I didn’t write about this when I first read it mainly because I was so disgusted by it I couldn’t put it into words.
According to an article in The Miami Herald published on the 4th of this month an Army chaplain, Josh Llano, was using a 500-gallon pool of water to coerce soldiers into getting baptized in exchange for a dip in the pool. ’‘It’s simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,’’ he said. ‘‘They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed,’’ Llano said.”
I still can’t think of anything to say that even begins to express my thoughts on this story. Anyway, Scott over at The Gamer’s Nook did a pretty good job of saying what I would have said had I not been so busy choking on my words at the time. He’s also posted a follow-up that at least shows the U.S. Army isn’t about to stand for this sort of activity either:
A chaplain from Houston assigned to the Army V Corps support unit in Iraq is now the focus of an Army inquiry for his practice of offering soldiers a dip into his 500-gallon pool if they agree to be baptized.
A newspaper article about Josh Llano, 32, generated numerous e-mails and phone calls, said Lt. Col. Eric Wester, a chaplain and spokesman for the Chaplain Corps based in Virginia.
Wester said the article, and the response, got the immediate attention of the corps’ chief, Maj. Gen. Gaylord T. Gunhus, who has requested that top chaplain officials looked into whether the article was accurate.
“The chief was immediately concerned about the nature of this article and negative reflection that it casts,” Wester said. “The question then arose to what degree is the information in the article accurate. The content of the article clearly raises immediate questions.”
No shit it raises questions. I don’t generally have a problem with chaplains being provided by the Army as long as they fulfill the requirement of respecting all faiths and assisting practitioners of those other faiths in the rituals they need to observe. Otherwise they are taking up resources and space that could be better used for other things.