Military Bibles

The military blasphemy that occurs in churches on not just on the Sunday closest to the Fourth of July, Army Day, Flag Day, Marine Corps Day, Memorial Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Air Force Day, Armed Forces Day, Coast Guard Day, and Patriots Day, but also on special “military appreciation” days that some churches designate, is enough to make one cry, shake one’s head in disgust, or vomit.

But there is another kind of military blasphemy that occurs, not just on these days, but every day of the year, in and out of church.

I am speaking of the blasphemy of military Bibles.

Military Bibles are regular Bibles that have supplemental material related to the military added at the beginning and/or end of the War, Empire, and the M... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $16.00 Buy New $9.95 (as of 05:50 EDT - Details) Bible. This makes them worse than Bibles like the Lincoln-promoting American Patriot’s Bible, which joins “with the sacred text,” “stories of American heroes, quotations from many of America’s greatest thinkers, and beautiful illustrations that present the rich heritage and tremendous future of our nation.”

The latest military Bible I have come across is The KJV Military Bible (Holman Bible Publishers, 2010), which was apparently first issued in 2008.

After the text of the Bible, there are the following “Patriotic/Military Articles”:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • The Star Spangled Banner
  • So Great a Faith
  • The Apostle’s Creed
  • The Closing Paragraphs of President George W. Bush’s Inaugural Address War, Christianity, and... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $4.00 Buy New $9.95 (as of 05:50 EDT - Details)
  • President Bush at the National Prayer Breakfast 2001
  • Man of the In-Between (by Stu Weber, Captain, 5th Special Forces Group [Airborne], Vietnam)
  • General George S. Patton’s Prayer
  • Eternal Assurance (by Major General John S. Grinalds, USMC [Ret.], President, The Citadel)
  • Preparing for Combat (by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North, USMA [Ret.], First Marine Expeditionary Force, Baghdad, Iraq, 24 April 2003)
  • We Seek Your Peace (by Lieutenant Colonel Mark R. Thomas, USAF)
  • How Should a Warrior Pray? (by Colonel Don Martin USA [Ret.])
  • A Warrior’s Practice
  • God’s Message to You (by Major General William G. Boykin, U.S. Special Forces)
  • The Mission of the Army
  • The Special Forces Prayer (Army Edition) The War on Drugs Is a ... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $8.95 Buy New $5.95 (as of 05:50 EDT - Details)
  • The Army Hymn
  • Cadet’s Prayer
  • A Soldier’s Prayer (by Roy F. Collie, Milne Bay 1943)
  • U.S. Army Core Values
  • A Prayer for the Navy
  • Lord’s Prayer for the Military Wife
  • The Prayer of a Midshipman
  • Navy Hymn
  • Submarine Service Hymn
  • Navy SEALs Hymn
  • Seabees’ Hymn
  • U.S. Navy Core Values The Other Side of Calv... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $23.98 Buy New $29.95 (as of 05:35 EDT - Details)
  • A Prayer for Airmen
  • A Prayer of the Air Force Wife
  • Preach Always; If Necessary, Use Words (by Chaplain, Capt. Roland W. Reitz, USAF, Balad Air Base, Iraq, Deployment Week 10 [22 July 2007])
  • Jimmy Stewart’s Testimony
  • U.S. Air Force Core Values
  • The Marine’s Prayer
  • Always Faithful (by Charles C. Krulak, General, USMC [Ret.], 31st commandant of the Marine Corps)
  • Marine Corps Hymn
  • U.S. Marine Corps Core Values
  • A Coast Guard Prayer
  • Prayer of a Coast Guard Cadet King James, His Bible,... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $2.46 Buy New $61.01 (as of 05:45 EDT - Details)
  • The Coast Guard Hymn
  • The Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman

Before The KJV Military Bible, there was the series of “HCSB Heroes Bibles (Military)”:

  • The Soldier’s Bible (2004)
  • The Sailor’s Bible (2004)
  • The Airman’s Bible (2004)
  • The Marine’s Bible (2004)
  • The Coastguardman’s Bible (2005)

Also published by Holman, these military Bibles use the Holman Christian Standard Bible for the biblical text. They “are uniquely designed for each military branch, with the full text of the popular HCSB translation and an extended section of essays, prayers, Against the State: An ... Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Best Price: $10.76 Buy New $9.95 (as of 05:55 EDT - Details) patriotic hymns, and spiritual guidance.” Each Bible originally had the emblem of the service branch it was designed for on the front cover. After protest by the American Religious Freedom Foundation, these were replaced in 2012 with a generic emblem of the United States of America.

