009-05-07 10:48:20

    The Crusade for a Christian Military

    US forces made a translator shout in Arabic ‘Jesus killed Mohammed’ and then trained their American guns on anybody who responded as their Bradley fighting vehicle rolled out into the Iraqi city of Samarra. They concluded that every single Iraqi who took offense at these words was part of the enemy and therefore needed to be destroyed, notes Jeff Sharlet.

    Are US Forces Trying to Convert Afghans to Christianity?

    AMY GOODMAN: The former prime minister of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, has called for an investigation into allegations that US soldiers are trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. He said, quote, “This is a complete deviation from what they are supposed to be doing.”

    His comments come after a report on Al Jazeera showed footage of soldiers at Bagram Air Base discussing how to distribute Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari. The US military is denying it allows its soldiers to proselytize to Afghans. The military claims the Bibles shown in the video had been confiscated and destroyed and were “never distributed.” Admiral Mike Mullen told a Pentagon briefing Monday, quote, “It certainly is, from the United States military’s perspective, not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period.”

    The Pentagon has also sharply criticized Al Jazeera for releasing the year-old footage, which was shot by filmmaker and former soldier Brian Hughes. Military spokesperson Colonel Greg Julian said, quote, “Most of this is taken out of context. This is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism. There is no effort to go out and proselytize to Afghans.”

    Well, on Tuesday, Al Jazeera released unedited footage of the US soldiers’ Bible study in Bagram to counter the Pentagon’s allegations. These excerpts from the unedited video show military chaplain, Captain Emmit Furner, leading the discussion on the definition of the US Central Command’s General Order Number One that explicitly forbids active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion.

    CAPTAIN EMMIT FURNER: By all means, do as scripture tells you to do and share the word, but be careful how you do it. Do it professionally; represent the Christian faith in a professional manner. Proselytizing is against the rules. That means going out and just actively seeking out somebody. I’m not going to say a lot about it. Just be careful. Remember to represent the Christian faith in a respectable, professional manner. And there are ways to win people to Christ that not overbearing or offensive to people. There are ways to do it.

    Why do you think there’s a general order against it, proselytizing? Do we know what it means in order to proselytize?

    SOLDIER: You mean, Army [inaudible] a general order?

    SOLDIER: It’s General Order Number One.

    CAPTAIN EMMIT FURNER: Number one, man.

    SERGEANT JON WATT: You cannot proselytize, but you can give [inaudible].

    CAPTAIN EMMIT FURNER: Alright, let’s talk about it. What do you think? Our ability to interact with the culture here is important for our mission in this country, so we can eventually hand this thing back over them to let them do their own thing. The more that we win over the hearts and minds, the better we’re going to be in accomplishing our mission to eradicate insurgents and Taliban and everybody else who’s bad. We want more on our side, and we’re not going to have more on our side if they see us as Bible-thumping, finger-pointing, critical people. I’m not saying you don’t share the word. That’s what you do as a Christian. But you share the word in a smart manner: love, respect, consideration for their culture and their religion. That’s what a Christian does is appreciation for other human beings. But at the same time, I’m not telling you not to share the word of God. I’m telling you to share the word of God, but be smart about it, please.

    AMY GOODMAN: Another part of the unedited footage released by Al Jazeera shows Sergeant Jon Watt, the chaplain’s assistant, describing his experience of distributing Bibles in Iraq.

    SERGEANT JON WATT: The expressions that I got from the people in Iraq was just phenomenal. They were hungry for the word. And the carpet seller, when I bought my carpet, and then I put it away and came back to buy it from him, he kissed it three times and saying “Thank you” three times.

    When I had plumbers working on my building, the we could have moved into a brand new building on Camp Liberty, and I’ve been talking with the guy for a while, and there was three plumbers [inaudible] Hummer, and they jumped out of the back of it, and the guy was going, “In Arabic? In Arabic? Is it in Arabic?” because they can’t [inaudible] the Bibles, and yet the Koran tells them that is the word of God.

