Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Bruce Wilson Headshot

Al Jazeera Special Report Covers Advance of Fundamentalism in US Military

Posted: Updated:

A June 23, 2009 report from Al Jazeera (English) by Josh Rushing, "Fault Lines - Religion in the Military", expertly covers a topic the US media has been reluctant to address: an aggressive effort, often abusive, coercive and even illegal, to advance a heavily sectarian, supremacist form of Christianity in the United States military.

Rushing, a United States Marine for 15 years, explained to Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft that he was initially very skeptical but had become personally convinced while researching his story. When Rushing told Scowcroft, "[Al Jazeera] received ...video of missionaries embedding with the US troops," Scowcroft responded, "...I would be very surprised if that were true. Missionaries embedded with the troops -- I find a very unusual statement." Rushing then informed Scowcroft that three half-hour show segments were aired on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) popular reality TV show Travel The Road, in which the show's central characters, "extreme" Christian missionaries Will Decker and Tim Scott, were embedded with US troops in Afghanistan and illegally proselytized and distributed native-language copies of the New Testament. Travel The Road claims to reach three million viewers per episode. Scowcraft, incredulous, testily declared he'd look into the matter.

[below, part 2 of Al Jazeera special report: Brent Scowcroft is incredulous]

[below: video clip from documentary aired on Trinity Broadcast Network, shows Christian missionaries embedded with US troops in Afghanistan]


Josh Rushing's Al Jazeera special report features, most notably, Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power and a May 2009 Harpers Magazine story, Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade For a Christian Military. Talk To Action contributor and Military Religious Freedom Foundation Senior Research Director Chris Rodda makes a brief appearance in the Al Jazeera special report as well. Rodda is also author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternative Version of American History (Volume I).

If Brent Scowcroft was incredulous concerning the embedded-missionaries story, he likely would have been rendered speechless by another story to recently have surfaced from Military Religous Freedom Foundation research, which concerned a highly connected chaplain endorser with power over perhaps 7-8% of US active duty military chaplains who has made made both veiled and direct calls for the execution of a sitting United States president and leading members of the US Senate. Some of that research appeared in the June 19, 2009 Newsweek story, Christian Soldiers: The growing controversy over military chaplains using the armed forces to spread the Word, by journalist Kathryn Joyce.

But Joyce's Newsweek article was framed as an extension of a preexisting story concerning the illegal distribution of Bibles in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the most disturbing research findings concerned the activities of individuals, both in the military and influential within the US military and Congress, who have made a minor career of promoting and mainstreaming a class of seditious and racist anti-government conspiracy theory that, presented in the guise of "Bible prophecy," arguably played an important role during the 1990's in helping to inspire right wing violence and the rise of the American militia movement.

I have included some of that material in my June 23, 2009 story, "Defense Department-Certified Agency Newsletter Suggests Killing Democrats" [also see these two Talk To Action stories: 1, 2]

Over 100 mainstream and alternative press stories and television and radio interviews addressing the attempted Christian fundamentalist takeover of the United States Military can be found here, collected on the Military Relgious Freedom foundation website.

[below, part one of Al Jazeera special report, "Fault Lines - Religion in the Military" by Al Jazeera reporter Josh Rushing]