THE BLOG
10/24/2014 09:06 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Evangelical American Extremists in the Middle East Are a Danger to Us All

MistikaS via Getty Images

Can you think of a worse idea than evangelicals, who believe they are serving God by killing Muslims, fighting Muslims who think they are serving God by killing Christians?

The US government should crack down as hard on both the evangelical freelance American mercenaries going to Iraq to fight ISIS and on American Muslims heading overseas to fight for ISIS. These people who want to fight in the name of Jesus or Allah are all a threat to us.

On BBC Radio 4 (Newshour, October 20, 2014) a journalist on the news program interviewed an American evangelical ex-US soldier who was in Iraq fighting for the Kurds against ISIS. He said "my country said this wasn't my fight, I had to do something about it."

He'd prayed about this, the former soldier said, and God "led" him to do battle "for freedom." He said, "There are hundreds more of us on the way over... I found this site on Facebook... I can't tell more details for security reasons..."

The "us" he spoke of are American former military men this ex-soldier described as "angry over Iraq since we fought for it." So they are back.

Think about it: Do we really want a steady stream of US military men and women taken hostages by ISIS and then being used as bargaining chips?

Do we want Americans who love war so much that they want to head back to fight freelance carrying US passports into battle?

Yet this is happening! The former soldier had already seen action. Will he be "unofficially" calling in air strikes?

This insanity provides a perfect example of just how dangerous the religious right's idea of so-called American Exceptionalism is.

Worse, here's the perfect storm of nut-job theology, armed and dangerous, combined with a hatred of President Obama, for getting us out of Iraq as best he could. "Have Gun and Jesus, will travel!"

The former US soldier being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 had been discharged after only two years of service for what he said were "personal reasons." No one serves just two years if things are going well. He said he'd "never gotten to use" his training. He deeply regretted that. Now he gets to kill at last. And this guy -- and according to him, "many more" like him -- are taking us to war with them. They will involve the US.

My son served in the Marine Corps for five years and did his job well. He was deployed two times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq, came home safely (thank God) and never wants to go to war again-- because he's sane.

My son also doesn't think saving the world freelance is his calling. Nor does he believe in holy wars God calls people to.

In other words, my son is like the majority of our wonderful men and women who defend us. They do so for us all not for the glory (or sick fun) of fighting. And they aren't hearing voices from God to go into battle freelance.

Didn"t the Blackwater debacle teach us anything? After seven years, Blackwater security contractors who had opened fire on innocent people have just been convicted.

Seventeen Iraqis were killed in that fusillade, and now this is worse: these American religious fanatics and/or war-lovers, aren't even answerable to the government as contractors.

To have evangelical extremest Americans on a mission from God in the Middle East is a disaster in the making.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book --WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace

Available now on Amazon

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