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Jan 10 2013

U.S. Naval Academy Officer’s Christian Fellowship Removes Slogan from Webpage After MRFF FOIA Request

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.

 

 

16 comments

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  1. 1
    steve84

    Onward, Christian Taliban

  2. 2
    A Hermit

    I don’t often comment on this blog, but I have to say that to me the MRFF is one of the most important secular organizations out there. The thought of a “spiritually transformed” (ie Christianized) US military frankly scares the shit out of me.

    Thank you for fighting the good fight.

  3. 3
    davidlaibida

    That is some scary shit. I’m glad I live in the relative sanity of Canada.

  4. 4
    Dennis Huffman

    “All the people that teach in the synagogues (a jewish word for churches) and on the streets are hypocrites” For they like and even love to stand in those very places to pray out loud in order to be seen by men, I tell you the truth, they have recieved thier rewards in full”. – Quoted by none other then Jesus Christ himself (and he was reported to be AGNOSTIC – Imagine that an agnostic (meaning not all knowing ‘son of god’ (?)
    Who is this god person anyway?

    “God is an invisable spirit that cannot be seen by human eyes”. – Jesus

    Therefore you are a human and you cannot see him/it – so therefore he/it does not exist.

    ** A hypocrite is an idiot”.

  5. 5
    maddog1129

    They took their oaths to uphold the Constitution with mental reservations and purposes of evasion, then.

  6. 6
    Pinky

    My suggestion to the OCF is to shrug off the “post-modern” military, go on a retreat to a remote area and handle rattlesnakes and drink poison like their deity told them to.

  7. 7
    Dennis Huffman

    Question: What is the Holy Spirit and where did it come from?

  8. 8
    Robert Shelby

    If Satan existed, his major work would be religion. Fortunately, Satan is part of many people’s most elementary superstition. One of our commonest and worst superstitions is that our religions are not superstitions but true. Whatever values a religious faith conveys, it turns worthless when it blocks thinking and insight that bring a mind closer to reality.

  9. 9
    Dennis Huffman

    And are you aware that all this talk about religions is outdated in modern day times and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever anyway because I heard something a few weeks ago that actually mad eme take a few steps back after I heard it and that is that Jesus himself was just a made up figure by the Roman Catholic Church in order to keep the populations at bay, it other words he and it was a figment of the Roman heiarchys imaginations. This is because there is no modern day proof that the man Jesus ever existed.

    Who is this God person anyway?

    Who is this Satan person anyway?

    “The devils greatest trick is in the belief that he does not exist”?

    Where is the solid proof that I can see, feel, and touch?

  10. 10
    Robert Shelby

    Dennis, you are not entirely wrong but have a lot to learn about religion in general and Christianity in particular. Jesus the man may well have lived, but the divine Christ is Paul’s invention. Christians today are actually Paulists, for he invented their religion based on a scatter of Jewish groups called The Church of God, derived from Essene doctrines & practice given by a “Teacher of Righteousness” many came to identify with Jesus. Jesus was not regarded as divine or the savior until “Saint” Paul dreamed him up. Paul was no cheap faker, he believed in himself, his vision and mission. Like most organizations with long history, the Roman church inflates itself.

  11. 11
    Karen Locke

    These folks are not just Christians, they’re Evangelical Christians of a particular bent. Catholicism and Anglicanism, to mention two Christian sects called out in the article, aren’t Christian enough for them. Nor are many of their Evangelical brethren. And they use the hierarchy of the military to enforce their beliefs on others, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly. Without restrictions, I believe they’d use our military as a global enforcer to convert people to their religion or kill them in the name of protecting the world from Satan. They are evil.

  12. 12
    Robert Shelby

    How right you are, Karen! These Evangelicals are deep in fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is the curse of any religion. It simplifies and literalizes scripture, resulting in implicit atrocities. Typically, Evangelicals are extreme Paulists. Those who see themselves as Christian yet are relatively open, moderate, tolerant , generous minded and lovingly careful of others are what can be called “Jesuarian” in contrast to Paulist. Spirituality is the important element in people. It often begets religiousity, but religions never necessarily beget spiritual relation to others and the world we live in. Spiritually is not denoted by belief in spirits or the supernatural, but by a fairly unselfish attitude of trying to be one’s best and to doi good to others, leaving the world at least no worse than one found it.

    Spiritual persons view things in wholeness, recognizing the unity of opposites ultimately in the oneness of all things. They do not despise the people or religions they have outgrown, but sympathize and offer comfort where possible. They avoid trying to bridge or improve impossible intransigence. Better to leave those alone who will not be reached. Merely offer unspoken example or significant speech on other matters. Opposition hardens them.

  13. 13
    baal

    Does anyone know if the OCF keeps tabs on or regular meetings with OCF ex-military? This is scary enough without also considering that they might either disband into a cell structure or feel comfortable enough to have a semi-standing now-private sectarian christian army in waiting.

  14. 14
    anubisprime

    Religion always and will ever strive to have an armed wing to spread their ‘lurve’ in no uncertain way …this is just the theist dimwads attempting to deeply influence if not command the whole American military the largest military force on the planet starting with the officers…
    With such a force of arms, jeebus will indeed march on, the crusades, all of them taught them nothing it was just a toe dip compared to what the modern theist has aspirations on!

    A religiously inspired massive military…just what the world needs right now!…this ain’t gonna end anywhere near good!

  15. 15
    Robert Shelby

    Devoutly religious people are psychologically weak. Unable to accept their own, responsibly independent existence, they brace themselves up on the crutch of christ and yield up their own invisible basis to the never-evident father in Heaven. Aware they have no shred of proof for their beliefs or loyal faith in the beliefs, they adamantly insist on their superiority to sensible evidence. Conditioned feeling is all. Everyone (or everything) supernatural is a “spirit.” They don’t know what spirits are. They don’t know what their own, individual spirits are.
    Spirit is not “non-material” substance but more physical than physics. It is the bio-neural process of self. It cannot be seen or touched, only experienced during activities of which one is aware. That basis is the source of body, person, feeling, action, thinking, etc. It is not separate from self, just as a lake surface is not separate from the lake’s water. Only in concept is there any distinction. Our problem lies in having more words and words about words than our world has “things” and relations between them. However useful language has been to human life, it is dangerous as a swamp filled with pythons, ‘gators, quicksand and sasquatches. Like unicorns, many things are in dictionaries which exist nowhere else but in imagination and art.

  16. 16
    Rich Woods

    Yet another reason to stay well clear of the US military. There’s not just a slice of them who are bad shots, there’s also a slice who are delusional thinkers.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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