Pentagon Confiscates Bibles

Pentagon Confiscates Bibles


This story hasn't received much attention but it caught the eye of The Brody File. The Pentagon has confiscated a stack of Bibles sent to an Evangelical soldier in Afghanistan. The Bibles were printed in the local Pashto and Dari languages. Military rules forbid proselytizing. By the way, the Bibles were burned because the rules on the base say that all garbage is burned at the end of the day. But just asking here; if the U.S. Military seized a stack full of Korans, would they be burned? You think that might cause a little outrage in the Muslim world?

Watch the video report first reported by AlJazeera here. Read more below from Reuters:

Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed to ensure that troops did not breach regulations which forbid proselytising, a military spokeswoman said.

The U.S. military has denied its soldiers tried to convert Afghans to Christianity, after Qatar-based Al Jazeera television showed soldiers at a bible class on a base with a stack of bibles translated into the local Pashto and Dari languages.

U.S. Central Command's General Order Number 1 forbids troops on active duty -- including all those based in Iraq and Afghanistan -- from trying to convert people to another religion.

"I can now confirm that the Bibles shown on Al Jazeera's clip were, in fact, collected by the chaplains and later destroyed. They were never distributed," spokeswoman Major Jennifer Willis said at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.

Military officials have said the bibles were sent through private mail to an evangelical Christian soldier by his church back home. The soldier brought them to the bible study class where they were filmed.

Trying to convert Muslims to another faith is a crime in Afghanistan. An Afghan man who converted to Christianity was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2006 but was allowed to leave the country after an international uproar.

"It certainly is, from the United States military's perspective, not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period," chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen told a Pentagon briefing on Monday. (Reporting by Peter Graff)

Also, read below from the American Forces Press Service

A report broadcast by the Arab news network Al Jazeera about U.S. servicemembers proselytizing in Afghanistan is just plain wrong, Pentagon officials said today.
The Al Jazeera story showed an evangelical religious service on Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and a discussion about distributing Bibles that had been translated into Dari and Pashtu – the two major languages of Afghanistan.

“American servicemembers are allowed to hold religious services,” a Defense Department official speaking on background said. “The clip shows one of those services with an American chaplain leading a religious service for American servicemembers. In it, he spoke generically about the evangelical faith. That’s all there was to it.”

The chaplain did not urge servicemembers to go among the Afghan people and attempt to gain converts to Christianity, the official said.

In the second instance, a young sergeant received a shipment of Bibles translated into Dari and Pashtu from his church in the United States. The film showed a discussion about the Bibles. “What it did not show was the chaplain counseling the young sergeant that distributing the Bibles was against U.S. Central Command’s General Order No. 1,” the official said. The chaplain confiscated the Bibles. “As far as we know, none ever got off base.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen was asked about the incident – which happened in May 2008 – during a Pentagon news conference today. “It certainly is – from the United States military’s perspective – not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period,” Mullen said.

There is no indication disciplinary action was taken against the young servicemember. “The counseling sufficed,” the official said.

General Order No. 1 specifically forbids “proselytizing of any faith, religion or practice.”

What do you think? After all, remember The Great Commission given by Jesus? Read that here.

Watch more on the controversy here.

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