www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Terri Schiavo Protesters - 2005
Terri Schiavo Protesters: "We are idiots"
The Proselytizing Problem,
Missionary "work," and other bad habits...

       0. Proselytizing Definition:
       1. To induce someone to convert to one's own religious faith.
       2. To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.
 
 

 

 

Clarification:

I want to make it clear that my pages aren't here to mock, make fun of, or demean religion, spirituality, or people of faith. Although I am an atheist, I recognize that most religions and sects have organized themselves in an effort to better their lives (and future prsopects!) and our world in general. However, I take a very dim view (and work against) any religion that wants to entangle itself with government or anyone who wants to force their belief system on others. I also cast a wary eye towards proselytizing (including those who tout secular ideals as well!) but recognize shouting out our beliefs is a right, albeit an obnoxious one at times...

Anyway, I'll admit here that I have found comfort, at times, in spiritual practices and religious gatherings - in the same way I find time alone in Nature or a beautiful concert inspiring - a religious or spiritual gathering can be calming and comforting. My experiences in this regard have included numerous (clockwise) prayer walks around Stupas, intense study and lecture sessions with the Seventh Day Adventists, a full weekend of meditation at a Zen center, years of study as a young boy in the Catholic church, praying with Shinto nuns in Japan, and lighting candles and spinning prayer wheels in Tibet.

Again, the idea here being that it is important that we all remain respectful of other people's beliefs and recognize that there is good in everyone. Nevertheless, religions (and seculaists, too...) have done a lot of damage throughout history so it's equally important to remain vigilant and to speak out against the parts of other systems that are damaging, controlling of others, or destructive to our precious little planet and the other life that shares it with us. None of us are here very long so let's do what's right while we can...

- Roger J. Wendell, Golden, Colorado

 

The Problem:

Evangelical Christianity has gotten a little out of hand here in America. As this page will demonstrate, if a restaurant owner isn't trying to convert me over a cup of coffee, or my own baseball team (the Colorado Rockies) isn't trying to win me over to their brand of Christianity, then Uncle Sam's very own military (the Air Force Academy just an hour south of my house) is pushing its interpretation of the Bible onto subordinates. And, it's interesting to note that Islam, too, is starting to engage in this kind of marketing along with Judaism occasionally running commercials to attract lapsed adherents.

Okay, freedom of speech and expression should never be stopped or discouraged. And, I can understand how excited a person can become over a personal philosophy (everyone knows how much I, myself, "pushed" recycling and composting in the 80s and 90s!!). However, isn't it a little bizarre that certain Christian sects are so insecure that they feel it necessary to shout their views at captive recruits, casual passersby, or sports fans?? I know, this little page isn't going to change anyone's mind. However, with a little luck (and a few thousand page hits) word might get out that a lot of us don't appreciate the religious views of others being forced upon us - especially when we're trying to enjoy a cup of coffee at McDonald's or a hotdog at the baseball park. And, of course, Christian "missionary" work is an intrusion into the lives of others that deserves a page all of its own (unfortunately I don't have time for that, at the moment...)...

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - August 30, 2005

 

A Bigger, More Serious Problem:

Although Christians, Hare Krishnas, Moonies, and other proselytizers can be annoying they will never compare to the likes of Boko Haram, ISIS, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, al-Shabaab, and other militant religious groups that have been killing in the name of their beliefs. Since the millennium, countless Christians, apostates, and non-believers have been tortured and killed by these radicals in the name of religion - convinced that their sect or brand is the "right one" and, therefore, the competition must be eliminated. So, as fun as it may be to criticize a Christian proselytizer we must never forget that it's their right (in our country, at least!) to speak their minds - it's the monsters who take over governments or torture and murder in the name of religion that we must always guard against. So, I hope you enjoy reading my rant about proselytizers but please don't forget who the real criminals are...

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - Autumnal Equinox, 2015

 

(Click on any of this page's "thumbnail" images for a larger view)

 

Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for more on the missing god...

 

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Billboard Proselytizing:

Interstate Kansas Exit 163 by Roger J. Wendell - 10-19-2015 Islam Billboard - 2015

 

Proselytizing Newscasters:

Brit Hume Brit Hume Needs to Learn What the Word “Proselytize” Means
New York Magazine, 01-05-2010

"After getting a lot of attention over the weekend on Fox & Friends for urging Tiger Woods to 'be a great example to the world' and drop his Buddhism in exchange for the redemptive and healing powers of Christianity, Fox News contributor Brit Hume went on The O'Reilly Factor to defend himself. When asked by Bill O'Reilly whether he thought he was 'proselytizing,' Hume said, 'I don't think so." Here was his defense:

"'He needs something that Christianity, especially, provides and gives and offers, and that is redemption and forgiveness. I was really meaning to say in those comments yesterday, I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs ... If Tiger Woods were to make a true conversion, we would know it. It would show through in his being. And he would know it, above all. And he would feel the extraordinary blessing that would be. And it would shine because he is so prominent. It would be a shining light. It would be a magnificent thing to witness.'"

