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CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


April 06, 2003

Baptist Army Chaplain Uses Water to Coerce Soldiers Into Conversions

Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths (4/04/03 - Miami Herald)

Army chaplain Josh Llano (from Texas -- go figure) is using his precious store of water in the Iraqi desert to coerce parched soldiers into religious baptisms and hours of "sermons." Most of the soldiers have not bathed in weeks. "It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized," he told an embedded Miami Herald reporter.

The self-described Southern Baptist evangelist even stoops to using hard-to-find food to bribe his captive converts. "There is no fruit out here, and I have a stash of raisins, juice boxes and fruit rolls to pull out," the chaplain said.

The clueless "chaplain" clearly has not harkened to the teachings and lessons of his own savior. What's more he can't even understand basic scripture. He frequently quotes the Gospel of Matthew as justification for the US invasion of Iraq: "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."

"This means we are called upon by our government to fight and that is giving unto Caesar, as the Bible tells us," Llano said.

Evidently Chaplain Llano has forgotten that Caesar in fact tortured and slaughtered the Christians, including Jesus Christ himself -- history that is clearly and plainly stated throughout the Bible. Then there's that crucifiction thing.

What's more, Llano's beloved Gospel of Matthew directly quotes Jesus as saying "A simple act of hospitality and generosity -- giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty -- demonstrates that you are my student." (Matthew 10:42) Llano may also wish to re-read Matthew 7:17 -- "a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."

As one blog comment observed, "So, if you are a desperately thirsty Jewish soldier, do you have to accept Christ to get a juice box from this 'man of God'?"

[Read the source...]

UPDATE: [4/08/03] The Houston Chronicle reports that Chaplain Llano is now under investigation by the Army for his little scheme. The move comes after the Army was deluged with outraged emails and phone calls demanding action. While casting doubts on the accuracy of the Miami Herald report -- which was, of course, written by an on-the-scene reporter and included direct quotes from Llano -- Maj. Gen. Gaylord T. Gunhus, the chief of the Chaplain Corps, confirmed he has instructed top chaplain officials to "look into" the affair.

Miami Herald - April 4, 2003:

Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths

By Med Laughlin

CAMP BUSHMASTER, Iraq - In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.

It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity.

"It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized," he said.

And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks.

"They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed," Llano said.

First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano's hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.

"Regardless of their motives," Llano said, "I get the chance to take them closer to the Lord."

A blue-eyed 32-year-old with an abundance of energy, Llano goes out every day to drum up grimy soldiers for his pool.

He talks to truck drivers, tank drivers, computer specialists -- anyone and everyone. He goes out to the combat zone to the fighting soldiers and the combat support soldiers who keep them in supplies.

"You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God," he said.

He calls himself a "Southern Baptist evangelist," and justifies the war and killing with a verse from the Gospel of Matthew, which he often recites: "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

"This means we are called upon by our government to fight and that is giving unto Caesar, as the Bible tells us," he said.

Earlier this week, word went out that portable showers might be installed here soon, but Llano was undaunted.

"There is no fruit out here, and I have a stash of raisins, juice boxes and fruit rolls to pull out," the chaplain said optimistically.


Typical. Amazing what level many religious nuts will go to to win the "unfaithful" over. He should be removed for such a brazen act of stupidity and disregard for the faiths and conscience of others. Damn extortionist.

I'd love to have this guy on my radio show. :) Eat em' for lunch.

Posted by: Reginald V. Finley, Sr. at April 10, 2003 05:03 AM

Did anyone bother to check into the facts before quoting fiction as fact? A series of e-mails from the Office of the Chief of Chaplains reveals that Llano was never actually interviewed by Meg Laughlin. She overheard him talking with other officers and presented an eavesdropped conversation as an interview. It was sloppy and unethical journalism, at best.

I hope the Herald prints an apology. This paper has a history of biased journalism, so I'm not holding my breath.


Posted by: Deb at April 12, 2003 10:34 PM

The Miami Herald a lefty paper? Gimme a break. What are you, right of Jorge Mas Canosa?

Say, Deb, you don't suppose maybe the Office of the Chief of Chaplains has anything to be biased about, do ya? No, not with stuff like this going on --

Dig it -- the Chief of Chaplains press release on this said: "He did make some of the remarks the reporter attributed to him, but not all to her..." Soooo...just because Llano didn't say everything *directly* to the reporter (in journalism class that's called "having multiple sources"), we're supposed to instantly discredit the whole story for some reason?

So the Bush II Army investigates its own and we're supposed to buy it. Hey Deb, if you swallow that whole, I got some Agent Orange you might like. It's really refreshing on a summer's day.

Posted by: G.U. Ffaw at May 6, 2003 03:34 AM

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