Christian Soldiers and Iraq

by Brendan Lalor

It is interesting to note the diverse appeals to Christianity in Iraq:

  • Decent folks: Whistle-blower specialist Joseph M. Darby, who informed authorities about abuses at Abu Ghraib, said, “The Christian in me says it’s wrong.” (New York Times, 22 May 2004)
  • Ass holes: Abu Ghraib prisoner Ameed Saeed al-Sheikh reports, “They ordered me to curse Islam and because they started to hit my broken leg, I cursed my religion,” he said, referring to an injury he previously suffered in circumstances not made clear. “They ordered me to thank Jesus that I’m alive. And I did what they ordered me.” They also “forced him to eat pork and drink liquor, despite Islamic strictures. According to his account, a hostility toward Islam coursed through much of the abuse.” (New York Times, 22 May 2004)

Of course, beyond Abu Ghraib, religion serves as a motivation for all sorts of saintly behavior, on the one hand (in the form, for instance, of relief services), and all kinds of reprehensible behavior, on the other (for example, the anti-Palestinian fundamentalist Christians, or Lt. General Boykin’s aggression against Islamic peoples).

Perhaps more interestingly, many of the very people in the United States who insist that Christianity is misunderstood by those who take the reprehensible extremists as representative themselves take the Muslim extremists as representative of Islam.

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