The Hounds of Heaven

“The special forces guys – they hunt men, basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom.”

Its worse than you think.

Torture, religion, democracy, God. Theyre all part of the mixed-up, horrific business that George Bush unleashed in the Middle East and Central Asia, and that Barack Obama is struggling to control and rationalize. As the words above demonstrate, the 12th century is striving mightily to join hands with the 20th in the U.S. military: Unbridled religious arrogance is forging a link with high-tech weaponry and an unlimited defense budget.

The speaker, Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, who is no less than the chief of U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, was videotaped last year delivering a sermon at Bagram Air Base. Since Al Jazeera first broadcast the footage at the beginning of the week, it has spread widely on the Internet. Like so much else that the Bush administration has bequeathed us, and the world – pre-emptive war and torture, for instance – this is nothing new, but suddenly its overt. I cant exactly say this is a good thing, but certainly this is where we want it.

A U.S. military spokesman has denied that American soldiers are allowed to try to convert Afghans to Christianity – it violates Central Commands General Order No. 1 – and said that Hensley was quoted out of context. U.S. military spokesmen, of course, also routinely deny that U.S. bombing raids kill civilians.

Robert C. Koehler via The Hounds of Heaven |