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Fwd: Missionary Zealots' New War on Iraq

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  • Kristen E Cheney
    What do people think about this??? KC ... Kristen Cheney Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology University of California at Santa Cruz Social Sciences I Faculty
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2003
      What do people think about this???


      >User-Agent: Microsoft-Entourage/
      >Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 09:37:37 -0700
      >Subject: Missionary Zealots
      >From: "Conal Guan-Yow Ho (=?ISO-2022-JP?B?GyRCMj80JzEmGyhK?=)"
      > <conalho@...>
      >To: <anthrograds@...>
      >X-UCSC-CATS-MailScanner: Found to be clean
      >X-arrival-time: 1049992712
      >Have we not learnt anything from history? So here now certain Christian
      >groups are bent on converting Iraqi Muslims to Christians. Quel horreur!
      >(from The Globe & Mail, Canada's national daily)
      >U.S. missionaries plan 'spiritual warfare' when fighting ends
      >Wednesday, April 9, 2003 - Page A7
      >Washington is trying to portray its battle as one of liberation, not
      >conquest, but Iraq is about to be invaded by thousands of U.S. evangelical
      >missionaries who say they are bent on a "spiritual warfare" campaign to
      >convert the country's Muslims to Christianity.
      >Among the largest aid groups preparing to provide humanitarian aid to Iraqis
      >are a number of Christian charities based in the southern United States that
      >make no secret of their desire to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and win
      >over Muslim souls.
      >The largest of these is the Southern Baptist Convention, an ardent supporter
      >of the war as an opportunity to bring Christianity to the Middle East. It
      >says it has 25,000 trained evangelists ready to enter Iraq.
      >"That would [mean] a heart change would go on in that part of the world,"
      >Mark Liederbach of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said in a
      >recent speech to the SBC. "That's what we need to be praying for. That's how
      >a Christian wages spiritual warfare."
      >Such words have caused deep alarm among military and diplomatic authorities.
      >Although Christian aid organizations have worked comfortably alongside
      >secular groups in other conflicts, Muslims around the world are already
      >suspicious of U.S. motives in Iraq, and the worry is that missionaries could
      >reinforce the widespread popular belief that the war is really a "clash of
      >civilizations" between Christians and Muslims.
      >Muslim groups say they believe the presence of evangelists is a sign that
      >President George W. Bush is trying to impose his own evangelical
      >Christianity on Muslims. It does not help that Mr. Bush became a born-again
      >Christian with the assistance of Billy Graham, the founder of the SBC.
      >"This is creating a real serious problem of perception: Here we have an army
      >invading Iraq, followed by a bunch of people who want to convert everyone to
      >Christianity," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on Islamic-American
      >Relations. "How's that going to look in the Muslim world? And how's it going
      >to look that this guy says Muslims are evil and he's the guy who works with
      >the President?"
      >Mr. Hooper was referring to Mr. Graham's son, Franklin, who runs the SBC.
      >The younger Mr. Graham, who delivered the invocation at Mr. Bush's
      >inauguration in 2001, has repeatedly gone on the record describing Islam as
      >Mr. Graham has recently been more tolerant of Islam, but he has made it
      >clear that the conversion of Muslims to Christianity is a goal for his
      >"I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others
      >about His Son," he told the religious newsletter BeliefNet last week. "We
      >are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian, I
      >do this in the name of Jesus Christ."
      >In response to criticism, many Christian aid groups, including Mr. Graham's,
      >have toned down the religious messages.
      >In one major project, Baptist families have been asked to put together "gift
      >of love" food boxes designed to provide a month's worth of basic nourishment
      >to a family of five. "Please do not place any additional items/literature
      >inside the box," the families are told.
      >While many evangelical aid workers are motivated by humanitarian desires,
      >their mission statement makes it clear that they are required to attempt
      >conversions: "It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win
      >the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle,
      >and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ."

      Kristen Cheney
      Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology
      University of California at Santa Cruz
      Social Sciences I Faculty Services
      1156 High Street
      Santa Cruz, CA 95064
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