New York Magazine added this little refresher for Hume: "The word ‘proselytize’ means "to induce someone to convert to one's religious faith."

 

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Airline Proselytizing:

Airline On February 9, 2004 CNN.com posted an article, by Tracy Sabo, titled:
Pilot's proselytizing scares passengers

The article described how a pilot, on a February 6th American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York, proselytized to his crew and passengers once the flight was underway. Passenger Jen Dorsey said, "We were just at the beginning of our flight. The pilot came on to greet everyone and give his comments for the morning, and he said he'd recently been on a mission trip, and he'd like all the Christians to please raise their hands."

Passenger Karla Austin confirmed the pilot announced, "If you are a Christian, raise your hand." Austin said the pilot added, "If you are not, you're crazy."

The article suggests that none of the passengers raised their hands with many becoming worried enough to start using their cell phones in addition to complaining to the flight crew.

The article reported that the pilot, later in the flight, apologized. Passegner Dorsey said, "He came on and said, 'I want to apologize for my comments earlier. I think I really threw the flight crew off a little bit, and they are getting a lot of flack for the things I said. So I want to apologize to my flight crew."

The CNN article stated an American Airline spokesman, Tim Wagner, said the pilot denies using the word "crazy." Mr. Wagoner stated, "He told the airline he recently had returned from a mission trip and was encouraging people to use the four and a half hour flight to speak with passengers about their relationships with God."

The article ended without identifying the pilot and quoting Spokesman Wagoner as saying the incident will be "...handled internally according to American Airlines procedure."

 

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Penny Proselytizing:

Penny Proselytizing As if having the government printing "official" religious messages on our money isn't enough, some Christians now go to great lengths to deface it with their own messages. I've seen all kinds of scribbled and stamped messages, on my dollar bills, reminding me that "Jesus saves" (thrifty Jesus!), the end is near, or that a certain Bible verse is near-and-dear to someone's heart. We'll, I never thought to photograph any of this religious graffiti until I found this unique little carving of a crucifix in my pocket change one day. I can't even imagine all the trouble a certain Christian went through to carve out a cross, in this penny, but I sure wish he hadn't!!

 

Mountaintop Proselytizing:

Mountaintop Proselytizing on Kings Peak, Utah by Roger J. Wendell - 09-22-2011 Many mountain peaks around the country have summit registers and a "geocache" hidden under some rocks at the very top. Usually even these items are forbidden on a peak found in a national park or designated wilderness area. In the case of King's Peak, a "13er" that happens to be Utah's highest mountain, there is no summit register or geocache as the area is federal wilderness. But, as you can see from the photo, the law doesn't seem to matter to some proselytizers - I found this Book of Mormon in a torn plastic bag wedged between the rocks you see in the photo's background...

 

Highpoint Proselytizing:

Nebraska Highpoint Proselytizing by Roger J. Wendell - 12-16-2012 Nebraska Highpoint Bison by Roger J. Wendell - 12-16-2012 Highpoints aren't always on the top of a mountain. Sometimes they're on a gently sloping plateau or butte, or even a street corner park in some city or county. Either way, highpoints seem to be equally attractive places for those wishing to proselytize. In the picture at the far lef is a copy of the New Testament that was found at the sign-in desk for Nebraska's highpoint that's located on a bison ranch (adjacent photo). Oh, click Here for my page about highpoints if you're interested...

 

Restaurant Proselytizing:

Religious tracts and flyers found in Denver area restaurants by Roger J. Wendell - Summer, 2011 Although I was out-of-state most of 2011's summer, I did find time to dine at various restaurants when I was home in Denver a few times. In three different restaurants I found these goofy flyers stashed in a foyer, in the waiting area, or even on a baby's booster seat. Each of the flyers you see here had an address either stamped or printed on the back from different churches and religious organizations in the area. It's obvious that these particular flyers are more than just spreading "the word of God" - these pamphlets are advertising and marketing devices to entice people into various churches where they can donate money and provide other support. Most churches are businesses and these flyers are just like the "Penny Saver" type ads you receive from other commercial enterprises around town...

 

Front door Proselytizing:

Front Door Proselytizing by Roger J. Wendell - 03-25-2012 Occasionally, over the years, various religious organizations have left their literature at my front door - probably because I wasn't home at the time of their calling. I suspect this is a more expensive form of advertising when you consider the cost of not only producing the flyer, but the very low probability that the homeowner will take much interest in it. Nevertheless, there must be some small rate-of-return as this type of proselytizing continues albeit infrequently. The sample pictured at left was an invitation to listen to "Scriptural" answers at a church located 12.7 kilometres (7.9 miles) from my house - an indication that these fliers, and their proselytizing, were spread far and wide...

 

Prison Proselytizing by Choking:

Jordan Halliday On Friday morning, November 27th (2015) I conducted a KGNU radio interview with Jordan Halliday. At the time he was a 28-year-old from Salt Lake City who had completed a 10 month sentence in Federal prison for refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury that was investigating mink farm vandalism by animal rights activists. During the interview I asked Jordan to talk about prison violence and how he was able to protect himself. It was then that he described how he had been chocked by an inmate for not having accepted Jesus Christ. Click Here for an audio clip from that portion of the program.

