by Charles Lemos, Mon May 04, 2009 at 08:33:17 PM EDT
Of all blunders to commit, this one is beyond the pale and only sure to arose the ire of the Islamic world unnecessarily. US soldiers at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan have been filmed with local language Bibles and urged to be "witnesses for Jesus" despite anti-proselytizing rules.
In the video obtained by Qatar's Al Jazeera, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is shown telling US 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."
Al Jazeera's James Bays reports. I cannot in good conscience support any effort that involves proselytizing in Afghanistan. Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley must be removed from his position and reprimanded if not court-martial for breaking the military's anti-proselytizing rules. It is not our business to save souls. That is not the nature of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Whatever goodwill the President has so far engendered in his attempts to reach out to Muslims across the globe stands to be lost because of the reckless zeal of evangelical Christians who seem to view the US military as a modern day crusading institution.