Thursday, July 30, 2009

IN YOUR DEFENSE: Primary Loyalty to . . . God, Country?

A young man had just gotten a job in a bookstore and was very excited about having found work. Early in the day he listened carefully as his supervisor explained his duties:
  • opening the boxes of new books in the back room,
  • placing those books on the appropriate shelves,
  • straightening up the shelves,
  • helping customers find books for which they were looking
  • helping customers to check out if the lines became long, and
  • at the end of his day, vacuuming the floor and taking out the trash.

He loved his job very much because there was plenty of extra time to visit with people. And, he found that if he stayed close to the Religious Books section, he could easily find customers who wanted to talk about God and Jesus.. What could be more important than that? He seemed to lose himself in his conversations.

At the end of the day, his supervisor walked him through the store and discovered the boxes of new books were unopened, the books already on the shelves were out of order, several customers had complained that they could get no one to help them find a book, the floor was not vacuumed and the trash was overflowing.

Pointing out these undone tasks to the new employee, the supervisor was surprised to hear, “But I was talking about God and Jesus. What could be more important than that?”

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Christian Embassy, a ministry to government and military elites, is a is a correlative venture of The Family.* It produced a short video on faith and diplomacy following September 11, 2001. The video seems to endorse deliberate negligence of duty. It featured:

  • Dan Cooper , Undersecretary of defense, “evangelizing activities are more important than doing the job.
  • General Jack Catton (testifying in uniform, an apparent violation of military regulations) “My first priority is my faith; God before country.”
  • Representative John Carter, (R-Texas) Commenting on governmental trips to Africa and Eastern Europe, “We were congressmen goin’ over there to represent the Lord. We are here to tell you about Jesus . . . and that’s it.”

The prayer cells (Organized by The Family) in the State Department are encouraged by Christian Embassy, not to explain US positions, but to leave visiting diplomats with a personal relationship with the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Commandant of West Point, Brigadier General Bob Caslen has said, “We are the aroma of Jesus”.

UPDATE: You may see this video at the website: Jews on First . Scroll down a couple of pages to "Christian Embassy Promotional Video" and click. I am not familiar with this web site but it appears to have quite a bit of material opposing the Christian Right's military and governmental efforts.

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As worthy a task as evangelism may be, within the Christian community, I find it to be a corrupting factor for a military person to advocate allegiance to God over country. The defense of our nation must be the top priority of any military person.

I also find it threatening to the security of our nation, that a group of high-ranking military officers might take it upon themselves to believe that God might want them to do something contrary to the best interest of our government. If you think that is crazy talk, just listen to the sacrosanct words of the spokespersons for the Christian Right today (Obama’s presidency is illegitimate, the government wants to kill old people, murder of doctor’s performing abortions is okay, etc.)

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If the work behavior of the young man in the bookstore continued in the way he started, he would justifiably be fired. The same discipline needs to be applied to the zealots who refuse to do their job in favor of evangelizing.

Your comments (click below) are appreciated.

*Christian Embassy was founded by Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) and Congressman John Conlan (R-Ariz, 1973-1977). The material in this and the next paragraph (above) is taken from Jeff Sharlet’s THE FAMILY: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2008) p. 353f.