    So you make it as a gift, not as—you know, you don’t have to sit there and—if you make it as a gift and walk away from them, you know, I know like as our mission especially shows friendship, so the guy wants the Bible, and he can have it. That’s great. I know that a couple of the guys have got friendships built with Afghanis. That’s great. Otherwise, just let them remember they can have—where they can get it. Do not bring it personally. That way, you’re not in violation of the regulation, because that was what was determined from sticking into the regulations and everything, and the chaplains were saying you could to do it this way.

    AMY GOODMAN: The initial report aired by Al Jazeera included footage of Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, calling on soldiers to hunt people for Jesus.

    LT. COL. GARY HENSLEY: The Special Forces guys, they hunt men, basically. We do the same things as Christians: we hunt people for Jesus. We do. We hunt them down, get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into kingdom. Right? That’s what we do. That’s our business.

    AMY GOODMAN: I’m joined now by two guests who have closely followed this story. Jeff Sharlet is the contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine. He joins us from Rochester, New York. He’s author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Powe, which is coming out in paperback next month. His latest article is the cover story of the May issue of Harper’s Magazine. It’s called “Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military.”

    And we’re joined from Albuquerque at KNME-PBS by Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force veteran and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. A registered Republican, he served as legal counsel to the Reagan administration for three years and is author of With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military.

    We did call Colonel Greg Julian in Afghanistan and invited him on the program. He said, “We have a war to fight here,” and was unable to join us.

    Jeff Sharlet, first you. Talk about your reaction to these videotapes and the response by the military that it’s taken out of context.

    JEFF SHARLET: I think that’s anything but the truth. You know, what we see on that videotape is really just the tip of the iceberg. When Mikey Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, came to me and said, “You know, you should be writing about this subject,” I was a little skeptical that it could be as widespread as they said. But in more than a hundred interviews at every rank, I encountered that same kind of thinking. And the same kind of thing that you see there on display with Lieutenant-Colonel Hensley is replicated over and over and over, from private to general. But most frighteningly, it’s concentrated in the Officer Corps.

    AMY GOODMAN: You write extensively about Hensley. Tell us who he is and the significance of this videotape.

    JEFF SHARLET: Well, Lieutenant-Colonel Hensley, that you see in that videotape, you know, talking about hunting people for Jesus, was at the time the top chaplain, top military chaplain in Afghanistan. And I don’t know if you can quite make it out on that videotape, if you look closer at the T-shirt he’s wearing, it shows his affiliation with a sort of fundamentalist group called Chapel NeXt. And you can see a sort of a Christian cross inscribed over a map of Afghanistan.

    And if you follow that—I mean, the rest of that footage is just as equally disturbing. At one point, speaking of the sort of the apocalyptic times that he believes we’re in, he says that, you know, the US soldiers there have a mission basically to, you know, carry out the work of God. And then he declares that we, meaning the US military, “We are the new Israel,” and repeats this for emphasis, “We are the new Israel.”

    You know, I would have thought that was—this guy was just a kind of a rogue, a maverick, if I didn’t speak to so many other officers with just the same attitude. In the story, I talk about Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Young, who is also in Afghanistan at Kandahar Air Base, and he was quite plain in boasting about a PowerPoint presentation he had given to Afghan warlords explaining that American government was based on Christianity, that our Christian god was what made it great, and Afghanistan had a choice if it wanted to achieve democracy. And of course that choice was going to be for Jesus.

    These people don’t even know that they’re crossing the line between church and state.

    AMY GOODMAN: The title of your piece in Harper’s is called “Jesus Killed Mohammed.” Tell us where this comes from.

    JEFF SHARLET: Well, after about a year of interviewing military personnel, this was, in some ways, the most frightening story that I encountered. A man named Staff Sergeant Jeffery Humphrey, one of the very few soldiers who, in this military climate, had the courage to come forward and speak out about what he had seen, he had been stationed in Samarra. It was Easter. The day began calmly. A chaplain brought around a copy of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic film Passion of the Christ, which they then put on constant play throughout the day.

