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Religiosity
April 23, 2003
By Lisa Ashkenaz Croke

Although the president of these United States repeatedly assured the world that our wars are against terror - not Islam - the message doesn't seem to be sinking in.

Could it be that in addition to President Bush's inability to keep the idea that he may have been Chosen to his own damn self, Muslims familiar with repressive countries ruled by fundamentalism might be a tad concerned about the born-again Christian president's growing religious influence in the United States?

In an apparent effort to combat Homeland Security deficiencies, the House has authorized the same president who has been banned from Christ's birthplace to declare a national day of humility and submission in order to get on You Know Who's good side.

According to H. Res. 153, there is a "public need for fasting and prayer in order to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people of the United States and our Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq and under the threat of terrorism at home".

We wonder, did the bill's author negotiate these terms personally - was Jesus involved or did President Bush use his personal relationship with the Lord to get this on the table?

As of this posting, President Bush hasn't made his declaration. Presumably he's awaiting Authorization.

In North Carolina, the brave men and women at Fort Bragg will be treated to a visit from the Faith Force Multipliers.

"It's completely inappropriate to have the Army put on a revival meeting at a military base, and that is the bottom line of this event," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Meanwhile, religious coercion has made its way into the battlefields of Iraq, where an Army chaplain at Camp Bushmaster was inexplicably given control of a 500 gallon pool of clean water. American soldiers living in the dust, smoke and grime for over two weeks could only gain entry to this treasure if they agreed to be baptized.

"You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God," explained Army chaplain, Josh Llano, a southern evangelical Baptist.

Aggressive indeed. If the Unsaved prefer filth over Christian salvation, Llano is not above holding out food to bring the heathens to Christ.

"There is no fruit out here, and I have a stash of raisins, juice boxes and fruit rolls to pull out," he said.

Those who couldn't catch the show could still catch the Spirit by reading A Christian's Duty in a Time of War. In addition to daily prayers for the president, the books contained postcards for soldiers to sign and send to the White House confirming that they'd said their prayers.

Bet that will get you on Bush's Christmas card list, though abstaining soldiers should pray he's not checking it twice.

Finally, fundamentalist Christian organizations led by decriers of Islam plan to send their sheep into Iraq armed with band aids and bibles.

Somewhere in the world, Osama bin Laden is laughing his ass off.


Lisa Ashkenaz Croke is a community affairs reporter in Chicago and member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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