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The Christian Conspiracy to Take Over the Military
Posted on Jul 13, 2011
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This week on Truthdig Radio: The man who brought down Warren Jeffs’ Mormon fundamentalist sect, the Christian conspiracy to take over the military, and the hot new children’s book “Go the Fuck to Sleep.” Plus: a progressive analysis of the debt ceiling drama.
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Peter Scheer: Welcome to Truthdig Radio from Truthdig.com and KPFK Los Angeles. I’m Peter Scheer. On today’s show: Sam Brower, the man who brought down Warren Jeffs’ Mormon fundamentalist sect; Mike Farrell reports on the Christian conspiracy to take over the military; we read from the hot new children’s book “Go the F*** to Sleep”; plus, Robert Scheer and economist Moshe Adler offer a progressive analysis of the debt-ceiling drama.
But first, a bit of trivia: Netflix, which rents DVDs and streams live video over the Internet, is making waves with the sudden announcement that the company is essentially doubling subscription fees. To put things in perspective, think about this: According to one recent estimate, about one-quarter of all Internet traffic in North America passes through Netflix servers. That’s more than iTunes, more than Facebook, and more than all Web browsing combined. And that’s a lot of angry customers. Now, let’s get on with the show.
There is a group of fundamentalist Christians who see it as their mandate to occupy secular institutions, including the military, in advance of the prophesied return of Jesus. According to Truthdig contributor Mike Farrell, whose latest piece is “Extremely Unctuous,” they may be more successful than you think. Mike Farrell is an actor and activist best known for his work on “M*A*S*H” and his opposition to the death penalty. Welcome to Truthdig Radio, Mike.
Mike Farrell: Nice to be with you, thank you.
Peter Scheer: So we actually ran an article by David Antoon, who is a retired Air Force colonel, in 2007 called “The Cancer From Within” about the Air Force Academy and his struggle as a graduate of that institution—not wanting to send his son there, having learned how taken over it had become by fundamentalists. But this is part of a larger plan; can you just explain that to us?
Mike Farrell: Well, yeah. The studies that have been done on the … we have to understand, I think, make the differentiation between fundamentalist Christians, Bible-believing Christians, evangelical Christians, mainline Christians and what they call Dominionist Christians. Dominionist—that label seems to imply that there are these people who believe that they, and only they, have the right connection with Jesus, and therefore they are the one true faith, and everybody else—literally everybody else—is doomed to hell. And they have this mandate from God, from their perspective, to move into and take over secular institutions. And the one that I wrote about that is a big source of great concern is, of course, the military. A lot of people don’t understand the degree of commitment on the parts of these people. It’s very cult-like; in my view, it is a cult. And it is so intensely emotional that it becomes, that they become sort of rabid about it. So when you move into an area like the military … I use as the example what was called in the news, a few months back, the “Jesus rifles.” That somebody could be so intent on putting out “the word” that they would compromise young kids who are carrying weapons into a Muslim nation to fight for what they believe is freedom. …
Peter Scheer: Can you—I’m sorry, Mike—can you just explain what the “Jesus rifles” are?
Mike Farrell: Oh, sure, yeah. There were 800,000 American army weapons, or military weapons, that were outfitted with specific sights, and that were bought from a company in the United States by the Pentagon. And it was only later discovered that on these sights, this particular company—which is owned by one of these people with a very fervent Christian belief—was engraved a biblical, what I call the biblical code, that leads you to a quotation in the Bible about Jesus being the Lord God and all that stuff. Well, you know, the problem with that … maybe nobody would ever see that code, but for the people who did—and for the people on the other side who found it and discovered it and understood it—it undergirds this whole notion that we are a Christian nation fighting a war against Islam and every other faith that is not Christian—and not only not Christian, but in fact the very specific little sect of Christianity that these people represent.
Josh Scheer: Hey Mike, this is Josh. I just want—this is not about people of faith, of any faith, right? These are extremists.
Mike Farrell: Oh, of course.
Josh Scheer: Yeah.
Mike Farrell: I think that’s the point I was trying to make. There are extremists … you know, we hear about extremists in the media today, in the American media today, and everybody sort of automatically clicks into Muslim extremists or Islamic extremists, when in fact there are extremists in every faith and every belief system. And it’s important for us to understand that extremism … actually, there was a study done a few years back that suggests that there’s more extremist activity outside of the Muslim faith than there is inside the Muslim faith, in spite of what you read in the media. Religious extremism, I’m saying. And we see that—I mean, you know, you don’t have to go back to Dr. [George] Tiller; we see it from Christians, we see it from Jews, we see it from people of all kind of faith beliefs. They tend to get so crazed in the commitment to their connection with God—whatever they deem God to be—and how it is that one makes oneself aligned with God, that they believe that they must destroy the other … anybody who’s, from their perspective, a nonbeliever.