    When they came under attack, the Special Forces, Army Special Forces to whom he was assigned, had their Iraqi translator, an Iraqi American Christian, paint in giant red Arabic letters on the side of a Bradley fighting vehicle the words “Jesus killed Mohammed.” Then, while they put the translator on the roof with a bullhorn, shouting in Arabic, “Jesus killed Mohammed,” and then training their guns, training American guns on anybody who responded, the Bradley fighting vehicle rolled out into the city of Samarra and drawing fire everywhere it went, leading the Special Forces to conclude that every single Iraqi who took offense at these words, “Jesus killed Mohammed,” was part of the enemy and therefore needed to be destroyed.

    And I spoke to the man who drove that Bradley, Lieutenant John DeGiulio, now Captain John DeGiulio, promoted since. And he describes wreaking almost biblical destruction on one whole block, blowing up every single thing he saw. And he said he was able to do this, because God was on his side and because he had been spiritually armored by watching Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. And then he thanked his chaplain for preparing him for that kind of spiritual battle on the streets of Iraq.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mikey Weinstein, Air Force veteran, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, talk about how common this is and this videotape, what is your understanding of it, and how you experienced this in the military, if you did.

    MIKEY WEINSTEIN: Well, Amy, there’s a couple things. The first is, is that everyone remembers Eisenhower’s famous farewell speech, which was warning America of the dangers of a military-industrial complex. What we’re really faced with here is a fundamentalist-Christian-para-church-military-corporate-proselytizing complex.

    A few months ago, a four-star general, a commander in the US military—I won’t give his exact name, but commands hundreds of thousands of troops—asked me, “How bad is it, Mikey?” And I’ll tell your viewers today, and I’ll show them, exactly what I did. I said, “General, hold your pen six-and-a-half inches above your desk. Now drop it,” as I’ve just dropped that pen. I asked him why it dropped. And he said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Why did it drop?” He said, “Well, gravity.” That is how bad this is. It is that ubiquitous. It is that—it is in the very particulate of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind, which is our US military. It’s everywhere. We’re about two inches away, you know, from a fundamentalist Christian America through our US military.

    You know, I’ve come from a conservative military Republican family with three generations of Military Academy graduates. Three of my kids have graduated from the Air Force Academy. The only journalist that has grasped this and moved it into the mainstream media has been Jeff Sharlet. And he was incredibly, you know, skeptical when we first started talking a couple of years ago.

    And I beg everybody out there to at least just do two things. You know, read Jeff’s book—you know, it’s more than ten pages, so you actually have to read it—The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, or Empire, or whatever you want to say, and then the Harper’s cover story by Jeff.

    It’s very incontrovertible. What you saw in that, what Al Jazeera released, is nothing new. We’ve been talking about it forever. But there are hundreds of thousands of translated—into Arabic, Pashto, Dari—biblical tracks, Bibles, coins. There are so many para-church organizations: the Worldwide Military Baptist Missions, the Soldiers Bible Ministry, the Campus Crusades Military Ministry. You can’t count them all. This is how bad it is. And, you know, docile and supine America needs to wake up, because what we’re doing, we look exactly like the Crusaders of 1096 to the Iraqis and now the Afghans. And that’s all there is to it, Amy.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mikey Weinstein, tell us what the Christian Embassy video is.

    MIKEY WEINSTEIN: This was first written about by Jeff in, I think it was 2006—wasn’t it, Jeff?—in an article in Harper’s that came out.

    JEFF SHARLET: Yeah.

    MIKEY WEINSTEIN: And we took a look at this, and I was astonished. I remember it was Thanksgiving Day, and I was trying to find a way to stay out of the kitchen, so I wouldn’t have to help with the meal. I was reading Jeff’s story, and this thing blew up in my mind, couldn’t believe what I saw.

    This was a group of senior Pentagon officials, some of them like Pete Geren, who’s currently the Secretary of the Army, a number of generals and other folks that were in uniform being filmed in the Pentagon, and they were pushing the mission of this extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christian organization called the Christian Embassy.

