Notes on the Atrocities
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Saturday, March 29, 2003  

Crusades, Part 3

Josh Marshall adds to the argument that the US is increasingly in danger of looking like a conquering Christian army. Franklin Graham, son of Billy and close confidant of the President, announced that he has an army of "relief workers" ready "poised and ready" to rush into Iraq and provide physical and spiritual aid. Beliefnet describes the effort:

"The group’s main objective is to help refugees and people who have lost their homes or are sick and hungry as a result of the war, Graham told Beliefnet. 'We realize we’re in an Arab country and we just can’t go out and preach,' Graham said in a telephone interview from Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.

However, he added, 'I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about his Son….We are there to reach out to love them and to save them, and as a Christian I do this in the name of Jesus Christ...."

'This is not just a great opportunity to do humanitarian work but to share God's love,' said Sam Porter, state disaster relief director for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. 'We understand that the individual people of Iraq have done nothing to hurt us. We want to help them to have true freedom in Jesus Christ.'”



The group organizing the effort is Graham's Samaritan's Purse, essentially a missionizing group who uses international disasters as an entre for spreading the word. And Franklin himself called Islam a "very evil and wicked religion."

For the sake of clarity, let me underscore that Samaritan's Purse is not affiliated with the federal government, nor is this a government initiative. But whether those distinctions are relevant to Iraqis, now looking at the prospect of having their post-war suffering tended to by missionizing Christians, is not as clear.

[Correction: Atrios points out that Samaritan's Purse does receive federal aid. And so the plot thickens.]

posted by Jeff | 9:24 AM |
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