For many years, the “purpose” statement of the Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization of over 15,000 fundamentalist Christian officers operating throughout the military, was:
“A spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
The OCF, whose membership is comprised of officers like “Christian Fighter Pilot” Major Jonathan C. Dowty, who joined the group while at the Air Force Academy and went on to be an OCF team leader at Edwards Air Force Base, stopped using its “ambassadors for Christ in uniform” purpose statement a few years ago after Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), began repeating it in all of his speeches and interviews where he talked about the OCF.
While the OCF said that they “will not allow the opposition, all of which is spearheaded by Satan, to thwart or prevent us from regaining territory for Jesus Christ and the U.S. military,” they did change their official purpose statement to the more innocuous:
“Our purpose is to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society.”
One OCF chapter that did not change its purpose statement from “A spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit,” however, was the chapter at the U.S. Naval Academy. The OCF page on the official Naval Academy website continued to proclaim that its goal was to turn midshipmen at the Academy into “ambassadors for Christ in uniform.” So, MRFF submitted a FOIA request to find out who was responsible for this blatant proclamation of a purpose so antithetical to the purpose of training future officers at the service academies — which is certainly not to be “ambassadors for Christ in uniform” whose goal is a “spiritually transformed military.”
In the wake of MRFF’s FOIA request, the OCF page on the Naval Academy’s website has been changed to:
“Our purpose is to glorify God by uniting Christian midshipmen for Biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society.”
Does this mean that the OCF has actually changed its purpose and is no longer trying to turn the U.S. military into a force of “ambassadors for Christ in uniform?” Well, no. As they said, “We will not allow the opposition, all of which is spearheaded by Satan, to thwart or prevent us from regaining territory for Jesus Christ and the U.S. military.” They’re just publicly being less overt about their goals by changing their official purpose statement. Just look at some of the statements from OCF’s batch of nominees for the organization’s council positions in this piece I wrote in 2011 — several years after the group attempted to change its public face by changing its official purpose statement. Reading these statements should give everybody a pretty good idea of the OCF’s attitude towards the Constitution, and their desire to circumvent it to convert the military:
“The main challenge is to continuously strive to advance the kingdom of Christ to ensure a godly America in a hostile world that continues to reject and resist the truth of Jesus Christ and his Holy Word.”
“OCF faces a challenge that is critical to our nation’s military health–the “challenge of balance” — assisting chaplains and military personnel in keeping the First Amendment from becoming an idol of religious authority.”
“In a society and military community that increasingly leans towards secularism and political correctness, how does OCF aggressively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ so that everyone has a life changing experience with God?”
OCF “must permeate the ranks and enlarge our membership and presence in the military.”
And my favorite:
“I think the most important issue facing OCF is the growing fear and reticence among many Christian officers to live out their faith and present biblical truth to those they lead. Many officers are afraid to acknowledge their faith in Jesus in private and many more will never publicly stand up for their faith based upon a fear of offending or violating the uniform code of military justice, command policy or regulations.”
U.S. military officers who are afraid of “violating the uniform code of military justice, command policy or regulations” by publicly espousing their religious views is a problem? To the rest of us that’s a solution!
The statements from these prospective OCF council members also make it clear that the OCF has a firm idea of what the “right kind” of Christian is.
“Though I grew up attending church every week, by the time I was in college, I had developed post-modern views, believing there were many ways to heaven. God used the Air Force Academy OCF cadet ministry and leaders to lovingly confront my heresy and make me aware of my need for a Savior.”
“I was a practicing Catholic and changed to Anglicanism as an adult. I met all church rituals duties and obligations. While attending a chapel sponsored program hosted by COL King Coffman, I was questioned of my faith and challenged to make a non-ritual profession on the altar of the main Protestant chapel. I did, and it changed my life as I finally understood and met the living Lord — a step beyond obedience to a dead Lord.”
Yep … can’t have any of those “post-modern” Christians, or those Catholics with their “obedience to a dead Lord,” among their “ambassadors for Christ in uniform.”
The OCF is, of course, not the only parachurch organization operating within our military that thinks the primary duty of a military officer is not to uphold the constitution, but to use their positions in the military to evangelize not just the military, but the world. What the OCF refers to as “ambassadors for Christ in uniform,” Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministry, which also operates throughout the military, calls “government-paid missionaries for Christ.”
As shown in the video below, a primary target of these groups is anywhere that young service members, both officers and enlisted, are being trained — the service academies, basic training installations, and other training situations. These are the places where the “low hanging fruit” is. These groups don’t even try to make it a secret that getting to service members at the times when they are tired, hungry, worn down from training and at their most vulnerable is one of their most effective proselytizing strategies.