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?
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?