Christianity Today also has an article covering the attempts by fundamentalist evangelical Christians to coerce military members into their religion. The article, for the most part, has simply reiterated what has been said elsewhere. But there was one part of the article that I have taken exception to. A quote from Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress:
“He’s uncovered some very disturbing stuff that shouldn’t be going on in the armed forces,” says Marc Stern, a religious liberty expert at American Jewish Congress. “But it’s important that you not go too far.” Mr. Stern disagrees, for instance, with Weinstein’s stance on the Air Force guidelines, such as preventing military supervisors from ever speaking of religion to people under their command.
“He did a disservice to his and our cause by taking a position beyond what the law requires, and in fact may intrude on people’s rights,” Stern adds.
Military regulations prohibit military superiors from selling products and soliciting business from their subordinates. I would think that this would also prohibit soliciting religion as well. The military is not like the public sector where one could quit and seek another job if one’s boss is being an asshole about his religion. A military member is required to follow his superior’s orders, except in those cases where it is obvious the order is illegal. Most of these cases of evangelization are not quite as obvious, but the pressure to conform is there.
Why do some of these Christians want everyone to follow the same beliefs as themselves? I’ve even been told that it doesn’t matter if I don’t believe, just pretend. WTF? God, if he existed, wouldn’t know I was pretending? This is just kindergarten theology. I guess they don’t seem to realize that a god so easily fooled would not be worthy of worship.
A military unit needs to be a cohesive team. If all of the persons in the unit are of the same religion, this is an easy and cheap way to get a group working together. But our citizens, from which military members are drawn from, are of various races, religions, and cultural backgrounds. Trying to force unit cohesiveness by forcing religious conformity in a religiously diverse unit is a recipe for disaster.