Lieutenant General Boykin's Speeches
In one of my only forays into NPR's news recently, I this morning heard a story about a Lieutenant General Boykin, described as a "Senior Pentagon Official," and some rather un-politically correct things he's had to say of late. NPR took great care to describe him as an Evangelical Christian. Specifically, Boykin has spoken at prayer breakfasts and churches has made comments daring to suggest our God is real and theirs isn't - here are some quotes:

'...regarding a 1993 battle with a Muslim militant leader in Somalia: "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."'
and
"We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this,"
and finally
"We're a Christian nation. Our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

Needless to say, this is provoking some furor. Needless to say, more than a few on the Left are calling for his resignation, or at least re-assignment.

My question: Presuming we're all in general agreement that Boykin is *right* - i.e. that the "god" of the Muslims is an in base terms an idol, that Satan is at the roots of terrorism, and etc. - should he have said so? I'm of two minds on the subject, to be honest.
The first part says "well that was a dumb thing to say, Lt. General. What makes you think you can get away with walking around saying that large religious groups are worshiping idols and working for Satan? It's not nice! It's gonna make people mad! It'll probably just exacerbate the situation, lose you your job for starters, and make everyone hate us poor despised Evengelicals even more. So for goodness sake keep your mouth shut!"
Then the second part of me speaks up and says "He's RIGHT, darn it, and why *shouldn't* he be allowed to say what he believes? Why should we all agree - even insist - that the elephant in the middle of the room be ignored? Maybe a good part of our problem here in this culture is that we have withdrawn from public life, debate, and dialog for so long that no-one knows what we believe, or why. Besides, Jesus never said that people were going to *like* us for what we had to say - indeed, He said just the oposite."

So, what does anyone else think? When should we speak and when would we keep our mouths shut? If you think maybe Boykin's remarks were unwise in the context, what are a better set of rules to determine when to make your beliefs known?
Link: Google News Search on Boykin
ROUS  Annette Collins, Sunday, 10-19-03 10:43 AM
my response
Some of these Quotes reminded me of the age old school yard arguement, "My dad is bigger than your dad".That being said my God IS bigger than your God.In my opinion,as christians we should be confident in the validity of our religion but at the same time respectfull to that of others.(well, most others)
Anonymous, Tuesday, 10-21-03 6:11 PM
Yeah, but...
(1) God certainly didn't have much respect for the pagan religions of Israel's neighbors - and neither did they.
(2) Jesus wasn't too respectfull to the Pharisees, and didn't apparently hesitate to call things as he saw them

I'm not advocating "hate speech" - let alone "holy war" - here. I'm just saying that sometimes we honestly have to say things that will not be appreciated. We cannot make it our supreme goal to never give offense.
Annette, Tuesday, 10-21-03 9:28 PM
We're not a theocracy...
The god you and I worship is not the god of this country. America has NO god. We are a secular country, and that is written into the foundational documents of our nation.

It is completely inappropriate for a government representative to claim that the Christian god speaks for and represents the United States or endows military prowess upon the United States.

-Kristine
, Wednesday, 10-22-03 6:28 PM
Are we living in the same country?
“America has NO god”?? I must be living in a different America than you. If you look at a piece of currency, quote the Pledge of Allegiance, or take an oath in a court of law, you are involving God. You wrote “We are a secular country, and that is written into the foundational documents of our nation. “ Which documents are those?

The Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I may be mistaken, but that sounds like it is referring to our Creator and Lord. With the current controversy in this country about displays of the Ten Commandments and children saying the Pledge in school, I would agree that some people are uncomfortable at best with the reference to God in our nation's “foundational documents”, and would like to have that reference eradicated.

Link: Declaration of Independence
Angie, Thursday, 10-23-03 9:27 AM
No, we're not a theocracy
We're not a theocracy. We very intentionally have no established religion. Overall, this is a good thing. But I don't think that fact makes it illegal - or wrong either ;) - to make statements expressing one's deepest beliefs. Why should having no *establishment* of religion mean that we (and especially our leaders) should have to pretend not to have *any* religion? Really, that ought to seem as silly as asking our leaders to pretend they aren't married, so as not to offend or embarass us single people -- or maybe that they aren't male so as not to offend females (or vice versa!). It seems one's belief system ought to be that integral.

Now, as to Boykin's specific comments, I honestly don't know what I think about them. Certainly they're not politically correct, or anywhere near it. And maybe they really weren't a good idea to make publically - I mean, regardless of the furror they provoked. I honestly can't decide.
ROUS  Annette Collins, Friday, 10-24-03 8:09 PM
Hmm..
Might I humbly suggest that there is a vast difference between a leader making no secret out of the fact that he believes in God, prays, goes to church, etc. and claiming that "God is on our side and that's why we'll win." The former is absolutely appropriate, and has nothing to do with politics or power. The latter is not only inappropriate under our current political establishment, history shows us that it is fairly blasphemous. Among those who said "God is on our side" are:
Joshua in the genocide at Palestine (of course, in this case the Bible said that God really was on their side), the Muslims in the razing of Alexandria, Constantine in the slaughter of rival Christian sects (Constantine, the first Christian emporer, killed more Christians than all the earlier emporers combined), Charlemagne in his wars, the Church in the Crusades, Both sides of the 30 years war, the Holy inquisition (both incarnations), Cotton Mather, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolph Hitler, and on and on and on.

Is God on our side? Maybe. It is just as possible that he couldn't care less - in war the people that are ultimately hurt most are the bystanders. Although I am not a pacifist, I make no bones about the fact that I depart from the teachings of Christ on this point for purely pragmatic reasons. There's a vast difference between that and claiming that God is your big brother who helped you kick your enemy's butt. The latter is clearly and patently blasphemous - it's a shame that Christians are rooting for this guy.
-Lokmer
Lokmer, Saturday, 10-25-03 5:20 PM
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