Gen. Petraeus Draws Fire for Religious Book Endorsement

I posted on this earlier in the week, but it continues to make headlines. Groups that would like to see the influence of certain Christian groups in the military lessened are spinning this as proof that the military is taking on a decidedly hostile tone to those who are not Christians.

My experience at the Chaplain school has been that, while it is true that certain Christian denominations are more prevalent in the Chaplaincy, the environment is decidedly not hostile to other religions. This issue is very important because if outside groups succeed in taking away the freedom of Chaplains to practice in their faith traditions they will have gained a dangerous foothold in emasculating the entire Chaplain Corps.

Since the birth of this country, Chaplains have been seen as playing a vital role in the military. The spiritual needs of humans have not changed in that time period and Chaplains are just as necessary today as they have been throughout history. The groups who are out to change the nature of the Chaplaincy are doing the military a great disservice.

Here are some excerpts from a Military.com article on the issue:

With his plug for “Under Orders,” Weinstein said in a statement to Military.com, Petraeus – one of the most widely recognized officers in the American military – is endorsing religion as something all Soldiers should have and, specifically, the Christian religion.

“General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, via his unadulterated and shocking public endorsement of a book touting both Christian supremacy and exceptionalism,” Weinstein told Military.com Aug. 16.

And by endorsing a book that argues only those who believe in God can fully contribute to the military mission or unit, Weinstein contends that Petraeus insults “”the integrity, character and veracity of approximately 21 percent of our armed forces members who choose not to follow any particular religious faith.”

He said that even if Petraeus offered his comments personally, that’s a distinction without a difference. “Privately he’s denigrating 21 percent of troops,” Weinstein said. Suppose he privately denigrated women, African-Americans or Jews? Weinstein asked.

“He should still be relieved of duty and court martialed,” he said.

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