< HOME  Monday, May 04, 2009

"Convert to Jesus or DIE"

'Witness for Jesus' in Afghanistan

US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show.

Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles 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, is seen telling 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."

Local language Bibles

The footage, shot about a year ago by Brian Hughes, a documentary maker and former member of the US military who spent several days in Bagram, was obtained by Al Jazeera's James Bays, who has covered Afghanistan extensively.

Bays also obtained from Hughes a Pashto-language copy of one of the books he picked up during a Bible study lesson he recorded at Bagram.

A Pashto speaker confirmed to Bays that it was a Bible.

In other footage captured at Bagram, Sergeant Jon Watt, a soldier who is set to become a military chaplain, is seen giving thanks for the work that his church in the US did in getting Bibles printed and sent to Afghanistan.
"I also want to praise God because my church collected some money to get Bibles for Afghanistan. They came and sent the money out," he is heard saying during a Bible study class.

It is not clear that the Bibles were distributed to Afghans, but Hughes said that none of the people he recorded in a series of sermons and Bible study classes appeared to able to speak Pashto or Dari.

"They weren't talking about learning how to speak Dari or Pashto, by reading the Bible and using that as the tool for language lessons," Hughes said.
"The only reason they would have these documents there was to distribute them to the Afghan people. And I knew it was wrong, and I knew that filming it … documenting it would be important."

Pentagon officials have so far not responded to a copy of the footage provided to them, but the distribution of Bibles in a place as politically sensitive as Afghanistan is bound to cause deep concern in Washington, our correspondent says.

We hunt them down... We hunt people for Jesus... at the point of an assault rifle and force them to convert to Christianity?

Haven't progressed very far from the Crusades of the Middle Ages, have we?

When will those Afghans and Pakistanis learn that the USA really, really wants to be their friend? If we're not sending in Hellfire missiles screaming into Pakistani wedding parties or Afghan hovels, we're using the armed might of the Pentagon to thump some bible into them.

Will they never appreciate all of our time and trouble bringing the Bible to their villages.. after we've bombed the bejesus out of them?

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At Monday, May 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many people do not understand what Jesus taught.

At Monday, May 04, 2009, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

What JC taught is to LOVE your fellow man and to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and minister to the sick.

But that type of gospel preaching is so passé these days.

At Tuesday, May 05, 2009, Blogger Musique said...

Hmm, anyone remember those Korean kimchi missionaries in Afghanistan years ago?


At Tuesday, May 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Friday, May 08, 2009, Blogger prayfat said...

So what can serious Christian soldiers "do" under General Order #1 to faithfully follow Jesus’ great commission? That's answered on the oprev.org web site in the "Dos and Don'ts for Deployment" page at http://www.oprev.org/Dos-Donts.htm .

General Order #1 directs Christians not to try to “proselytize” or convert anybody. It's God that does the converting. General Order #1 just supports good theology.

Acts 2:8 says that Jesus’ followers will "be" witnesses to the ends of the earth, not that they will "do" witnessing. Paul says some are called to be evangelists, not everyone. The job of every Christian soldier is to "be" a testimony, not to "do" evangelism. This does not violate General Order #1.

Mt. 28:19-20 literally says, "as you are going" (participle) "disciple" (main verb) "the ethno-linguistic groups" (direct object). The command is not to disciple individuals on a one-on-one basis like individualistic Americans tend to think about it. The command is to disciple whole ethno-linguistic groups. "Baptizing" and "teaching" (more modifying participles) are functions of the church not individuals. It's a command to grow churches not conduct one-on-one evangelism. Growing churches in new places involves multi-discipline integration of many different gifts and callings. Soldiers, through stability operations and a good testimony, help the church to grow in new areas.

General Order #1 prevents soldiers from distributing Bibles in local languages, but it does not prevent people who are not soldiers (i.e. returning Afghan refugees) from trying to establish a more pluralistic environment where Bibles are not burned.


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