One of the most disturbing aspects of the rise of Christianism has been the attempt to coopt the armed forces. We have already seen what happened at the Air Force Academy, where Christianists corralled individuals, Christian and otherwise, into public praying along the lines of the religious right. We have seen a top army general publicly depicting the war on Islamist terrorism as a fight between Christ and Muhammed. We have another general sending out campaign pamphlets from his work computer, urging the election of Christianists to Congress. No one objects to private and voluntary prayer groups that allow servicemembers a choice as to how they collectively pray. But in public meetings, where everyone is present, the prayers should indeed be non-sectarian, inclusive, perhaps ideally be a moment of silence, as current military rules insist. That’s what the Christianists object to. They seek to impose their faith as the public one for all Americans, and have slipped such a provision into the military appropriations bill. The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces opposes it. Others do too:
Among the provision’s opponents is the chief of Navy chaplains, Rear Adm. Louis V. Iasiello, a Roman Catholic priest.
"The language ignores and negates the primary duties of the chaplain to support the religious needs of the entire crew" and "will, in the end, marginalize chaplains and degrade their use and effectiveness," Iasiello wrote in a letter to a committee member.
Still, the Christianists forge ahead, controlling the majority political party, and seeing their opponents as opposing Christianity itself. The ironies are acute. We are currently attempting to construct an Iraqi army that has nothing to do with sectarian or religious loyalties. At the same time, Christianists are trying to turn the U.S. military into their own sectarian force. The religious neutrality of the military is integral to a free and secular society. That’s why the Christianists have taken it on in America; it’s why the Islamists oppose it in Iraq; and that’s why they both have to be stopped.