Turning Soldiers Into Spiritual Ones, Or More Lessons in Irony

A few stories have come out recently involving America’s military and different ways it pushes religion, namely evangelical Christianity, on its soldiers. I find them totally fascinating and riddled with irony. Why, prey tell, I will go on…

In Virginia at two different bases there have been annual “Spiritual Fitness Concerts” that feature Christian music acts performing, where all soldiers are required to attend. In fact, those who chose not to attend were punished for their decision.

Additionally a survey was released recently where 41% of non-Christian cadets (I’m aware that’s not a majority, but it’s interesting nonetheless) in the Air Force state they have been proselytized in the last year by the military. Unfortunately I couldn’t find how the cadets claimed to have been proselytized, but that’s okay because I can have enough fun simply with the Christian concerts put on by the Commanding General.

First of all, who can blame those soldiers for opting out of a Christian rock concert?

Yes I stole this from Jesusneedsnewpr.net but I don't know where he stole it from.

If I were in the Army I would indeed choose not to go, simply because Christian music, with rare exceptions, stinks. Most of them are mediocre musicians, unimaginative songwriters and wannabe rockstars who realized they wouldn’t be able to get signed to a mainstream label but that Christian ones are easier to get onto. I can’t blame them for not wanting to go see a lame band.

Secondly, who actually enjoyed those anti-drug assemblies in high school that was mandatory for all students to attend? I work as a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and even I think they’re usually lame. I mean really, who likes anything being forced down their throat? One of my issues is that I get reactive and I resent when something is being pushed upon me. I don’t like being manipulated and I don’t like being treated like a consumer who needs to buy whatever it is their selling. Their sales pitch devalues whatever good thing they may be promoting, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

And finally, I’m amazed that some people still want to marry military might and the movement Jesus started. It’s actually mind boggling to me. They stand at such a stark contrast that I’m in disbelief that they get blurred somehow. I think that the military wouldn’t really want anyone to take Christianity too seriously or they may suddenly convert soldiers to conscientious objectors who realize they need to get out of the armed forces pronto. Instead of building up soldiers the event, if they actually worked, could actually take away soldier from the American military.

What do you think of these reports? Do you applaud the military for wanting to encourage spirituality among soldiers? Does it feel manipulative to you?

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4 Responses to Turning Soldiers Into Spiritual Ones, Or More Lessons in Irony

  1. bethegospel says:

    I’ve heard old war vets talk about how there “aren’t any atheists in foxholes” and stuff like that. But I will have to agree and disagree with you on the Christian music a bit – in the 90s I would say most stuff stunk with a few exceptions, but if you stick with it, you can start to come across some really great and talented musicians – who are actually Christ followers. (But don’t feel like I’m preaching too much cause my car radio is totally on “106.1 GenX Rock!”)

    • I knew going into it I was being unfair with the Christian music thing, and there are some artists I really love (Robbie Seay Band is my personal favorite). I think the problem with Christian music is not necessarily the musicians but the industry itself that demands a certain ratio of “Jesus” per song and very particular and narrow subject matter.

  2. David says:

    What do you think of these reports?
    -1 Anyone that joins the military becomes subject to the rules, regulations and direct orders of their superiors. When lives are at stake, we can’t have individuals deciding what’s best for them. If you don’t want someone telling you what to do, stay home at Mama’s – there is no draft.
    -2 I agree, there are probably no atheists in foxholes. I bet if this concert happened in Afghanistan about 6 months into a tour, there would be a lot less individualism being expressed.
    -3 The separation of church and state simply states that the government will not choose a religion for you or interfere with your practice/expression. It does not mean that the name of Jesus cannot be uttered in the halls of government – or Allah or Buddah for that matter. An 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists simply states that they can exercise their religion free from government interference, and that the government will operate freely by the laws of the land and from their specific opinions.

    Do you applaud the military for wanting to encourage spirituality among soldiers?
    I applaud anyone who puts their life on the line in a time of war. An occasional Christian concert isn’t going to hurt anyone. Soldiers have free time in which they can listen to Black Sabbath ad nauseaum.

    Does it feel manipulative to you?

    The purpose of Christian music is to inspire Christians. In the end, it is not even to showcase talented Christians, but to lift of the name of Jesus, make a joyful noise etc.

    But like you, I am waiting for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to get saved so we can have some real Christian music.

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