 

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Public School Proselytizing:

Mount Vernon, Ohio student's arm branded with a cross - 2008 Teacher Accused of Branding Kid With Cross
An Ohio Teacher Stands Accused of Teaching Creationism and Burning Student
by Russell Goldeman, June 20, 2008, ABC News

"The school board of a small central Ohio community voted Friday to fire a teacher accused of preaching his Christian beliefs despite staff complaints and burning the image of a cross on students' arms, according to the Associated Press."

"Mount Vernon Middle School veteran science teacher John Freshwater has denies any wrongdoing, his attorney told the Mount Vernon News."

"Freshwater also displayed the Ten Commandments in his classroom and taught creationism, according to an independent investigation launched after the parents of the student who was allegedly branded filed a lawsuit."

"The suit alleges that he regularly discussed Christianity in his science class, even 'teaching the meaning of Easter and Good Friday,' and kept at least one and sometimes several Bibles in the room."

 

Parents Fuming as Texas Schools Let Gideons Provide Bibles to Students
FoxNews.com - Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Some parents in Frisco, Texas, are fuming because their public school district allowed Christian evangelists to provide Bibles to students on school grounds, which administrators say was done to stop even more proselytizing outside the schools."

"Frisco Independent Schools allowed Gideons International to display Bibles on tabletops in all 13 of the district's middle and high schools last week. Officials say it didn't violate the law, but some parents say school is not the place to be offering the Good Book."

"'I was never notified by the schools that they were going to allow this. I was a little shocked,'" said Debbie Lutz, a mother with three children who attend schools in Frisco, about 20 miles north of Dallas."

"Michael Baier, who has a son at Frisco's Lakeland High School, said that religious groups should not be allowed to offer their teachings on campus."

"'If they're God-fearing Christians ... they should be giving those items wherever they worship. School is a place to learn, not a place to worship,' Baier told FOXNews.com."

"Lutz said she wants the freedom to raise her children as she sees fit - and without the interference of religious groups. She told FOXNews.com she worried that allowing one group to offer Bibles in the school would open the floodgates to any groups who want to reach students on school grounds."

 

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Fast Food Proselytizing:

McDonald's Religious Cash Receipt
(Click on this image for a
clearer view of the receipt)
On October 26th, 2003 my friend Stu and his wife Nancy were driving through Longview, Texas when he decided to stop at McDonald's for a cup of coffee. Not only did the coffee cost him an entire dollar (There was an 8 cent "Take out" tax) but the cash register receipt said the following: "Bread of deceit is sweet to man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. Pro 20:17 May God Bless You." After seeing a copy of the receipt, with my own eyes, I started to wonder if McDonald's cash registers will ever quote Buddha or Mohamed?   Jews Don't Believe in Jesus - Frisco, Colorado - 2005 Found this flyer at the A&W Rootbeer Stand in Frisco,
Colorado. Apparently placed by HaShem, Inc.

 

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USPS Logo Postal Proselytizing
Postal Proselytizing Except for the waste of paper and energy, as a former Postal employee I was always happy for anything sent through the mails. At left is a small example of the countless religious flyers, church announcements, and other sales literature religious organizations constantly sent through the U.S. Mails. Unfortunately even though many churches in our area were nothing more than disguised political action committees they continued receiving nonprofit status and subsidized mailing rates [not unlike a variety of secular non-profits, too, that were nothing more than a political action committee taking advantage of their tax exempt status and subsidized mailing rates...]. This allowed them to mail out even more of their religious propaganda but, unfortunately, with almost no profit for the Postal Service at a time when it was nearing financial collapse...

 

As I mentioned, I used to be a postal employe, myself, I was often surpised at how much proselytizing took place in the day-to-day work environment - especially by managers and executives. I also experienced this "phenomenon" in other government offices [local and state, too] but can only address its occurance in the Postal Service as that's were the vast majority of my experience wasy.

Anyway, not only is proselytizing in a government office inappropriate (and forbidden) it's especially egregious to intimidate and coerce subordinates. Nevertheless, I witnessed and protested against the practice countless times. Apuzzo, Catlin, Freeman, Garza, Lujan, Syszmanski, and many other managers and executives never hesitated to plant a Bible on their desks, suggest a prayer at a meeting, or post a religious symbol on a wall or bulletin board (One day, after the unexpected death of a vacationing employee, a postmaster knelt on the workroom floor in prayer while surrounded by over a hundred employees - a union steward, to her* credit, strongly protested the act immediately after the meeting, advising the postmaster that, "This is a workplace, not a church.").

How many promotions and favours were paid to a coworker or subordinate who went to the same church or prayer service? [Of course the same could be asked of secular employees involved an endless array of clubs and social organizations and relationships as well...] How many other employees of a different faith or tradition were passed over or ignored because of their differing views? Although we can never know how much damage was done it's clear the Postal Service, and almost every other employer on the planet†, has no business promoting religion in the workplace!