    We demanded—we held a press conference at the National Press Club on December 11th, I think it was, 2006, demanded that the brand new Secretary, Gates, who had taken over for Rumsfeld, that he conduct an investigation. And the DODIG came back. And earlier in Democracy Now! today, we saw what one of the DODIG reports talked about with regard to those seventy-five senior military officials that were trying to sell the validity of invading Iraq. And that report came back and faulted seven of the senior officials for clearly crossing the line, not constitutionally, but essentially for wearing their Halloween costumes, their uniforms, at the wrong time. And most of them have since been promoted.

    And what generally happens when we catch the military desecrating the Constitution, which is pretty much every couple of hours, is that, you know, they stretch the crime scene tape, they say, “Move on, move one.” Their code one is it didn’t happen. Code two is it’s an isolated incident. Code three, it was taken out of context. And to Colonel Julian, who was too much of a coward to come on Democracy Now! today, when he says we have a war to fight, well, unfortunately, the war seems to be between fundamentalist Christians and the Constitution.

    What I would say to him is what Martin Luther King said, which is, in the end, Colonel Julian and Pentagon, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. And there comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. And our United States military, in the main, is betraying the oath it took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, not a particular weaponized gospel perspective of Jesus Christ, of which Jeff speaks about and has written about for many years.

    AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Sharlet, talk about the transformation of military culture. You do it very well, talking from World War II to now. If you could briefly tell us how it has changed.

    JEFF SHARLET: Yeah. You know, you could almost tell the story through one organization, Officers Christian Fellowship, which began in the World War II era. It was just what it sounds like, a fellowship of officers, mostly evangelical and conservative Christians. And it was fine. It was officers who wanted to get together and share their faith, and that’s why we have the First Amendment, so they can do that.

    Things started changing. After Vietnam, you stopped seeing a lot of liberal chaplains from the liberal Christian denominations. They didn’t want to serve in the military anymore. It really accelerated under Ronald Reagan, who took away all the restrictions and regulations that ensured, when you saw a chaplain in the military, it really was a little bit like Father Mulcahy, you know, someone who—Father Mulcahy in MASH is Catholic, but, of course, he can help and minister to everybody, and he’s trained to do that. Reagan wiped that out, so that the Chaplain Corps became predominantly fundamentalist. Some chaplains estimate today it’s about 80 percent fundamentalist.

    And then things really picked up after 9/11, when this group, Officers Christian Fellowship, started seeing America’s conflicts as what they described as “spiritual war.” And what’s really frightening is they describe it as a spiritual conflict between good and evil. They describe Mikey Weinstein as Satanic. This show would be Satanic from their perspective. And that’s the problem. They see—not only do they see those whom they’re fighting overseas as part of the opposition, but they see even those within the military who are not a part of their movement as, at best, unwitting tools of Satan.

    I mean, this sounds like loony stuff, but then you look at the size of the organization. It’s 15,000 members. It’s growing at three percent a year. It’s represented on 80 percent of military installations around the world. And you see, really, the fruition of a very long campaign that predates George Bush, to view the military as what missionaries called a mission field, not a branch of government, but as a place to go and harvest souls. And they’ve been successful now. And as Mikey Weinstein says, they’re so dominant within the military that they have become, in some ways, the mainstream rather than the fringe.

    AMY GOODMAN: Jeff, we only have a minute, but President Bush was close to the religious right. Obama isn’t as close to the religious right. Will this change the military? And what about his associations with Rick Warren, who was—you know, who gave one of the prayers at the inauguration?

    JEFF SHARLET: Well, if things go as planned, a general named Mike Gould is about to take over at the Air Force Academy, where Mikey Weinstein has been fighting for years for First Amendment freedoms. Mike Gould—in my story, I report, when he was at the Pentagon, he forced on his subordinates Rick Warren’s teachings, regardless of his subordinates’ religions. He said, “You need to look at Rick Warren.” That guy is about to be promoted under Obama. No one thinks Obama shares these points of view. I think there was some hope when he came in. And I think Mikey had hoped that there would be some real action. And instead, we see the same old guys being held over and, in many cases, even promoted. And it seems that Obama has taken a hands-off approach to this problem and is just ignoring it, and that’s only going to allow the movement to grow stronger.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mikey Weinstein, ten seconds.

