Friday, March 10, 2006

Jesus Wants You in the Air Force!

Did you know Jesus Christ wants you to join the Air Force? According to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy, that is the line some recruiters have been told to use.

Last October Weinstein and four other plaintiffs allege illegal proselytizing by evangelical chaplains, officers, and cadets at the Air Force Academy and in the service. Now another plaintiff has been added, Master Sgt. Phillip Burleigh, alleging that as a recruiter he has been subjected to persistent proselytizing by his superior officers against his will.

The 12-page court filing says guest speakers at conventions of Air Force recruiters told Burleigh and others that they “needed to accept Jesus Christ in order to perform their job duties” and “to use faith in Jesus Christ while recruiting.”

The Air Force implemented the Top Secret Operation: Recruit for Jesus in late 2003 when recruiting levels were starting to drop to alarming lows.

Though Jesus was unavailable for comment I did run into Rev. Jerimaiah Baylor, spokesperson for The Messiah himself.

“Look, the military need soldiers, sailors, and airmen, OK?” he explained. “What’s good for this great Christian nation is good for Jesus. I know for a fact that the Lord Jesus Christ wants his homeland defended.”

“But isn’t his homeland Israel, if any place?” I asked.

“What the hell are you talking about, son? Jesus aint no Jew,” he replied tersely. I thought he might take his belt off and whip me.

“Actually he was,” I corrected him.

"You telling me Jesus Christ looks like the very people he's trying to recruit against? A house divided can not stand!" After that the conversation became strained.

Under Operation: Recruit for Jesus an ideal exhcange between recruiter and recruit would go something like this:

Recruiter: Hi, I’m Sgt. Lovejoy. Did you know Jesus Christ wants you to join the Air Force?
High School kid: He…he does? What?
Recruiter: That’s right, son.

On the off-chance that the recruit scoffs at such irrefutable evidence recruiters have been told to use a variety of rebuttals such as this one:

Kid: I don’t believe in Jesus.
Recruiter: Oh, I see. You want to be a godless savage like those terrorists?
Kid: Actually, I think they were motivated by their belief in Allah.
Recruiter: Hey, I’m not recruiting for the Taliban here. Hey, why don’t you just go to Iran?
Kid: Look, I’m just saying…
Recruiter: Love it or leave it, son. Love it or leave it.

Recruiters have also been instructed to use the term “son” as often as possible. As in, “Son, I can gauntee you that basic training wont be that hard. Son, you’ll come out the other side a man. You too will be able to call unrealated weak males ‘son’. Or, when someone threatens you in a bar you can go to your belt and say ‘Son, do I need to take this off?’ because you’ll not only be a good Christian, but able to strangle a man with the very thing that holds your pants up.”

The Air Force has tried out the new Jesus-centric recruiting approach in limited areas. Meanwhile current recruiting levels remain below demand.

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