*Tina DeSautels, APWU Local 229, granted permission to be quoted here.
†I can't fault a religous organization for proselytizing to its employees or even discriminating against secularists...

 

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Goofy Proselytizing:

Religion Gone Astray This photo (left) has been floating around the Internet for awhile so I thought I'd post it here as a reminder of how goofy religion can get. If there is a God, I doubt he or she hates anything. And I especially doubt that same God has any concerns about a person's sexuality - my guess is God has a lot more important stuff to be worrying about. Of course that's just my guess as who can know the mind of God?

In April 2005 I found myself in San Francisco only to discover even more proselytizers. The guy with the florescent green sign was actually a bit theatrical in that he continuously twirled his sign until he saw me and my camera. Then, of course, he stopped and posed for this momement of fame... Proselytizing in San Francisco 2005 Proselytizing in San Francisco 2005

 

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Potty Proselytizing:

Potty Proselytizing at the Grand Junction, Colorado Wal-Mart by Roger J. Wendell - 06-16-2010 Well, I guess I never really thought of it before but a public toilet might be a good place for those crafty proselytizers to ply their trade! My guess was pretty much on the mark when I desperately stumbled into one of the stalls, at one of Grand Junction, Colorado's two Wal-Marts, and discovered the New Testament (Including Psalms) awaiting my reading pleasure! I suspect (or at least hope!) Wal-Mart's cleaning crews don't put up with any unauthorized advertising so this little book would have been scooped-up in short order. Since I do more than just use the restrooms at Wal-Mart (I occasionally shop there) I thought I'd do them a favour and recycle this little book before their crew had to agonize over what to do with it. Or maybe it was placed there as some kind of crude joke, you know, "Eat a Bible, pass the word..."
Gas Station Proselytizing at Circle K Shell, Colorado Springs by Roger J. Wendell - 06-11-2011 Number two anyone?
It's no secret that some of our nation's most crazy religious zealots reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado! I, myself, live about 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Colorado Springs so I find myself passing through there quite a bit for any trips to the American southwest. I found this particular tract in the restroom at the Circle K Shell on Commerce Center Drive. Again, these crafty proselytizers know how to make road-weary travelers a captive audience! This piece was especially interesting because it was printed in Edmonton, Alberta - apparently even the Canadians aren't satisfied with the here and now!
                  Anti-Abortion Flyer REI Women's Restroom Denver - 10-29-2011 Bathroom Abortions?
Do zealots really believe that a woman's mind can be changed with a Bible verse in a public toilet? This anti-abortion flyer was left in the women's restroom at Denver's "Flagship" outdoor recreation store. Again, the businesses where this type of literature shows up usually can't be blamed - especially an outdoors sporting supply shop! However, can't a person, especially a woman, simply use a public restroom in peace, without being bothered with proselytizing and electioneering? Apparently not - this particular flyer is actually a fold-out glossy poster that measures 215 mm x 280mm (5.5 x 8 inches when folded in half as you see in the photo at left...).
Awake! - November 2011 An entire magazine!
On Thanksgiving Day, 2011 an entire religious magazine ("Awake!") was found in the women's restroom at the RaceTrac gas station on 11180 SW 184th Street in Miami. It would seem that printing and distributing a 30 page rag, for free, is a rather expensive undertaking. But, then again, religion is big business in America with churches controlling a lot of wealth and power. So, distributing some expensive advertising material probably isn't a big deal for them!

 

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Sports Proselytizing:

Football Proselytizing, Denver Colorado Bronocos Tim Tebo - 2011 In Colorado, as throughout most of the United States, sports figures often use their "hero" and celebrity status to proselytize to those of us not making millions of dollars per year for a hobby. A recent example is my own state's Denver Broncos football team - no strangers to religious zealotry, drug abuse, violence, and criminal behavior (not to mention a taxpayer purchased stadium...) where team player and chief entertainer Tim Tebo caught national attention for painting Bible verses under his eyes and praying on television during sports contests. This buffoon gained cult status for having done nothing more than broadcast his personal religious beliefs to a board and sports-hungry nation. He wasn't the first and, certainly, won't be the last for an industry supported by sheep-like viewers happy to throw money and adulation at sports "heroes."

 

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Military Proselytizing:
(Oh, the irony in it!)

Military Throughout much of 2003, 2004 and 2005 complaints continued to surface over the treatment of non-Christian cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In June, 2005 the Air Force established a set of guidelines to stop the heavy-handed tactics of the religious-right. Here are exerpts from a Rocky Mountain News article on the subject:

AF: Thou shalt respect diversity
By Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News
August 30, 2005

"COLORADO SPRINGS - New Air Force guidelines on religious tolerance discourage public prayer in most official settings and caution senior officers and chaplains to respect religious diversity."

"The guidelines, two months in the making, strike at charges that members of minority faiths have been targets of slurs and discrimination by members of the Air Force Academy's evangelical Christian majority."

"Although the academy is at the center of the controversy, the guidelines will be applied across the entire Air Force and probably all service branches, an Air Force official said Monday."

