Radical Christian group a threat to constitution

by Jim Longworth

We are a nation of religious people. In fact, nine out of 10 of us say we believe in God. But what makes America unique is our melting-pot diversity, especially when it comes to organized religions.

The US military as a microcosm of society is comprised of men and women from varying faiths. That’s why, for example, we’ve had non-denominational chaplains serving our soldiers ever since George Washington assumed command of the Continental Army in 1775.

But a movement is afoot in the military that violates the doctrine of separation of church and state, and promotes intolerance and even violence towards those who do not subscribe to their radical views.

These people are known as dominionist Christians, who according to Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, display characteristics such as homophobia, misogyny (including believing women are mere servants to men) and anti-Semitism. They also strive to subordinate man’s law to their own religious law.

At first the military’s complicity in enabling these cult freaks seemed harmless enough, with high-ranking officers allowing outside groups to hold prayer meetings inside the Pentagon. Then came mounting evidence that some military leaders were trying to force a radical fundamentalist Christianity on their subordinates, so much so that Weinstein recently described them to Dan Rather as being like the Taliban.

The result has been a series of lawsuits, including one brought by a group of Navy chaplains who allege discrimination. Meanwhile, several senior officers at the Air Force Academy have been accused of using their position to “inappropriately propagate Christian views.” Then, just last month, a military watchdog group filed suit against the Pentagon for various Constitutional violations, including the pressuring of one soldier to embrace Christianity. His crime was refusing to join in prayer at a Thanksgiving dinner for the troops.

One atheist soldier commented to that intrusive religious activity on military installations is simply government-sponsored religion at taxpayer expense.

But the worst thing about Dominionist activity is that it doesn’t just stop at passive proselytizing.

HDNet News recently reported that Jonathan Spinks’ Operation Straight Up had been allowed by the Pentagon to distribute a disturbing video game to soldiers in Iraq. The computer game is titled Left Behind: Eternal Forces. The scenario is that an army of Christians descends upon New York City to either convert or kill Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists, gays and anyone else who advocates separation of church and state. Players get points for killing video characters who do not accept the bigoted views of dominionist Christians.

Not long ago, the federal government finally took the first steps in addressing this growing problem when the inspector general determined that Pentagon officials had “improperly endorsed and participated with a non-federal entity while in uniform.” But that admission may not be enough to discourage cult wackos from continuing to harass and discriminate against their fellow soldiers in the field.

Our men and women in uniform have enough to deal with when fighting insurgents without also having to be hassled by dominionist Christians who sometimes display their dogmatic prejudices in an aggressive and violent manner.

These freaks, no matter their rank, should be discharged immediately, and companies who promote this dangerous religious intolerance should be barred from any access to government buildings or installations.

Right now, our military is a proud melting pot, but if we don’t act quickly to curb the harassing and dangerous activities of dominionists, then that pot is going to start boiling over. We just can’t afford to have our bands of brothers turn into a war of brother against brother.

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on WMYV 48 (cable channel 15).