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May 10, 2005

The Forceful Men Of FORCE Ministries

Many people before me have noticed the colorful and only slightly terrifying website of FORCE Ministries. But if you haven't seen it yourself, check it out.

As you'll see, it's an organization of former and current Navy SEALs with the stated purpose of "equipping military personnel for Christ-centered duty." They cite Matthew 11:12:

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."

They aim to get people's attention via precision skydiving, which certainly makes them unique.

I don't have much else to say—except that, if there were a comparable group of middle eastern men with a comparable website with a comparable picture reading "Purpose: Impart faith in Allah," it would get a great deal of attention here. I wonder if this has gotten a great deal of attention in the middle east.

Via Posted at May 10, 2005 02:17 PM | TrackBack

Man, the meek are fucked. They're NEVER going to inherit the earth now.

Posted by: saurabh at May 10, 2005 04:21 PM

In Stephen Connely Benz's Guatemalan Journey, he talks about the popularity of evangelical protestants (apparently as much as 1/3 of the country...).

He goes to hear an English service where the preacher explains that because strife and disharmony are foretold in Revelations, it is Satan's work to promote unity and harmony to prevent the End Time. !!!!!!!! And then of course god needs strife and war to bring on the End.


Posted by: jerry at May 10, 2005 04:35 PM

I find the Bible verse interesting. The King James translation is "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away," which is where Flannery O'Connor got the title of her amazing novel (I just reread it this week, so the verse was fresh in my mind). The FORCE website is using the New International Version, which is an evangelical translation.

The old revised standard: the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.

It's anybody's guess what Jesus was talking about (if he actually said those words). The commentaries have all kinds of interpretations.

Judging by the FORCE website, I'd say it's pretty clear: stupid violent people have stolen Christianity.

Posted by: Brett at May 10, 2005 05:06 PM

Oh Please let do a photoshop phriday on this.

Posted by: at May 10, 2005 07:37 PM

Man, the meek are fucked. They're NEVER going to inherit the earth now that's a bumpersticker!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at May 10, 2005 10:03 PM

jesus didn't know that the meek he was referring to were in fact passive/aggressive.

Posted by: almostinfamous at May 11, 2005 05:47 AM

This all reminds me of my favorite line from "The Life of Brian," when the revolutionaries critique the Sermon on the Mount: "What Jesus blatantly fails to appreciate is it's the meek who are the problem!"

Say what you will about FORCE, but they have something in common with the People's Front of Judea: they love freedom.

Posted by: inkywretch at May 11, 2005 09:47 AM

Four words: Speechless, The Onion Headline.

Posted by: Elayne at May 11, 2005 02:29 PM

It looks sorta gay, don't ya think? How about rainbow smoke

Posted by: PSMscl at May 14, 2005 06:45 PM

I thought Jesus said, "Blessed are the cheesemakers!"

Posted by: renato at May 14, 2005 07:05 PM

Did you guys know that King James was as gay as Christmas?

Posted by: at May 14, 2005 07:20 PM

Jesus would be so miffed that these guys are trying to upstage his water walking and instant wine-making with precision skydiving.

Posted by: Mike M. at May 14, 2005 07:38 PM

Why do these freaks hate America so much that they're making commercials for bin Laden? Who ARE these effing people?

Posted by: natasha at May 14, 2005 07:39 PM

The country has gone so far downhill under the GOP people are turning to God to fix it. So you get the people going to church and the ministers telling them to vote for the fks that fked it up?

Beam me up Scotty.

Posted by: keith at May 14, 2005 07:56 PM

Faith at the point of a gun isn't faith, it's violent coercion.

David Koresh and Jim Jones were mere canaries in the cage.


Posted by: MJS at May 14, 2005 08:10 PM

Man, the meek are fucked. They're NEVER going to inherit the earth now...

No they'll inherit it alright: just in 4'x 6'x 6' plots.

Posted by: driftglass at May 14, 2005 08:21 PM

and did you know that King James didn't write the King James bible?

Posted by: at May 14, 2005 09:19 PM

Now here's an interesting group. I'm usually angry when I see a group of youngsters get duped into going into service without the proper leadership or equipment.

Funny, I can't really care much about a group of experienced military who claim they kill because God wants them to.