The Air Force grounds its new guidelines in the Constitution, reminding its members of their oath to protect the "free exercise of religion and prohibition against governmental establishment of religion."

"The guidelines caution senior officers to be 'sensitive' that their own personal religious expressions might be seen by subordinates as official endorsements."

They direct chaplains to 'respect the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, including the right to hold no belief.'"

The Rocky Mountain News piece also went on to describe how others don't believe the guidelines will go far enough to curb abuses by an Air Force leadership that favors evagelical Christian docrine:
"These are not matters of simple personal misunderstanding between individuals. They are, particularly in the hands of leadership, severe constitutional violations that should not be tolerated in the Air Force," said MeLinda Morton, an Air Force chaplain who resigned her commission in June after accusing other academy chaplains of proselytizing cadets."

"Morton called for congressional oversight of religious tolerance efforts at the academy and throughout the service."

"Chaplains and senior officers were the subject of the most serious charges of religious intolerance dating back to at least 2003, say those involved in the controversy."

"Members of a Yale Divinity School team reported witnessing a chaplain exhort new cadets in June 2004 to tell non-believing cadets that those not 'born again will burn in the fires of hell.'"

"Brig. Gen. John Weida, the commandant of cadets, second-highest ranking officer at the academy, encouraged cadets to proselytize, according to a June 2005 Air Force report on the academy's intolerance problem. Weida apologized for his actions in June. His promotion to major general has been postponed by Congress."

"Bruce DeBoskey, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, was hopeful but cautious about the new rules. "The guidelines appear to say the right things, but the question is how will they be implemented," said DeBoskey. ADL and others will closely monitor the implementation."

"'If the same people who have been the source of the problem are going to be implementing the changes without meaningful training, then we have a problem,' he said."

 

Fire the military chaplains!

Soldiers Bible Ministry In 2007 Al Sharpton and Christopher Hitchens engaged in a public debate on religion and Hitchens' book, God is not Great at the New York Public Library on May 7th, 2007. A member of the audience advised both that his brother was a successful, sought-after military chaplain and wanted the debaters' opinion on the matter. Christopher Hitchens responded:

"I don't think that we should be paying for chaplains. I don't think the U.S. government should be employing any. James Madison coauthor of the Virginia statute on religious freedom and of the first amendment was very adamant on the point and was very clear, it's flat out unconstitutional to pay or employ a chaplain to open the proceedings of congress or to be in the armed forces. We can't have chaplains on our payroll and that's that."

 

"The Crusade for a Christian Military": Are US Forces Trying to Convert Afghans to Christianity?
Democracy Now - May 6, 2009

"AMY GOODMAN: The former prime minister of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, has called for an investigation into allegations that US soldiers are trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. He said, quote, "This is a complete deviation from what they are supposed to be doing."

"His comments come after a report on Al Jazeera showed footage of soldiers at Bagram Air Base discussing how to distribute Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari. The US military is denying it allows its soldiers to proselytize to Afghans. The military claims the Bibles shown in the video had been confiscated and destroyed and were 'never distributed.' Admiral Mike Mullen told a Pentagon briefing Monday, quote, 'It certainly is, from the United States military's perspective, not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period.'"

"The Pentagon has also sharply criticized Al Jazeera for releasing the year-old footage, which was shot by filmmaker and former soldier Brian Hughes. Military spokesperson Colonel Greg Julian said, quote, 'Most of this is taken out of context. This is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism. There is no effort to go out and proselytize to Afghans.'"

"Well, on Tuesday, Al Jazeera released unedited footage of the US soldiers' Bible study in Bagram to counter the Pentagon's allegations. These excerpts from the unedited video show military chaplain, Captain Emmit Furner, leading the discussion on the definition of the US Central Command's General Order Number One that explicitly forbids active-duty troops from trying to convert people to any religion."

"CAPTAIN EMMIT FURNER: By all means, do as scripture tells you to do and share the word, but be careful how you do it. Do it professionally; represent the Christian faith in a professional manner. Proselytizing is against the rules. That means going out and just actively seeking out somebody. I'm not going to say a lot about it. Just be careful. Remember to represent the Christian faith in a respectable, professional manner. And there are ways to win people to Christ that are not overbearing or offensive to people. There are ways to do it."

"AMY GOODMAN: The initial report aired by Al Jazeera included footage of Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, calling on soldiers to hunt people for Jesus."

"LT. COL. GARY HENSLEY: '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, get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into kingdom. Right? That's what we do. That's our business.'"

"JEFF SHARLET: I think that's anything but the truth. You know, what we see on that videotape is really just the tip of the iceberg. When Mikey Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, came to me and said, 'You know, you should be writing about this subject,' I was a little skeptical that it could be as widespread as they said. But in more than a hundred interviews at every rank, I encountered that same kind of thinking. And the same kind of thing that you see there on display with Lieutenant-Colonel Hensley is replicated over and over and over, from private to general. But most frighteningly, it's concentrated in the Officer Corps.'"

"AMY GOODMAN: You write extensively about Hensley. Tell us who he is and the significance of this videotape."

