Pentagon Christian Embassy Stirs Debate

Weinstein said the generals violated Pentagon regulations.

Pentagon Christian Embassy Stirs Debate
Senior US Army and Air Force officers have come under fire for violating regulations by appearing in uniform on a promotional video for an Evangelical group, with critics seeking a Pentagon probe into the repetitive incident.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog led by retired Air Force lawyer Michael L. Weinstein, has sent a letter of protest to the Pentagon's Inspector General demanding an investigation, The Washington Post reported on Monday, December 11.

Regulations ban army personnel from appearing in uniform in "speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration…which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted," Weinstein said in his letter.

In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, an Evangelical group that preaches the faith among officials at the White House, the Pentagon, in foreign embassies and on Capitol Hill.

Established some 30 years ago, the group boasts on its website holding prayer breakfasts each Wednesday in the Pentagon's executive dining room and organizing small groups to help military leaders "bridge the gap between faith and work."

"First Priority"

In the 10-minute video some of the top brass speak proudly about their Evangelical preaching inside the military establishment.

"I found a wonderful opportunity as a director on the joint staff, as I meet the people that come into my directorate," says Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack J. Catton.

"And I tell them right up front who Jack Catton is, and I start with the fact that I'm an old-fashioned American, and my first priority is my faith in God, then my family and then country. I share my faith because it describes who I am."

Pete Geren, a former acting secretary of the Air Force, also appears in the video.

The Christian Embassy "has been a rock that I can rely on, been an organization that helped me in my walk with Christ, and I'm just thankful for the service they give," he says.

Army Brig. Gen. Bob Casen says in the vide he is religiously obliged to preach the Evangelical faith among his colleagues.

Whenever he sees another fellowship member, he says, "I immediately feel like I am being held accountable, because we are the aroma of Jesus Christ."

The scenes are not unprecedented. Some officers were court-martialed for the same incident; but others were promoted.

In October of 2003, Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin drew rebuke for appearing in uniform before church groups and saying, in remarks captured on video, that President George W. Bush was "appointed by God."

He also said that Muslims' God "was an idol," and that "our spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus," before apologizing under intense pressures from Muslim advocacy groups.

Boykin was later promoted to be the deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence.

Evangelical Christians are the fastest-growing faith-based group in the US.

They have had a growing impact on America's political landscape, in part because adherents believe conservative Christian values should have a place in politics -- and they support politicians who agree with them.

They played a pivotal role in tilting the scales in Bush's favor in the last presidential election.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16