    MIKEY WEINSTEIN: I would say that this is not a fight between Christianity and Judaism or between Christianity and Islam. It’s not a political spectrum, left or right, issue. It’s a constitutional right and wrong issue. And that’s what most of our military has forgotten or is deliberately, willingly, you know, forgetting.

    (www.democracynow.org)

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=31925

  5. Rumsfeld’s Biblical message-laden intelligence briefs

    By Jennifer Parker

    May. 17- ABC News’ Jennifer Parker reports: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld prepared top-secret military intelligence briefs for former President George W. Bush with cover sheets featuring triumphant images from the Iraq war with “Crusades-like” Bible messages, according to an exclusive report in the latest June issue of GQ magazine.

    The briefs, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, were prepared by Rumsfeld and often hand-delivered to Bush, and only circulated among a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president, according to GQ’s Robert Draper.

    A March 31, 2003 brief cover-sheet depicted a U.S. tank roaring through the desert with a biblical quote from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

    An April 7, 2003 cover sheet depicted an image of Saddam Hussein under a quote from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

    An April 10, 2003 brief showed the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down, an Iraqi child kissing an American soldier and jubilant Iraqi crowds with a quote from the book of Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him … To deliver their soul from death.”

    At least one Muslim analyst in the Pentagon had been offended, GQ reports, and others worried that the biblical passages would inspire Islamic outrage within Muslim nations.

    The cover sheets were the “brainchild” of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence for Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who reportedly told those who complained about the cover pages that “my seniors” appreciated them, including Bush, Rumsfeld, and former Joint Chiefs chairman Richard Myers.

    GQ obtained the sheets from an unnamed government official who “was disturbed enough by these biblically seasoned sheets to hold on to copies,” Draper reports.

    Source: ABC News

  6. Posted by: “bigraccoon” bigraccoon@earthlink.net redwoodsaurus
    Thu May 28, 2009 5:16 am (PDT)

    ‘Inside the Obama-Notre Dame Debate’ from The Nation

    If you like this article, please consider subscribing to The Nation at
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    Inside the Obama-Notre Dame Debate
    by James Carroll

    President Obama goes to Notre Dame University this Sunday to deliver the
    commencement address and receive an honorary degree, the ninth US
    president to be so honored. The event has stirred up a hornet’s nest of
    conservative Catholics, with more than forty bishops objecting, and
    hundreds of thousands of Catholics signing petitions in protest. In the
    words of South Bend’s Bishop John M. D’Arcy, the complaint boils down to
    President Obama’s “long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as
    sacred.” Notre Dame, the bishop charged, has chosen “prestige over
    truth.”

    Not even most Catholics agree with such criticism. A recent Pew poll,
    for instance, shows that 50 percent of Catholics support Notre Dame’s
    decision to honor Obama; little more than one-quarter oppose. It is, after
    all,
    possible to acknowledge the subtle complexities of “life” questions–
    When actually does human life begin? How is stem cell research to be
    ethically carried out?–and even to suggest that they are more complex
    than most Catholic bishops think, without thereby “refusing to hold
    human life as sacred.”

    For many outside the ranks of conservative religious belief, this
    dispute may seem arcane indeed. Since it’s more than likely that the
    anti-Obama complainers were once John McCain supporters, many observers
    see the Notre Dame flap as little more than mischief by Republicans who
    still deplore the Democratic victory in November. Given the ways in
    which the dispute can be reduced to the merely parochial, why should
    Americans care?

    Medievalism in Our Future?

    In fact, the crucial question that underlies the flap at Notre Dame has
    enormous importance for the unfolding twenty-first century: Will Roman
    Catholicism, with its global reach, including more than a billion people
    crossing every boundary of race, class, education, geography and
    culture, be swept into the rising tide of religious fundamentalism?

