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Why God in the military?

Reader comment on item: The Guantánamo Arrests – What Do They Mean?

Submitted by Travis Workman (United States), Nov 16, 2003 at 23:59

It is interesting to me that in a country whose Constitution purports to separate church and state, there is such a large need for religious leaders in the military in the first place. Chaplains have always been employed by the military, and now each religious group gets their own leaders. Although this seems fair and democratic, considering that Protestant soldiers shouldn't be the only ones to have their faith represented, I wonder if the elimination of organized religion, from both school (including the religious flag-salute and prayer) and the military, might help to solve the problem of religious fundamentalism, which seems as rampant on the Protestant right as it does in radical Islam. One can keep repeating and repeating that most Muslims aren't bad, but that some are radical and fundamentalist, and therefore dangerous.

However, I have the same opinion of the Protestant right in the U.S.A. Some of them seem harmless, and others of them see the entire political situation through their religious and racist prejudices. It is an irony to me that people criticize fundamentalist Islam for using religion to mobilize people politically, but for many of the God-fearing soldiers in the U.S. army, I'm not sure if the situation is much different. I'm sure many people might attack this letter, if it makes it up on the website. I haven't addressed the larger, more "political" issues. However, if one can disengage one's reason from foreign policy for a moment, perhaps getting God out of politics altogether is a better solution than competing to see who is more or less fanatical.
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