"JEFF SHARLET: Well, Lieutenant-Colonel Hensley, that you see in that videotape, you know, talking about hunting people for Jesus, was at the time the top chaplain, top military chaplain in Afghanistan. And I don't know if you can quite make it out on that videotape, if you look closer at the T-shirt he's wearing, it shows his affiliation with a sort of fundamentalist group called Chapel NeXt. And you can see a sort of a Christian cross inscribed over a map of Afghanistan."

And if you follow that-I mean, the rest of that footage is just as equally disturbing. At one point, speaking of the sort of the apocalyptic times that he believes we're in, he says that, you know, the US soldiers there have a mission basically to, you know, carry out the work of God. And then he declares that we, meaning the US military, 'We are the new Israel,' and repeats this for emphasis, "We are the new Israel.'"

"You know, I would have thought that was-this guy was just a kind of a rogue, a maverick, if I didn't speak to so many other officers with just the same attitude. In the story, I talk about Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Young, who is also in Afghanistan at Kandahar Air Base, and he was quite plain in boasting about a PowerPoint presentation he had given to Afghan warlords explaining that American government was based on Christianity, that our Christian god was what made it great, and Afghanistan had a choice if it wanted to achieve democracy. And of course that choice was going to be for Jesus."

"These people don't even know that they're crossing the line between church and state."

"MIKEY WEINSTEIN: 'A few months ago, a four-star general, a commander in the US military-I won't give his exact name, but commands hundreds of thousands of troops-asked me, 'How bad is it, Mikey?' And I'll tell your viewers today, and I'll show them, exactly what I did. I said, 'General, hold your pen six-and-a-half inches above your desk. Now drop it,' as I've just dropped that pen. I asked him why it dropped. And he said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Why did it drop?' He said, 'Well, gravity.' That is how bad this is. It is that ubiquitous. It is that-it is in the very particulate of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind, which is our US military. It's everywhere. We're about two inches away, you know, from a fundamentalist Christian America through our US military.'"

"MIKEY WEINSTEIN: 'It's very incontrovertible. What you saw in that, what Al Jazeera released, is nothing new. We've been talking about it forever. But there are hundreds of thousands of translated-into Arabic, Pashto, Dari-biblical tracks, Bibles, coins. There are so many para-church organizations: the Worldwide Military Baptist Missions, the Soldiers Bible Ministry, the Campus Crusades Military Ministry. You can't count them all. This is how bad it is. And, you know, docile and supine America needs to wake up, because what we're doing, we look exactly like the Crusaders of 1096 to the Iraqis and now the Afghans. And that's all there is to it, Amy.'"

 

Pentagon Briefings No Longer Quote the Bible
FoxNews.com, AP, Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Monday it no longer includes a Bible quote on the cover page of daily intelligence briefings it sends to the White House as was practice during the Bush administration."

"Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he did not know how long the Worldwide Intelligence Update cover sheets quoted from the Bible. Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen Shaffer, who was responsible for including them, retired in August 2003, according to his biography.

"For a period in 2003, at least, the daily reports prepared for President George W. Bush carried quotes from the books of Psalms and Ephesians and the epistles of Peter. At the time, the reports focused largely on the war in Iraq.

"The Bible quotes apparently aimed to support Bush at a time when soldiers' deaths in Iraq were on the rise, according to the June issue of GQ magazine. But they offended at least one Muslim analyst at the Pentagon and worried other employees that the passages were inappropriate.

"On Thursday, April 10, 2003, for example, the report quoted the book of Psalms - "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him. ... To deliver their soul from death." - and featured pictures of the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down and celebrating crowds in Baghdad.

"'Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand,' read the cover quote two weeks earlier, on March 31, above a picture of a U.S. tank driving through the desert, according to the magazine, which obtained copies of the documents.

"The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on Monday said U.S. soldiers "are not Christian crusaders, and they ought not be depicted as such."

"'Depicting the Iraq conflict as some sort of holy war is completely outrageous," Lynn said in a statement. "It's contrary to the constitutional separation of religion and government, and it's tremendously damaging to America's reputation in the world.'"

 

Marine removed from duty over Bible coin reports
May 29, 2008

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine in Iraq has been removed from duty amid complaints that he was handing out coins with Bible verses at an American checkpoint, the military said Thursday."

"A military spokesman said Iraqis in Falluja complained that the Marine was giving the coins, which were printed in Arabic, to people at an entry control point in Falluja."

"U.S. military regulations prohibit religious proselytizing."

"This has our full attention," said Col. James L. Welsh, chief of staff of Multi-National Force, West. "We deeply value our relationship with the local citizens and share their concerns over this serious incident."

"At least one of the coins is stamped with the words 'Where will you spend eternity?'" "The other side of the coin reportedly contains a verse from John 3:16..."

"Several Falluja residents said they were given the coins over a two-day period and complained that U.S. troops, whom they consider foreign occupiers, were acting as Christian missionaries."

"'Regulations prohibit members of the coalition force from proselytizing any religion, faith or practices,' said Col. Bill Buckner, a coalition spokesman. 'Our troops are trained on those guidelines before they deploy.'"

