Friday, May 08, 2009

Destruction of Bibles reflects poorly on U.S. military

The destruction of Bibles sent to a U.S. soldier based in Afghanistan because of their possible use to evangelize the local Afghan people “sets a very bad picture of the U.S. military's perspective on Christianity, and frankly that troubles me” says President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller in a recent interview with Mission Network News. "Had this been six or seven copies of the Koran that were destroyed, there would be no end to the amount of protest you would hear."

Moeller noted that the Bibles didn't need to be destroyed. "There's certainly many organizations that could put them to good use. Any time you see a Bible destroyed, it really should shake the core of every Christian to realize that this is the kind of desecration that can happen to God's Word." [to read or listen to the entire interview, click here].


Anonymous said...

That's the most disguting thing I've heard from the US army; really how can they destroy their own spirit, their own soul? these soldiers need to understand that christiannity is the core of the American'Spirit. Also, they must understand that they're fighting a spiritual and physical battle! do they ralize that these talibans have faith in God! yes the wrong way but they have faith in the Creator and therefore have a spiritual advantage over them!

Glenn Penner said...

The problem was not with the soldiers. It was with their superiors who were concerned about the perception of US soldiers being on a "Christian crusade" (which is what the Islamists have been claiming from day one). I disagree with these actions, however, regardless of the motivation. There were other options

BD said...

Reflects poorly?

And these examples below are not poor reflections?

a) the military denied it, yet time after time shipments for prosteylizing for US troops have been turned back or confiscated US troops have been caught breaking an a general order on foreign soil.
When these breeches are made public they are stopped.

b) most of these shipments were shipped by fundamentalists using reduced military rates.

Glenn do you know what church Sgt Watt's attends?

c) the military denial continued to put other US military personnel at risk as occupiers on foreign soil

d) the military acknowledges Sergeant Jon Watt's church shipped these by regular post. This church should have it's tax exempt status yanked, and the soliders who received them and bragged about the shipment disciplined

e) the military acknowledges officers such as Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley violated their uniform and commission by saying such things as:

"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," he says.

"Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."

"Do we know what it means to proselytise?" Captain Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, says to the gathering.

"It is General Order Number One," an unidentified soldier replies.

But Watt says "you can't proselytise but you can give gifts".

The bibles were destroyed. Good.
Who is the message being sent to by the US military who don't want to acknowledge this goes on?

a) A church in the US which thinks it can put soldiers lives at risk, encourage a member to violate military rule

b) solidiers who think disobeying orders, putting comrades in danger and breaking invaded country laws should be retrained or discipled.

In another case Capt. Chris Rusack thanks Soldiers Bible Ministry for sending bibles in Swahili for Ugandan contract workers by military post. He calls military personnel who held up the shipment 'the enemy.'

A few facts:
Uganda (2002 CIA Factbook) Roman Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 42% (Anglican 35.9%, Pentecostal 4.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.5%), Muslim 12.1%, other 3.1%, none 0.9%

English is the official language of Uganda.
According to uage English
According to Ethnologue 2,000 speakers of Swahili (as compared to Ghana where 3 million speak Swahili)

These Ugandans are not US military personnel they are contract workers and off limits for this code.

Are US citizens really that stupid?

Could a better use have been found for these bibles?
Perhaps, but the message the US military send to the fundamentalist civilians back in the US and soldiers evangelicizing at the point of the guns, that breach of military code of conduct and disobedience of US regulations on foreign soil, and disregard for occupied country laws will not be tolerated.

Do you think the people who need to got the message? I don't.
The soliders have a complete disregard for their mission, their contract, the countries they occupy, their fellow solidiers.
The churches don't care who they harm.
Hit them where it hurts. Destroy their shipments and discipline the military recepients. Take the churches tax exempt status or find a law to charge them with if they try it again.

Bene D

BD said...

Okay, now that I relayed a few facts, we obviously disagree and I acknowledge Carl Moeller make some reasonable points. Even giving them to aid groups (they could have had some military id on the bibles) puts civilians in danger.

Christians don't practise Bibliolatry, the Koran example does not hold weight.

This is certainly not a reasonable situation, it is an embarrassment, a common problem in this volunteer army, illegal and ongoing problem for US command who prefers to turn a blind eye and over react only when exposed by media.

Since Carl Moeller is upset maybe organizations such as your can give bibles to him.

Glenn Penner said...

I have no idea what church Sgt Watt comes from. You'll have to find that out yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have to take issue with one of Carl Moeller's comments.

"Had this been six or seven copies of the Koran that were destroyed, there would be no end to the amount of protest you would hear."

Yes, almost certainly true.
But, not helpful.

Respectfully, Carl, I do not believe we represent the Kingdom of Heaven (which is not of this world) when we seek equality with the things of this world.

When did Islam become the standard of comparison, to which Christians appeal for equality, human rights, dignity, etc?

I see and hear almost exactly the same comment frequently here in Australia, from outraged Christians, every time they feel their (our) rights are trampled upon. [And from press that I read, I gather similarly in UK, USA, Canada.]

Don't get me wrong! I too have a sense of outrage that the state/military/government of a supposedly liberal nation can act in such a heavy-handed way and probably unequally. I'm outraged at the comfort and courage that Islamists would draw from what they might interpret as the dhimmitude of the US military.

But - can't Christians find a better way to express our discontent than to use Islam as the standard by which we appeal to the 'world'?

[And if not Islam, insert homosexuals or something else.]

And to bring in the bad behaviour of Islamists when they are offended, as part of basis for our appeal?

Implying that things might be different if we created a fuss like they do? NO! - We don't behave that way because that ISN'T the Christian way - so why raise it as even a possibility?

I mean no disrespect for Open Doors or Carl Moeller. Surely the Kingdom has advanced because of their faithful ministry! I wish he would have chosen another way of appealing for fairness.

Melbourne, Australia

Glenn Penner said...

A very thoughtful response, Nick. You make several excellent points