These Bibles are different in that the color of The Soldier’s Bible is green, The Sailor’s Bible is black, The Airman’s Bible is blue, The Marine’s Bible is burgundy, and The Coastguardsman’s Bible is blue. They also differ somewhat in the supplementary military material included, some of which is branch specific. For example, the 2012 edition of The Soldier’s Bible contains the following supplemental material:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • The Star Spangled Banner
  • The Oath of Allegiance for Enlisted Personnel
  • U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct
  • So Great a Faith
  • The Apostle’s Creed Archaic Words and the ... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $23.88 Buy New $29.95 (as of 05:50 EDT - Details)
  • General George S. Patton’s Prayer
  • Cadet’s Prayer
  • A Soldier’s Prayer
  • Lord’s Prayer for the Military Wife
  • The Special Forces Prayer (Army Edition)
  • The Army Hymn
  • U.S. Army Core Values
  • Man of the In-Between (by Stu Weber, Captain, 5th Special Forces Group [Airborne], Vietnam)
  • After His Own Heart (by Major General Robert L. VanAntwerp Jr., USA)
  • How Should a Warrior Pray? (by Colonel Don Martin USA [Ret.])
  • The Mission of the Army (by David L. Clark, CSM [Ret.], US Army Special Forces)
  • God’s Message of Peace to You (by Major General William G. Boykin, U.S. Special Forces)
  • We Seek Your Peace (by Lieutenant Colonel Mark R. Thomas, USAF) Social Insecurity Laurence M. Vance Buy New $5.95 (as of 03:45 EDT - Details)

The 2004 edition also contained:

  • This Book
  • Washington’s Prayer for the U.S.
  • The Closing Paragraphs of President George W. Bush’s Inaugural Address
  • President Bush at the National Prayer Breakfast 2001
  • Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker’s Prayers
  • Jimmy Stewart’s Testimony
  • On Alert
  • Army Emblem

The 2004 edition of The Sailor’s Bible omits the Cadet’s Prayer, A Soldier’s Prayer, the Special Forces Prayer, The Army Hymn, U.S. Army Core Values, and The Mission of the Army, but includes A Prayer for the Navy, The Prayer of a Midshipman, the Navy Hymn, the The Revolution that Wa... Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $36.74 Buy New $5.95 (as of 09:05 EDT - Details) Submarine Service Hymn, U.S. Navy Core Values, Preparation and Vigilance, and the Navy SEAL.

These and other military Bibles are typically given to young people when they join the military, but they are also given to or purchased by military personnel. I suspect that many warvangelical churches give military Bibles to Christian young people who “surrender” for military “service.”

Now, as a conservative, Bible-believing Christian, I certainly have nothing against anyone giving a Bible to anyone else or purchasing a Bible for themselves. And that goes for anyone in the military getting a Bible via gift or purchase.

But I do vehemently oppose military Bibles.

Military Bibles corrupt the word of God. Military Bibles are designed to sooth the conscience of Christians in the military. Military Bibles ignore real military values. Military Bibles blaspheme God. Military Bibles contain lies about Bible and the military. Military Rethinking the Good War Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $15.41 Buy New $5.95 (as of 09:05 EDT - Details) Bibles make false insinuations and connections. Military Bibles attempt to sanctify war. Military Bibles mask the true nature of the military. Military Bibles promote war criminals. Military Bibles use religion to mask the true nature of the military. Military Bibles ignore the evils of military life. Military Bibles misapply Scripture. Military Bibles are filled with military propaganda.

Think I’m being too critical? Think I have an agenda? Think I’m exaggerating? Think I am blowing things out of proportion? Think I have an axe to grind? Think I just hate the military? Think I can’t possibly be serious?

If you think some of these things then you either haven’t read the supplemental military material that appears in these military Bibles or don’t have a problem with the Scripture being adulterated with military propaganda.

Let’s look at a few examples.