"A military statement said "appropriate action" will be taken if the reports are substantiated."

"The reports stoked religious concerns in Iraq just weeks after Iraqi police discovered that a U.S. soldier had used the Quran, Islam's holy book, for target practice."

"The U.S. commander in Baghdad took the unusual step of holding a public ceremony and reading a letter of apology from the soldier, a sniper section leader, to local Iraqi leaders."

 

Scripture verses on combat rifle sights stoked
concerns over proselytizing by American troops

by Richard Lardner, AP, January 21, 2010

Rifle Sight Proselytizing "A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear."

"In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., says it is also providing to the armed forces free of charge modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use. Through multimillion dollar contracts, the Marine Corps and Army have bought more than 300,000 Trijicon sights."

"The references to Bible passages raised concerns that the citations break a government rule that bars
proselytizing by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are predominantly Muslim countries."

 

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Duellig Proselytizers:
Pinedale, Wyoming

Duelling Proselytizers in Pinedale, Wyoming - 07-26-2015 Click on this image for a closer look! It's there that you'll see where a Christian, from a different sect, had written all over the face of a competitor's magazine! I found this copy of The Watchtower at the Clean Wash laundromat in Pinedale, Wyoming. There were other religious messages in the establishment so my guess is is that the owner/manager was using their place of business for a bit of proselytizing in addition to cleaning my clothes. No problem, although I'm not in agreement with their belief system I still find it interesting, at times, and was glad to have the diversion while waiting for my clothes to finish. More importantly, what I found to be even more interesting is that a person from a competing sect had taken time to tell the rest of us, by defacing this establishment's magazine, that their brand of belief was better than the other's - calling the other a "cult" and warning us not to welcome them into our homes! Sadly, this interloper didn't take time to give us his/her sect's website or church address so that we might learn how much "better" their brand of Christianity really is!

 

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Missionary "Work:"

Missionaries
 
I'd often thought, ever since I was a pre-teen in the late 60s (when Christian aggressiveness was on the rise), that there couldn't be anything more arrogant than going to another country to force your religious views on others - especially when those others haven't had educational or economic opportunities to raise their standard of living much above the subsistence level. In other words, it's inappropriate to preach and pass Bibles around an impoverished community in an effort to convert somebody, to what much of the world sees as a questionable religion anyway, at a time when there are more important/honest needs to be met!
Add to this arrogance the fact that many Christians represent (and support) a system that exploits nature, the land, and indigenous peoples and you have a missionary quest that resembles nothing more than economic conquest! And, if I were the target of Christian missionary practices I would be especially angered about their practice of sending pimply-faced 20 year olds to convince me that their religion was superior to something that may have provided my community spiritual satisfaction for thousands of years - possibly predating the Bible itself!
- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - August 2005

 

In an article titled; Missionary zeal: To convert or comfort?
(Sunday Denver Post April 10, 2005, p. 5e)
Colorado Voices Columnist Danielle Steinfeld said;

"That beggar [an Indian Hindu with an elephantine leg in Kuala Lumpur] never had the fortune, or misfortune, to see an American missionary. He couldn't have reached a church on his own legs, and no missionary was looking to reel him in to sanctuary. He didn't need to be converted to Christianity to save his soul. He needed something more basic: food to survive, and medical treatment for his disfiguring disease."

"His religion already worked fine for him, it preached generosity to the sick, the poor, the starving. That was all he needed - the gererosity of those who had more than he."

"The money raised by our Christian missionaries was never meant for him. That money went into saving souls, not saving lives. It was money misspent, just like the Bibles provided to the orphans of the recent tsunami [Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 26, 2004]."

"As I grew up, I began to notice that Christianity doesn't pay much attention to saving lives. It puts membership first. As long as you're a member of a congregation, or ofa mission in a Third World country, you count. But if youhaven't been saved yet, you're still invisibile. You might as well be a beggar with elephantasis."

 

Missionaries in Hawai'i:
James A. Michener, from his 1958 classic, Hawaii

"In one sense Abner did profit: he got each of his parishioners properly dressed for the opening of church, and on the Sunday when the sprawling edifice was consecrated, curious processions from miles around marched through the dust in their unaccustomed finery from Captain Janders' store. . . . Had Abner studied the climate for even a moment, he would have built his grass walls only a few feet high, leaving open space between them and the roof so that air could circulate, but churches in New England were built foursquare, and so they were in Hawaii, with no air stirring and the congregation sweltering in the natural heat, plus the radiation of three thousand closely packed bodies."

 

Missionaries in Africa:
Peter Godwin in his book, When A Crocodile Eats the Sun (A Memoir of Africa)
pp. 159 - 160

"And he pointed out that Shona (his native tongue) in its written form was covered with the white man's fingerprints - it was, after all, missionaries who standardized it and rendered it onto the page, largely to facilitate their Christian proselytizing, which often functioned as the Trojan horse leading to full-blown indigenous cultural servitude."

