Mishegas, Politics, Religion

80 U.S. Soldiers Punished for Opting Out of Christian "Spiritual Fitness" Concert

I’m so disgusted. From the HuffPo:

For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts. As I’ve written in a number of other posts, “spiritual fitness” is just the military’s new term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity. And this concert series is no different.
On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking “an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God.”…
The Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series was the brainchild of Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, who, according to an article on the Army.mil website, “was reborn as a Christian” at the age of sixteen. …In the Army.mil article, Maj. Gen. Chambers was quoted as saying, “The idea is not to be a proponent for any one religion. It’s to have a mix of different performers with different religious backgrounds.” But there has been no “mix of different performers with different religious backgrounds” at these concerts. Every one of them has had evangelical Christian performers, who typically not only perform their music but give their Christian testimony and read from the Bible in between songs.
Another problem with these concerts, besides the issues like soldiers being punished for choosing not to attend them, is that they are run by the commanders, and not the chaplains’ offices. It is absolutely permissible for a chaplain’s office to put on a Christian concert. It is not permissible for the command to put on a Christian concert, or any other religious event. Having a religious concert series that is actually called and promoted as a Commanding General’s Concert Series is completely over the top.
And then there’s the cost. These concerts aren’t just small events with local Christian bands. We’re talking about the top, nationally-known, award-winning Christian artists, with headline acts costing anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, and even many of the opening acts being in the $10,000 range.
The cost of these concerts led MRFF’s research department to start looking at some of the DoD contracts for other “spiritual fitness” events and programs, and what we found was astounding. One contract, for example, awarded to an outside consulting firm to provide “spiritual fitness” services, was for $3.5 million.

Whole article here.

8 thoughts on “80 U.S. Soldiers Punished for Opting Out of Christian "Spiritual Fitness" Concert

  1. Come on. Everybody knows that’s it’s safe to be a Jew anywhere in America which is why there’s no reason to worry about those pesky muslims and their victory mosque on the ashes of GI JOE.

  2. Is there any evidence that any of the punished soldiers were Jewish? If not why is this article here? Things are better now between Jews and Christians than they have been since, well, always. Why muck things up?
    Besides Christian music is better than Jewish music and always has been. And that’s in spite of all the hype around Matisayu and the unlistenable like.

  3. Oh, I’m pretty sure issues of church and state and religious coercion in America are always of interest to Jews. And yes, in fact, there were Jews (and Muslims) among the 80 punished.

  4. A tad OT, but I’d say there’s tons of good Jewish music. You really have to seek it out though, and Matisyahu is not on my list.
    Dave and those who are similarly disillusioned with Jewish music should check out:
    Pharaoh’s Daughter
    Basya Schechter
    Benyamin Brody’s “Shir HaShirim”
    The Bnei Jeshurun cds
    Elli and Ravital Kranzler’s “Ki Atah Imadi”

  5. also, don’t forget Girls In Trouble.
    I bet we could find some USY kids forced to go hear Matisyahu…
    seriously though, why are taxpayers paying for large-scale entertainment anyway? I can imagine for overseas, but how hard can it be to get to a Christian rock concert in VA?

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