In “So Great a Faith,” which relates to the Roman centurion whom Jesus told “I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel” (Luke 7:9), it concludes with this statement: “The Roman military men mentioned in the New Testament are all men of character.” I think the Gift Card i... Check Amazon for Pricing. article overlooked, and deliberately so, the Roman military men—strippers, smiters, sockers, spitters, gamblers, thieves, liars, scourgers, bribe takers, assaulters, mutilators, and crucifiers—who took our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and, because they were just “following orders,” scourged him, stripped him, put a purple robe on him, put a crown of thorns on his head, mocked him, smote him with their hands, spit on him, cast lots for his garments, smote him on the head, feigned worship to him, and nailed him to a cross.

The quotations from war criminal George W. Bush, who not only lied us into war, but has the blood of thousands of dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans on his hands, are an abomination that don’t belong in any Bible. This is reason enough to reject any military Bible.

In “Eternal Assurance,” Major Grinalds talks about facing death in Vietnam, praying, and receiving assurance from Psalm 23 that God’s goodness and mercy would be with him until he died, “whether in Vietnam or somewhere else in time and place, and then I would be with Him forever.” Then the major says: “That assurance lifted a great concern from me and allowed me to focus on my duty. Indeed, the Lord directed my path.” What blasphemy this is. God never directed any U.S. soldier to travel thousands of miles away from the United States to kill Vietnamese that were never any threat to anyone in America. His duty was to kill for the U.S. government. Don’t look anywhere in any military Bible for any criticism of the Vietnam War or any other war the United States has been involved in.

The “Prayer of the Air Force Wife” opens with the words: “Dear God, I am proud to be wed to one who defends freedom and peace.” I wonder what the Lord thinks of prayers that begin with lies? Members of the military do everything but defend freedom and peace. They in fact destroy both. Invading and occupying other countries, and dropping bombs on people that weren’t a threat to a fingernail of any American, is about as far from defending freedom and peace as one could be.

The seven “U.S. Army Core Values” that are listed in these military Bibles are not the real values associated with today’s military: profanity, sexual assault, pornography, drunkenness, drug abuse, killing, and violence.

The three “U.S. Air Force Core Values” appearing in The KJV Military Bible should be joined by murder at high altitude, senseless destruction of property, and colossal waste of fuel.

The “U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct” in The Soldier’s Bible has nothing to do with the real conduct of the U.S. Armed Forces. Just look at the opening sentence: “I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life.” What a lie that is. Since when do the members of the U.S. Armed Forces guard the United States and our way of life? They do a lot of guarding in other countries as our way of life—thanks to the “war on terror”—deteriorates. Even the first phrase in the opening sentence can in some cases be a lie since the U.S. military allows foreigners to join, including undocumented ones, where they can fight for the United States in exchange for expedited U.S. citizenship—as long as they first don’t die from an IED attack in some foreign war. Oh, and the code of conduct omits some things: killing civilians, bombing indiscriminately, destroying infrastructure, and making widows and orphans.

The “Oath of Allegiance for Enlisted Personnel” in The Soldier’s Bible speaks of supporting and defending the Constitution. How can a U.S. soldier “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” when he fights an unconstitutional foreign war?

“We Seek Your Peace” is a prayer by a lieutenant colonel. It asks God to cover “our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen” as they “stand an unceasing watch to preserve our freedoms.” Preserve our freedoms? How does the U.S. military invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and intervening in other countries preserve our freedoms? The more the troops preserve our freedoms by bombing, invading, and occupying other countries, the more enemies they make of the United States and the more our freedoms get taken away in the name of “fighting terrorism” or “national security.” I shudder to think what the God of the universe thinks about lying prayers.

Have you ever read the “Navy SEALs’ Hymn”? Here are two lines:

For in your just cause we do strive, Be present as we jump and dive.

And when at length our course is run, Our work for God and country done.

Since when does the war in Iraq have a just cause? Since when is the war in Afghanistan work for God? This is blasphemous nonsense.

I could go on and on, but enough is enough.

Military Bibles corrupt the word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17) with military propaganda. Don’t give them as gifts. Don’t buy one for yourself. By all means get Bibles into the hands of anyone who says he is enlisting in the military or is in the military right now. But instead of supplementing the text of the Bible with military propaganda, supplement it with the truth about the military like appears in my books War, Christianity, and the State and War, Empire, and the Military.