We now have our own radical religious fighters. Who says we can't learn from other countries. These guys picked up some pointers from Bin Laden.

Posted by: Joseph Bua at May 14, 2005 09:27 PM

Jesus Christ vs. Orthodoxy

The Evangelicals have been "re-translating" everything, including the Bible, for the past 20 to 30 years.

But you see, this has happened before. Many times.

In Christianity, the first instance was when there was a major schism between the Catholics and the non-Catholic followers of Jesus' teachings between 150 and 400 a.d..

Catholicism was actually founded on the teachings of an Italian by the name of Iraneaus, who wrote five treatises condemning anyone who didn't believe as he did. He accused anyone who disagreed with his right-wing slant on Jesus of "doing the work of the devil" and of being "blasphemers and heretics." Of course, this was exactly what Jesus Christ was accused of by a bunch of right-wingers just prior to his crucifixion. I guess Iraneaus missed the irony of his adopting the same mentality and same language as the killers of Jesus. But out of Iraneaus' teachings arose the teachings of the Catholic Church.

So, when did the Catholic Church pull a "re-translation" stunt like the Evangelicals today? Originally, there were a whole lot of gospels, letters, notes, etc. that were generated by the disciples who followed Jesus. Both male and female disciples close to Jesus wrote down what he taught and demonstrated. They wanted to remember and help posterity remember. Both male and female disciples of Jesus spread out and talked to people about Jesus.

After Iraneaus, though, a hard-core, right-wing branch of Christianity arose, led by a bunch of extremely orthodox men. These orthodox men, like the Evangelicals today and the Orthodox Jews at the time of Jesus, viewed women as subservient and submissive to the more superior men.

So, around 300 a.d. when the Orthodox "catholi" Christians met to hash out what would go into their Christian canon, they kept only 4 gospels, some letters from the more Orthodox followers of Jesus and a dream account...and trashed all the other writings numbering into the hundreds, if not thousands, of letters, gospels, or whatever generated by less-orthodox followers of Jesus in the preceding two and a half centuries.

You see, these Orthodox "catholi" "re-translated" the teachings of Jesus to fit their Orthodox Mindset, just as Evangelicals are doing today. The Orthodox "catholi" 1700 years ago did it by ruling that anything about Jesus that they found disagreeable or even offensive would not appear in their authorized canon. And these Orthodox "catholi" went after the unauthorized accounts of Jesus' life and teachings with a vengeance. And they also, in the Roman Empire, went after all the "heathens and pagans and infidels" who worshipped Roman Gods before Emperor Constantine converted.

Can you imagine how much bloodshed occurred in the century or two that it took for the Orthodox "catholi" to forcefully convert, at sword and spear point, the Roman Empire into what they called, the Holy Roman Empire? How many men, women and children must have been brutally butchered to establish Orthodox, male-dominated Catholicism as the state religion of the Roman Empire?

This is the biggest secret of the Catholic Church. Just look at how the recent Vatican report on the church horrors during the Spanish Inquisition was watered-down by the present pope.

Anyway, as far as the Catholic canon goes, notice how what Jesus taught (the four gospels) is buried between the Old Testament and the letters written by some of Jesus' more orthodox, right-wing followers in the Catholic Douay version of the bible. Why? This actually indicates the schism that occurred in the early Christian movement. Some Christians focused entirely on what Jesus taught and demonstrated, while using the Old Testament as a possible reference source, but not as canon. Other Christians, Iraneaus and the "catholi," however, studied the Old Testament extensively and then tried to "fit," "re-translate," what Jesus taught back into the pouring wine into bottles parable. So, through the brutal, forceful actions of the "catholi" we ended up with Judeo-Christianity, instead of Christianity that Jesus taught.

And we are seeing this same "re-translation" by the Orthodox, both Protestant and Catholic, today, which will only lead to another major schism.

Except, this time around, the Orthodox types are attempting to "re-translate" Democracy by "re-translating" the U.S. Constitution to "fit" their hard-core, right-wing, orthodox state of mind. In other words, Jesus Christ and all that he taught is about to be Crucified all over again by a bunch of orthodox right-wingers who cannot tolerate anything in their "midst" that contradicts or challenges their hard-core, rigid, orthodox mindset.

Don't you find it incredible that history just keeps repeating itself over and over again, with all the horrors in the world repeatedly generated by orthodox right-wingers who fervently believe that censorship will somehow lead to their salvation?

