Sunsara Taylor reports on a recent BattleCry rally of 17,000 young people in Philadelphia. BattleCry is Ron Luce’s effort to engage young Christians in order to return the United States to “Christian” values. Taylor reports,
‘A featured speaker, Franklin Graham, who delivered George Bush’s first inaugural prayer, was introduced. . . .
The “heart” of Graham’s speech was a call for holy war. He preached about the “battle for souls of men and women from North to South, East to West, over the entire earth.” There is, he declared, “No way to God but through Jesus Christ.”‘
Franklin Graham and Ron Luce seem to be off the same religious block as Charles Stanley, head of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who declared in a sermon that “God is in favor of war” during the propaganda run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Taylor continues,
‘Graham told the biblical story of Daniel “taming the Babylonians.” After celebrating the U.S. troops who are killing in Iraq right now, he preached that there is “no difference between the Iraqis today and Babylon 1,000 years ago.” In the Bible Babylon is the epitome of evil and decadence. All manner of bloodlust and plunder against it is not just condoned but celebrated. As Psalm 137:9 spells out, even the babies are to be dashed to death against the rocks!
While calling on the youth present to engage in this “battle for the souls of men,” he exhorts them, “No souls can be saved without the shedding of blood. Blood must be shed!”
Then, a group of Navy SEALs are projected on the large screen above the stadium as they make their way from backstage. Dressed in camouflage, carrying automatic weapons, kicking down doors and firing blanks into empty rooms along their way, they looked like the house-to-house raids and indiscriminate killing seen in rare footage out of Iraq.
Fireworks exploded and flames billowed as Ron Luce greeted, bragging that all of these men have been involved in real battles. They are part of FORCE Ministries, which conducts Bible studies at military bases around the world and is made up of current and retired SEALs, law enforcement, and other military who preach the Gospel. Among those on stage, one is a SEAL just back from Afghanistan and another was a member of a police SWAT team. All of them are trained to kill and do so believing God is sanctioning them.
One of the SEALs told about boot camp and being forced to surrender his entire will to the demands of his instructor. Luce stepped in to tell the audience, “That is your youth pastor. He’s going to make you a SEAL for Christ.” Of course, the great Commander of this religious army is God who issues his foot-soldiers armor-“a shield of faith, a belt of truth, and boots of preparedness”-as well as “offensive weapons” like the “sword of the spirit” and the “word of God.”
This merging of “God’s Army” and the U.S. military returns full circle to the event’s opening when a letter of greeting and blessings from George W. Bush was read. After that, a minister had led thousands to bow their heads and thank the lord for giving them George Bush, who coincidentally is the U.S.’s Commander-in-Chief.”‘
It would appear that the goal is to create a mass movement to transform American into a theocracy and the U. S. Military into an “Army of God”. Although Islam may be the ultimate target, the immediate target is gays & lesbians, abortion, birth control, and our modern secular society in general.
See http://www.counterpunch.com/taylor05232006.html for Sunsara Taylor’s full article.