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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


April 07, 2003

Ft. Bragg Commander Invites 'Hundreds' of Xtian Evangelists for Special Visit

Church Event Set for Base Stirs Concern (4/06/03 - NY Times)

Even as the US is openly at war with a Muslim nation, the commander of Fort Bragg, where the Special Forces are trained, has personally invited "hundreds" of Southern Baptist ministers to attend a special getaway at the base. The commander, Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin, has close ties to a religious group called FAITH Force Multipliers, which is sponsoring the event.

FAITH Force Multipliers is led by Rev. Bobby H. Welch, a Vietnam vet who trained at Fort Bragg. Welch tells the NY Times that his goal is "to apply military principles to evangelism." (See article, below.)

One recruitment broadside for FAITH Force Multipliers has an explicitly Crusade-like tone: "Our goal is to enlist, train, and empower a great army of believers for the sake of the Kingdom of God. .... You can be a part of a great team of Special Forces sowing good seed, expecting a bountiful harvest to the glory of God."

Welch himself wrote another screed, titled "Warrior Message," which calls the group's members "warriors in this spiritual war for souls of this nation and the world."

Another Southern Baptist, an Army chaplain from Texas, was recently exposed by the Miami Herald for using his 500-gallon stash of water to coerce parched US soldiers to attend hours-long sermons and submit to baptisms.

[Read the source...]

Following is the article from the New York Times:

The Army major general who commands Fort Bragg's training center for special operations forces has invited a group of predominantly Southern Baptist pastors to the base this month to participate in a military-themed motivational program for Christian evangelists.

The unusual collaboration is the result of a friendship between Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin, commanding general of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, and the Rev. Bobby H. Welch, a Southern Baptist minister in Daytona Beach, Fla., who has started an evangelistic campaign called FAITH Force Multipliers.

Hundreds of ministers received an invitation last month from Mr. Welch saying that participants would observe weapons demonstrations, sleep overnight on the base and "go with General Boykin and Green Beret instructors to places where no civilians and few soldiers ever go!"

But the marriage of military and ministry offended one Baptist pastor invited to attend. That minister, who said he did not want to be identified for fear of his colleagues' ire, informed Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an advocacy group in Washington.

Lawyers with the group faxed a letter to General Boykin and the secretary of the Army on Friday warning that the event, planned for April 22 and 23, is unconstitutional because it amounts to government promotion of a religious event.

"It's completely inappropriate to have the Army put on a revival meeting at a military base, and that is the bottom line of this event," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United.

"This is a particularly bad time to have the Army appear to be promoting Christianity," he continued, "in the middle of a war with a Muslim country."

The American military does not ban religion on bases. It offers chaplains, chapels and services for people of all faiths.

The difference here, said Americans United, is government sponsorship of religion. In 1996, Navy chaplains in Norfolk, Va., dropped their sponsorship of an event by the men's evangelical group Promise Keepers after similar complaints.

With Fort Bragg on war footing, the problem landed in special operations headquarters like a stray grenade. Maj. Gary Kolb, spokesman for Army Special Operations at the base, said that civic groups sometimes visited the base for tours, but that this event sounded out of the ordinary.

After checking with General Boykin, he said that the general might not be in town for the event, and that if he were in town he would only greet the ministers. (The invitation had promised a speech by the general and "informal time" with him.)

Major Kolb said the group would not be allowed to spend the night on the base. He said some of the attractions that the invitation promised to the ministers — like the demonstration of hand-to-hand combat, and trips to the "Shoot House" and "Snake Room" — might have to be canceled because the special forces personnel are too busy.

And Major Kolb said that the military lawyers on the base were reviewing the plans for the event "just to make sure that it's within the guidelines prescribed by all the military regulations."

Reached at his church in Florida, Mr. Welch, the minister who runs the FAITH Force program, said he was a Vietnam veteran, who trained at Fort Bragg and sought to apply military principles to evangelism.

At first, he spoke openly about the coming session at Fort Bragg. Then he asked not to have it made public because "I'll get in trouble."

"I don't want to do anything that sounds as if we're connected to the military," he said. "That would be an error." He said the Fort Bragg event, which had drawn applications from 50 to 70 ministers, was no different from one he conducted at a race track in Daytona Beach.

He also volunteered that a previous FAITH Force session of 70 pastors was held at Fort Bragg last year, at General Boykin's invitation.

Pastor Welch has spoken at graduations at the special operations school the general commands, Major Kolb said. And General Boykin gave a speech in the pastor's church in Florida in April last year.

"Bin Laden is not the enemy," General Boykin told the packed sanctuary, according to an account on the church's Web site. "No mortal is the enemy. It's the enemy you can't see. It's a war against the forces of darkness. The battle won't be won with guns. It will be won on our knees."


I guesss freedom of religion is not for Christian soldiers anymore but only for extremist Mullahs, terrorist groups and supporters of terrorists!

General Boykin has ALWAYS said (even in the Muslim CASI archived part of their web site) that the "enemy" was NOT mortal.

This is nothing more than a FALSE framing of the General's comments and an attack on a successful military member by the enemies of this country and the religion of Christianity.

It is a despicable attack and the media hyping it are equally despicable; they are prostitutes for any story considered "juicy" even if the attack could undermine the security of this nation. They obviously didn't even do rudimentary research they could have done while sitting their comfy asses in front of a computer.

These enemies of truth and and some of them even cowardly treasonous traitors, attempted somewhat similar distasteful media manuevers during the Vietnam war.

Freedom of speech isn't only for the terrorists and America's enemies!

There was NOTHING untrue or "offensive" in the remarks General Boykin made except in the totally hypocritical minds of Barry Lynn, Interfaith Alliance, CAIR and anyone else who tried to frame General Boykin's remarks in a way they weren't either meant or intended.

Posted by: Nun Yabiz at October 20, 2003 10:24 AM

I guesss freedom of religion is not for Christian soldiers anymore but only for extremist Mullahs, terrorist gThis is nothing more than a FALSE framing of the General's comments and an attack on a successful military member by the enemies of this country and the religion of Christianity.

roups and supporters of terrorists!
Freedom of speech isn't only for the terrorists and America's enemies

We need more of these people, and the first way to get more is to listen to my favorite radio station Michael Savage

Posted by: guess freedom at October 22, 2003 08:53 PM

I think Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin is a very courageous soldier, and I agree with his position on Islam. Allah, their god, is an idol, and nothing more, and ruled by Satan. Christians need to learn more about what the Koran teaches. Being a distant cousin of General Boykin, I can only say that we need more Christians like him. I recommend that all born-again Christians read "Tea With Terrorists," by Craig Winn & Ken Power - you will be blessed.

Posted by: Bob Handley at October 26, 2003 10:39 AM

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