 

Doing Good for God
Sam Harris, from his book, Letter to a Christian Nation, pp. 33-34

"What about all of the good things people have done in the name of God? It is undeniable that many people of faith make heroic sacrifices to relieve the suffering of other human beings. But is it necessary to believe anything on insufficient evidence in order to behave this way? If compassion were really dependent upon religious dogmatism, how could we explain the work of secular doctors in the most war ravaged regions of the developing world? Many doctors are moved simply to alleviate human suffering, without any thought of God. While there is no doubt that Christian missionaries are also moved by a desire to alleviate suffering, they come to the task encumbered by a dangerous and divisive mythology. Missionaries in the developing world waste a lot of time and money (not to mention the goodwill of non-Christians) proselytizing to the needy; they spread inaccurate information about contraception and sexually transmitted disease, and they withhold accurate information. While missionaries do many noble things at great risk to themselves, their dogmatism still spreads ignorance and death. By contrast, volunteers for secular organizations like Doctors Without Borders do not waste any time telling people about the virgin birth of Jesus. Nor do they tell people in sub-Saharan Africa - where nearly four million people die from AIDS every year - that condom use is sinful. Christian missionaries have been known to preach the sinfulness of condom use in villages where no other information about condoms is available. This kind of piety is genocidal. We might also wonder, in passing, which is more moral: helping people purely out of concern for their suffering, or helping them because you think the creator of the universe will reward you for it?"

 

10 Missionaries jailed for child kidnapping in Haiti

In early January, 2010 Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that killed well over one hundred thousand people. Naturally the missionaries rushed in to help, proselytize, and advertise for their fund raising efforts back home. I, myself, have traveled to a lot of impoverished places around the world - almost always running into pushy, obnoxious missionaries trying to convert the locals over some building construction project or free meal.

Anyway, it turns out some of the missionaries in Haiti had even worse motives than I myself could have imagined - Ten missionaries from a Baptist church in Idaho were taking children away from their parents and homes for a "better" upbringing in the Dominican Republic and other locals - without permission! The actions of these ten were so egregious that the Haitian government kept all of them jailed for nearly three weeks, during the height of the country's crisis, only releasing eight of them after a lot of international "persuasion." It will be interesting to see how this all turns out. Either way, I hope a clear message is sent to missionaries around the world - your honest help is appreciated, your proselytizing and meddling in local life is not! - Roger J. Wendell, February 2010

 

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What is a 10/40 Window Thug?

10-40 Window of Proselytization Map The "10/40 Window" is a term coined by Christian missionary "strategist" Luis Bush in 1990. It refers to those regions of the eastern hemisphere located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator that encompass most of North Africa and Asia that are typically populated by Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim peoples. The area generally, as of 1990, was purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges (mostly poverty) and the least amount of access to the Christian message of make-believe and indoctrination.
This region of the world was previously known to Christians as the "resistant belt," as noted by Luis Bush at the 1989 Lausanne II Conference in Manila. Christian "researchers" analyzed the region using a box between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude and called it the 10/40 Box. A few weeks later, Luis' wife Doris recommended renaming it the 10/40 Window, stating that this region ought to be seen as a "window of opportunity" to "reach" (proselytize) the "unevangelized" poorest of the poor.
 
Christians typically prey upon poor people to gain a foothold in other countries and cultures that traditionally conduct their societies under a different belief system. In the case of the 10/40 Window campaign Christians were able to focus their resources and attention on the conversion of people in desperate regions of the world who are too distracted with merely surviving to put up much resistance to philosophical manipulation and intrusion.

 

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Worse than Proselytizing:

Christians Burning Witches "The Catholic Inquisition published the book that arguably could be called the most blood-soakd publication in human history. Malleus Maleficarum - or The Witches' Hammer - indoctrinated the world to 'the dangers of freethinking women' and instructed the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy them. Those deemd 'witches' by the Church included all female scholars, priestesses, gypsies, mystics, nature lovers, herb gatherers, and any women "suspiciously attuned to the natural world." Midwives also were killed for their heretical practice of using medical knowledge to ease the pain of childbirth - a suffering, the Church claimed, that was God's rightful punishment for Eve's partaking of the Apple of Knowledge, thus giving birth to the idea of Original Sin. During three hundred years of witch hunts, the Church burned at the stake an astounding five million women."
- Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, p. 125

 

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Links:

  1. Alan Watts
  2. Bad Guys
  3. Bible
  4. Buddhist chants and songs
  5. Clergy Project
  6. Creation Theories
  7. Death
  8. Deep Ecology
  9. Duncan Watson Spiritual Guide
  10. FFRP - Freedom From Religion Foundation
  11. Five Wishes - Aging with Dignity (plan and receive the care you deserve)
  12. Fundamental Buddhism
  13. KTTG Stupa
  1. Memorials
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  5. Riin's Rants - Organized religion isn't the only religion!
  6. Roger's Rules of Order
  7. Sam Harris
  8. Sanctuary House Crestone, Colorado
  9. Sarlo's Guru Rating Service
  10. SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
  11. Spiritual Stuff
  12. There is no God
  13. Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

 

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