Josh Scheer: But now, these people are in most part not, you know, blowing things up; they’re not terrorists in that way. Their kind of extremism is taking over these institutions and trying to kind of …
Peter Scheer: To what end ...
Josh Scheer: … topple the government. Yeah, to what end … but also to topple, to be … basically that they want to have the power, and they’re doing it in a different way than other extremists.
Mike Farrell: Well, they want to turn America into a theocracy. They want this to be—and you’ve heard, I know you’ve heard people say that they identify America as a Christian nation. There’s no question that the majority of the people that have a religious belief in this country are Christian. But that doesn’t make us a Christian nation, and the whole notion of separation of church and state is intended to make sure that there isn’t this insistence upon a particular religious belief that is inculcated into the body politic by those believers of a certain faith.
Peter Scheer: I think that’s an important point because, again, referencing that David Antoon piece we ran in 2007, tying in with your piece—“Extremely Unctuous” is the name of the piece—you know, there’s this idea, there’s this sort of stereotype, I think, of the military grunt as a kind of more conservative, more religious person. And that may be, but this is a scheme; this is an actual strategy to infiltrate, take over and dominate.
Mike Farrell: Absolutely. And it’s rampant in our country, and it’s done in very, I think, some very grandiose ways, but also in some very insidious ways, and that’s the one that worries me. The grandiose things we can all look at, identify this jerk in Florida who burned the Quran and made himself, on some levels, famous as a result of it, is one thing. But when people very quietly and very insistently insist their particular viewpoint into a system—into a system like the military—then I think we’re looking for big trouble. Because once the military becomes and/or is perceived to be an arm of a particular religious view, then we’ve moved into an area that is deeply tragic and, I think, very destructive.
Josh Scheer: And one question here because, you know, in schools for the most part … I mean some schools, obviously, that are not watched as much have separation of church and state. Why have these institutions been allowed to get away with this? Why are there “Jesus rifles”? Is it just, you know, have they corrupted … because shouldn’t the U.S. government step in?
Peter Scheer: Yeah, why isn’t this getting caught?
Josh Scheer: Yeah.
Mike Farrell: Well, yeah, the problem is exposing it. There was … Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation—on whose advisory board I now serve—have raised so much attention and raised so many issues that the military hierarchy is beginning to pay attention. But they’re paying attention in a way that is typically ineffective. There was a report done by a Gen. [Patrick] Gamble, who recently went to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and talked to cadets, and asked about their experiences of being proselytized. And [he] didn’t understand, or if he understood—which is the more worrisome part—he was playing a game with them. But to give him the benefit of the doubt, [he] didn’t understand that you don’t talk to somebody in the ranks without an understanding of the fact that he or she can’t, unless being held in absolute confidence, can’t say anything that is contradictory to a superior. Because it’s going to harm his or her education, harm his or her career, harm his or her opportunities to advance. And that’s what we’re facing there. It has become so insidiously ingrained in the hierarchy at the military academies in general, that there is an unwillingness to unmask it on the parts of many people who either see things the same way or are unwilling to look very seriously and very closely at it in an investigatory manner that is effective.
Peter Scheer: One last question, Mike. Who is in charge of this? I mean, is there a dark room somewhere around a big table where there are people meeting and plotting this takeover?
Mike Farrell: [Laughs] I wish I could tell you. There are, there certainly are leaders of the Christian Dominionist fundamentalist movement that can be named, but … you know, there’s the guy named [Rousas John] Rushdoony, and there are some others that have sort of set the seeds of this thing in motion. But I think, what’s his name—[Jeff Sharlet], who has written about “The Family”—there are some other people who have seen, who have exposed this kind of behavior in other areas of our government and in other areas of our society. But I can’t tell you, other than to say that in the military hierarchy there are believers, whether they are—I mean, who have become believers—whether they are the ones who are responsible for the initiation of this process, I don’t know.
Peter Scheer: Well, thanks so much for speaking with us, Mike.
Mike Farrell: My pleasure.
Josh Scheer: Our Truthdig correspondent. [Laughter]
Peter Scheer: Yeah, Truthdig correspondent Mike Farrell, whose latest article is “Extremely Unctuous.” And you can find it on Truthdig.com.
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