    Those Catholics who regard a moderate progressive like Barack Obama as
    the enemy–despite the fact that his already unfolding social and
    health programs, including support for impoverished women, will do more
    to reduce the number of abortions in America than the glibly pro-life
    George W. Bush ever did–have so purged ethical thought of any
    capacity to draw meaningful distinctions as to reduce religious faith to
    blind irrationality. They have so embraced a spirit of sectarian
    intolerance as to undercut the Church’s traditional catholicity, adding
    fuel to the spreading fire of religious contempt for those who depart
    from rigidly defined orthodoxies. They are resurrecting the lost cause
    of religion’s war against modernity–a war of words that folds neatly
    into the new century’s war of weapons.

    If the Catholic reactionaries succeed in dominating their church, a
    heretofore unfundamentalist tradition, what would follow? The triumph of
    a strain of contemporary Roman Catholicism that rejects pluralism,
    feminism, clerical reform, religious self-criticism, historically-minded
    theology and the scientific method as applied to sacred texts would
    only exacerbate alarming trends in world Christianity as a whole, and at
    the worst of times. This may especially be so in the nations of the
    southern hemisphere where Catholicism sees its future. It’s there that
    proselytizing evangelical belief, Protestant and Catholic both, is
    spreading rapidly. Between 1985 and 2001, for example, Catholic
    membership increased in Africa by 87 percent, in Europe by 1 percent.

    In their shared determination to restore the medieval European
    Catholicism into which they were born, Popes John Paul II and Benedict
    XVI became inadvertent avatars of the new Catholic fundamentalism, a
    fact reflected in the character of the bishops they appointed to run the
    Church, so many of whom now find President Obama to be a threat to
    virtue. The great question now is whether this defensive,
    pre-Enlightenment view of the faith will maintain a permanent grip on
    the Catholic imagination. John Paul II and Benedict XVI may be
    self-described apostles of peace, yet if this narrow aspect of their
    legacy takes hold, they will have helped to undermine global peace, not
    through political intention but deeply felt religious conviction.

    Something to Cheer

    No one can today doubt that the phenomenon of “fundamentalism” is having
    an extraordinary impact on our world. But what precisely is it? Some
    fundamentalists pursue openly political agendas in, for instance,
    Northern Ireland, Israel, and Iran. Some, like Latin American
    Pentecostals, are apolitical. In war zones like Sudan, Afghanistan,
    Palestine, and Sri Lanka, fundamentalism is energizing conflict. Most
    notably, after the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, the
    insurgent groups there jelled around fundamentalist religion, and their
    co-extremists are now carrying the fight, terrifyingly, in the direction
    of the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. Catholic fundamentalists in the
    United States are far from being terrorists, but an exclusionary,
    intolerant, militant true belief is on display this week in their
    rallying to denounce President Obama in Indiana.

    Obviously, these manifestations are so varied as to resist being defined
    by one word in the singular, which is why scholars of religion prefer to
    speak of “fundamentalisms.” But they all do have something in common,
    and it is dangerous. The impulse toward fundamentalism may begin
    with fine intentions: the wish to affirm basic values and sources of
    meaning which seem threatened. Rejecting any secular claims to replace
    the sacred as the chief source of meaning, all fundamentalisms are
    skeptical of Enlightenment values, even as the Enlightenment project has
    developed its own mechanisms of self-criticism. But the discontents of
    modernity are only the beginning of the problem.

    Now “old time religion” of whatever stripe faces a plethora of threats:
    new technologies, a shaken world economy, rampant individualism,
    diversity, pluralism, mobility–all that makes for twenty-first-century
    life. The shock of the unprecedented can involve not only difficulty
    but disaster. And fundamentalisms will especially thrive wherever there
    is violent conflict, and wherever there is stark poverty. This is so
    simply because these religiously absolute movements promise meaning
    where there is no meaning. For all these reasons, fundamentalisms are
    everywhere.

    In contemporary Roman Catholicism, whose deep traditions include the
    very intellectual innovations that gave rise to modernity–Copernicus,
    after all, was a priest–Catholic fundamentalists are more likely to
    be called “traditionalists.” They are galvanized now around the moral
    complexities of “life,” at a time when the very meaning of human
    reproduction is being upended by technical innovation, and
    once-unthinkable medical and genetic breakthroughs are transforming the
    meaning of death as well.

