Monday, May 4, 2009

Al Jazeera: US Troops Urged to Evangelize in Afghanistan - UPDATED

May 4, 2009 on Al-Jazeera English
A former Afghan prime minister has called for an inquiry after Al Jazeera broadcast footage showing Christian US soldiers appearing to be preparing to try and convert Muslims in Afghanistan.

Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai said there must be a "serious investigation" after military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were filmed discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, tells soldiers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him".

"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says.

"Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."
Read more
UPDATE: From MelM in the comments:
More info. This business has raised enough fuss that it reached the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Here is the denial: U.S. denies letting troops convert Afghans and the response from MRFF by Chris Rodda.

The military says the Bibles were destroyed:

Reuters quotes Maj. Jennifer Willis at the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, who said "I can now confirm that the Bibles shown on Al Jazeera's clip were, in fact, collected by the chaplains and later destroyed. They were never distributed."
While I think the religious problem in the military is serious, there's still a question in my mind about how far it's gone.

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