Should Christians Be Banned from the Military?
Media goes nuts over Army general's comments on religion
After reading dozens of articles about comments U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin made to church groups, Weblog still can't figure out what all the fuss is about. Apparently, many believe the following beliefs make him unfit for military service: that America is engaged in a spiritual war, that Satan is more of a threat than Osama bin Laden, that Islam is tantamount to idolatry, that America is grounded in a Judeo-Christian heritage, and that Islamic terrorists have targeted the U.S. because of that heritage.
Now, CT has written quite a bit on all of these things, and we probably wouldn't state things quite the way that Boykin did (here's us on whether Islam is idolatry, for example). But while Boykin's phrasing needs more nuancing, the rhetoric of his critics is simply startling.
The chief inquisitor is William M. Arkin, a former Army intelligence analyst and consultant. After a month of "investigative" reporting, he was behind both an NBC Nightly News broadcast and a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times targeting Boykin as "divisive" and "controversial." He says Boykin's comments suggest that the war against terrorism is a religious war. "I think that it is not only at odds with what the president believes, but it is a dangerous, extreme and pernicious view that really has no place," Arkin told the Times. (And, for the record, that's where the quote ends. He doesn't say "has no place in military leadership. It apparently has no place anywhere.) In a Timesop-ed piece, he calls the Lt. Gen. "an intolerant extremist."
An "intolerant extremist," it should be pointed out (as the Times did in one of its articles), who regularly talks to churches about how radical Islamic ...