June 19, 2009: There are accusations that Evangelist groups are abusing their endorsement of chaplains in the U.S. military to further their own agendas and to proselytize. Especially the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, which has endorsed more than 270 chaplains, is being criticized. In a 2003 newsletter, the founder stated the following about their efforts in Iraq:
The group also distributed hundreds of thousands of bibles in Iraq in short order. Furthermore, many chaplains are accused of harassing and discriminating against members of other religions, including Muslims and Jews, even though they are supposed to work together with members of all religions, and they are also actively trying to proselytize within their service branches.
Of course there is nothing inherently sinister about proselytization … it's an entirely normal feature, and indeed a duty in many religions. Whipping up paranoia against innocent, everyday activities is a normal part of the demonization of enemies popular amongst totalitarian regimes.
Game and Story Use
- Imagine a large fantasy nation with a large number of different faiths and denominations. What if a specific religion attempts to infiltrate the military in large numbers so that they can be sure of its assistance in future times of crisis?
- Alternatively, perhaps innocent missionary activities by off-duty soldiers are blown out of proportion by local religious establishments into a meme about a wide-spread sinister conspiracy to whip up protests and resistance movements against the military.
- Further, local religious extremists could even invent non-existant "religious offenses" (include evangelism) on the part of foreign soldiers to harness the forces of hatred and intolerance to their cause..
- It's not all that uncommon for a military force to develop it's own religion, usually a subset of the predominating religion of it's culture, that emphasizes martial virtues such as bravery, love of country, fidelity to one's fellow soldiers, and esprit de corps. This can vary from a simple Code of Honor to more formal religions such as the Mithraism of the Roman Empire or fighting religious orders such as the Knights Templar.
- In any case, when incorporating references to real-life religions into your campaign, tread lightly. As this page demonstrates.