    Like other fundamentalists, they are attuned to the dark consequences of
    the Enlightenment assumptions implied in such developments, from the
    Pandora’s box opened by science unconnected to morality to the grotesque
    inequities that follow from industrialization and, more recently,
    globalization. Where others celebrate new information technologies,
    traditionalists, even while using those technologies, warn of the
    coarsening of culture, the destruction of privacy and, especially,
    threats to the family. In nothing more than its emphasis on a rigorous
    and comprehensive sexual ethic–anti-feminist, radically pro-life,
    contemptuous of homosexuality–does this brand of Catholicism echo a
    broader fundamentalism.

    In the immediate aftermath of the liberalizing Second Vatican Council
    (1962-1965), Catholic traditionalists, with their attachment to the
    Latin Mass, fiddle-back vestments, clerical supremacy and the entire
    culture of the Counter-Reformation, were rebels. That was why the
    anti-Council sect, the Lefebrites, including the notorious Holocaust
    denier Bishop Richard Williamson, was excommunicated in 1988.

    Today, as indicated by Pope Benedict’s lifting of that excommunication,
    the Vatican is the sponsor of such anti-liberal rebels. Instead of
    reading the Bible uncritically, as Protestant fundamentalists do,
    Catholic traditionalists read papal statements that way. To affirm the
    eternal validity of prior papal statements, as in the case of the
    on-going papal condemnation of “artificial birth control,”
    traditionalists willingly sacrifice common sense and honesty.

    If the Catholic Church is as opposed to abortion as it claims, why has
    it not embraced the single most effective means of reducing abortion
    rates, which is birth control? The answer, alas, is evident: the
    overriding issue for Catholic fundamentalists is not sexual morality, or
    even “life,” but papal authority. As Protestant fundamentalists
    effectively make an idol of biblical texts, Catholic fundamentalists, in
    obedience to the Vatican, make an idol of the papacy.

    When it comes to Notre Dame, ironically, American Catholic
    fundamentalists, including the bishops leading the charge against
    Obama’s appearance, are not going to be backed up by the Vatican. In
    Rome, a tradition of realpolitik tempers the fundamentalist urge
    of the current establishment. The highest Church authorities have long
    been accustomed to putting issues of theological purity second to the
    exigencies of state power.

    So, no insults of the American president will be coming from the Vatican this weekend, and its silence on the Notre Dame controversy will speak more clearly than any official statement on the subject might. Indeed, the long history of Roman Catholicism, where Puritanism has steadily lost out to robust earthiness, and doctrinal rigidity has regularly bent before the pressures of lived experience, is itself reason to think that Notre Dame University has found the truest Catholic response to the world’s present moment: its brave decision to honor President Barack Obama.

    This article can be found on the web at:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090601/carroll

  7. To Head Pastor – You may also look at this
    And share with others to use for evangelism, worldwide

    The Rescue Mission – important, and a must watch
    A special 15 min show, entitled; The Rescue Mission
    To watch this, simply click on this link: http://www.pasgom.org/hometoend.html#Scene_9

    Also for FREE download;
    [A] READABLE & PRINTABLE BIBLE: http://www.pasgom.org/bible/king_james-bible.pdf
    [B] AUDIO BIBLE: http://www.audiotreasure.com/indexKJV.htm
    [C] ETERNAL LIFE; http://www.pasgom.org/salvation.html
    Nice day!
    Nka

  8. some of my friends who are still muslim and they live in Kabul Afghnistan they want to become christian becausce they are realy intrested.
    but they dont know what to do and where should they prefer becauce they fear from tribal elders please contact or email us
    mobile: 0093-0778875291
    mail: abbas_alizada2001@yahoo.com

  9. Re #9: there are hundreds and hundreds of different Christian denominations from liberal to on the extreme Right, Blackwater/Xe mercenary boss Erik Prince who wants to exterminate all Muslims, so the question is basically unanswerable,

  10. Pingback: US atrocities in Afghanistan like in My Lai | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: New York Islamophobe murders Hindu | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Dutch occupation forces discriminated against Afghan translators | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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