Fault Lines – Religion and Evangelical Fundamentalism in the United States and Israeli Military

Posted on September 21, 2009

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Part 1

The United States is a deeply religious country, over 90% believe in god and 80% believe in miracles. For the US military, dealing with its own religious identity has become an internal battle. Growing evidence points towards a rising influence of evangelical Christianity, and with two wars still raging in Muslim countries with significant religious overtones, there could be serious consequences for the US mission. Pentagon officials say incidents are isolated, aberrations occur, but others closely tied to the military and its religious leadership say a transformation is taking place with dire costs. On this weeks episode of Fault Lines, we look at the battle over the religious soul of the US military.

Also, Al Jazeera sit down with Brent Scowcroft, the National Security Advisor under Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush. He gives Fault Lines a fresh take on the issue of religion in the military and how it is impacting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Part 2 of 2

The Rise of Israel’s Military Rabbis

BBC

Military rabbis are becoming more powerful. Trained in warfare as well as religion, new army regulations mean they are now part of a military elite.

They graduate from officer’s school and operate closely with military commanders. One of their main duties is to boost soldiers’ morale and drive, even on the front line. […]

The military rabbis rose to prominence during Israel’s invasion of Gaza earlier this year.

Some of their activities raised troubling questions about political-religious influence in the military.

Gal Einav, a non-religious soldier, said there was wall-to-wall religious rhetoric in the base, the barracks and on the battlefield.

As soon as soldiers signed for their rifles, he said, they were given a book of psalms.

And, as his company headed into Gaza, he told me, they were flanked by a civilian rabbi on one side and a military rabbi on the other. [more]

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2


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