Jesus didn't censor. This is how I can tell who are the "True Christians" and who are the false ones. And, of course, the Orthodox-types inevitably only censor "The Truth" which will hardly lead to their salvation. Go figure.

Posted by: The Oracle at May 14, 2005 09:44 PM

It appears that the group merely provides spiritual support for US soldiers, which -if done in a non-aggressive manner– strikes me as a good thing.
Their promo material certainly is open to uncharitable interpretations and ought to be fixed to accomodate secular and foreign sensibilities, but reading their mission statements, activities and so on, I got the distinct impression that they are not out to impose their faith at gunpoint.
Is there anything on the side or other facts which might render this interpretation unlikely? For instance, as they been linked to Dominionists, what exactly at their website makes that connection clear?

Posted by: markus at May 14, 2005 09:48 PM

You know, I'm beginning to think fundamentalist Christianity wouldn't be so bad. Better than Old Testament Christianity which is a lot of what we're currently seeing. And let's pare down the New Testament, too, to just the four gospels... none of the other crap, and maybe include Thomas. Yep, fundamentalism: putting the Jesus back into Christianity.

Posted by: art at May 14, 2005 10:26 PM

Urk! If you put your cursor on the black area of the bpicture and let it rest there a few seconds, a little box pops up that says "Christ is Love". How ironic!

Posted by: Scorpio at May 14, 2005 10:28 PM


Posted by: herostratus at May 14, 2005 10:35 PM

And if you leave your cursor on that area for another few seconds, the box changes to "War is Peace".

Posted by: gordo at May 14, 2005 10:56 PM

I can hear gordo out there thinking"Ha,ha-made ya look, made ya look"!!!!!!!

Posted by: bronco214 at May 14, 2005 11:38 PM

Hey, isn't that "Jeff 'Bulldog' Gannon, USMC/PT?"

Posted by: Milo Johnson at May 15, 2005 12:32 AM

Since Muslims don't worship Muhammed, a group of similar Middle Eastern men claiming to want to build faith in Muhammed would probably get themselves stoned to death by orthodox Muslims.

Please, if you're going to draw analogies, do so correctly.

Posted by: Steve Snyder at May 15, 2005 12:37 AM

Ummm, this is news? These guys just feel they are in a comfort zone, shooting Muslims for Jesus. Didn't they know they aren't supposed to advertise the new crusade? Oh, by the way, we bombed Pakistan last Sunday. For Jesus, obviously. Nothing to do with oil, heaven forbid no. Just a lucky co-inky dink.

Posted by: at May 15, 2005 01:02 AM


I'm glad you saw the little "Christ is Love" pop up box. That was my little joke, but I wasn't sure anyone would notice.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 15, 2005 05:35 AM

Steve Snyder,

Thanks for the comment; I've corrected the analogy.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 15, 2005 05:48 AM

You know what would make that site even more bitchin'? A loud, corny rendition of "Onward Christian Soldiers" — like with an organ backing up an all-male chours — and a button to click off the music that doesn't work.

One of Jesus's lesser-known teachings is that if a part of your body causes you to sin you should cut it off. That's why I'm having myself decapitated.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree at May 15, 2005 06:14 AM

Oracle -

Thaks for the history lesson. I'm quite interested in early Christian history - do you have any links or refs that would make a good starting point to learn more? Thanks!

Posted by: MasterD at May 15, 2005 07:08 AM

I wonder if, in their zeal and devotion to God, team FORCE will feel the need to cut the heads off the infidels? An object-lesson to the haters who are trying to sow unity and peace, kind of thing.

The handy dandy, superdy do, new and improved neotheocratic wingnut bible offers the following: "Blessed are the freaks. For they shall have ownage".

Posted by: 1MaNLan at May 15, 2005 08:21 AM

The meek are always below the radar and indeed will still inherit the earth. These other guys will flame out just like always. They're not life-affirming and life has a way of spitting them out.

Posted by: NegSpin at May 15, 2005 08:58 AM

While the U.S. may have terrific Special Forces and it might be good to have them in a pinch (but god knows that pinch hasn't shown itself in fifty years) it just goes to show that out boys in berets are not always the most adept at looking at the Big Picture, i.e., questioning authority--either their commanders' or those who have written and interpreted the Bible. But what else is a soldier to do in peacetime than skydive for Jesus?

