General David Petraeus has resigned today claiming “personal reasons”. Okay, he is entitled. The personal reason? He had an extra-marital affair. It happens all too often and he is, after all, human. But what I find significant about this is he is yet another ReBiblican…a Christian Dominionist. Another sanctimonious man-of-God who touts that he, as the “right kind of Christian”, is entitled to claim proprietary ownership to the keys of morality. And, in addition to powerful military positions, until his resignation today Petraeus was the Director of the CIA. He actually supported Sarah Palin in 2008; was considered a potential running mate with her for the future; and discussed as a VP possibility with Mitt.
I am fully aware that politics makes strange bedfellows, and that religious zealotry ramps that up several notches, so much of this speculation about a political future for Petraeus was just talk. But what isn’t just talk is the legacy of promoting proselytizing in the military to armed forces personnel considered to be “unchurched”.
Many of you know that I am on the Board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation where we fight this aggressive “soul harvesting” within our military every day. And in that battle we had firsthand interaction with General David Petraeus prior to his move to the CIA. Our Senior Researcher, Chris Rodda wrote an article at Talk2Action that you can read here in full. Below are a few excerpts from her article:
As is often the case here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), while in the course of investigating one report of constitutionally questionable activity within our armed forces, we stumble into something else that’s just as bad or worse.[...]While perusing the rest of the Air Force Times issue, [MRFF Founder] Weinstein noticed a half-page ad for a book by Army chaplain Lt. Col. William McCoy, titled Under Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel. With a title like that, MRFF, of course, had to find out just what this book was about, and this is what we found — a pro-Christian, anti-atheist book heartily endorsed by none other than Gen. David Petraeus…Contrary to the old “no atheists in foxholes” movie line, the percentage of non-theists in the military, according to a report from the Population Reference Bureau, is actually somewhat higher than it is among the civilian population.This isn’t the first time MRFF has taken issue with an endorsement by Gen. Petraeus. Last November, while looking into the completely unconstitutional practice of mandatory Christian concerts being foisted upon our soldiers during basic training at several of the Army’s largest training installations [...]
Weinstein had this to say about Petraeus’ endorsement of this book and the perpetuation of a dangerous theme that we are truly in a Holy War that pits Christians against Islam…
“Look, there is simply no other way to say it but to speak the absolute brutal truth here. General Petraeus has shockingly abrogated and noxiously defiled the sacred oath he took to protect and preserve, support and defend, NOT a parochial biblical worldview of the New Testament’s Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the United States Constitution; which includes a specific beacon provision which boldly proclaims absolutely ‘no religious test’ in Clause 3, Article 6. By so very prominently and universally endorsing Chaplain McCoy’s book, with its unadulterated promotion of Christian religious supremacy and concomitant excoriating and denigrating of the veracity, integrity, and character of the hundreds of thousands of United States military personnel who freely elect to follow no religious path, Petraeus unlawfully fashions his own de facto ‘religion test’ in direct contravention of America’s most cherished and beloved governing document. His command leadership role thus has become terminally freighted and compromised with this disgusting, vile, unconstitutional Christian religious tyranny and exceptionalism at precisely the same time we are at war with Islamic fundamentalists framing America’s Iraq and Afghanistan combat efforts as a ‘modern day Crusade.’ The monumentally detrimental national security risks attendant to Petraeus’s actions of Constitutional defiance justify the swift forfeiture of his titular position of military command and, further, cry out for his immediate punishment by General Courts Martial under Article 134.”
I do not enjoy watching the personal trials and failings of others, not a bit. In fact, given the outstanding career that General Petraeus has had it is so unfortunate that he had to go out on this note of scandal and impropriety, dishonoring him. With that said, had he kept his religious views out of his work I would not even be writing this today.
It is important to note just who these people are that walk among us and the resignation by Petraeus today opens the opportunity to shine light on them. Christian Dominionists are already in very high positions of power in our government – and as this reveals – in our military. With nearly 200 military bases around the world it is ripe for commanding enlisted to proselytize and a very dangerous face for America. Good-bye Mr. Petraeus…