Posted by: christian breiding at May 15, 2005 09:57 AM

These are not men of God or Christ. They are murderers and will be punished for their sins on Earth when they meet their maker.

Posted by: Truth Teller at May 15, 2005 11:04 AM

Matthew 26:52. “‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to [Peter], ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

Posted by: The Real Jesus at May 15, 2005 11:14 AM

From the Deleted Scenes edition, Matthew 26:52(a)
"unfortunately, they usually take a lot of innocents with them"

Posted by: at May 15, 2005 11:32 AM

From marcus;
It appears that the group merely provides spiritual support for US soldiers, which -if done in a non-aggressive manner– strikes me as a good thing.
Their promo material certainly is open to uncharitable interpretations and ought to be fixed to accomodate secular and foreign sensibilities, but reading their mission statements, activities and so on, I got the distinct impression that they are not out to impose their faith at gunpoint.
Is there anything on the side or other facts which might render this interpretation unlikely? For instance, as they been linked to Dominionists, what exactly at their website makes that connection clear?

Gee, maybe it could be that their opening flash highlights soldiers pointing guns, ya think?

Posted by: Janet at May 15, 2005 12:06 PM

Srikes me as sorta like The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, only with live ammo.

Posted by: Bernie Simon at May 15, 2005 01:36 PM

"The meek are always below the radar and indeed will still inherit the earth."

So much for assertiveness training.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree at May 15, 2005 02:24 PM

Bet ya didn't know that Jesus was a Green Beret in Viet Nam. Cut the ears off about 100 commie bastards. Got himself a silver star he did.

Posted by: Jesus Christ III at May 15, 2005 05:14 PM

"let's pare down the New Testament, too, to just the four gospels... none of the other crap, and maybe include Thomas."

Uh, those works all were written after the writings of Paul. Fundamentalism in the manner you suggest would pare the New Testament down to the earlier epistles.

And, of course, Oracle's Bible history is totally bogus.

Posted by: sj at May 15, 2005 05:35 PM

Fuck me sideways - the Knights Templar have returned.

Matthew 26:52.

Posted by: Phoenician in a time of Romans at May 15, 2005 08:08 PM

'Taking heaven by violence' usually refers to
internal, 'wrathful vibration' of a mental,
spiritual nature. The bible is still, largely,
a secret book. It does not mean physical violence
such as the type found in an action movie.

Posted by: max at May 16, 2005 10:12 AM

Jesus or a gun?..... name the artist.

Posted by: Banshiii at May 17, 2005 12:58 PM

screaming blue messiahs?

Posted by: max at May 19, 2005 01:55 AM

Everyone commenting on this site negatively is an ass.

Posted by: Youre wrong at June 4, 2005 07:57 PM

Judging by most of these comments, I'm afraid. Has anyone actually studied the Bible here? It would be nice to examine the facts instead just lanching into random claims. Force Ministries exists specifically to HELP our men and women in the armed forces by finding God. What's wrong with that? In reference to the lead comment, comparing Force to radical Islamic groups is nuts. There is a HUGE difference between encouring individual internal peace and insighting violence against another race or religion. I seriouly doubt that you have ever talked to anyone at Force nor have you seen them at work.

Have you ever walked down the street in a bad area of town where the people scare the crap out of you?? Well there are a lot of people in the world like that, only with a lot of money and a few bombs too. The guys from Force are out taking care of these guys so you don't have to.

There's nothing wrong with relying on God when you're hopeless, lonely or just scared. That's what Force wants to share with other people. It's that simple. So, before you go off on some anti-God rant and get blasted by lightning, think about the demoralizing factor your comments make to those who are braver that us. Obviously they do such a good job that they keep the bad guys far enough away that you don't even think they exist.

Posted by: Force Rocks! at August 15, 2005 12:36 PM

Unlike some republicans I believe one verse that states Love thy neighbor as thyself.And if you ask God for forgivness,you don't have to ask again,this is your abortion issue in a nutshell.I'm sorry your morals are higher than mine,but whatever gods teachings,one thing is for certain, we will all answer to Him not Man or Women or child.

Posted by: John Thomas at December 7, 2005 03:20 PM