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Organizers of Army boycott hoping to add SBC’s support

WASHINGTON (BP)–Organizers of an enlistment boycott targeting the U.S. Army for approving witchcraft rituals on Army bases were hoping the Southern Baptist Convention would join the boycott during the SBC annual meeting June 15-16 in Atlanta.
“We need Southern Baptists to get behind this in a big way,” said Paul M. Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, in a telephone interview June 14. The Free Congress Foundation is one of 11 organizations leading the boycott, which was announced in a June 9 news release.
The SBC Resolutions Committee is scheduled to report its recommended resolutions to the convention the morning of June 16, and the convention will have opportunity to act on the proposed stances one by one. Meetings of the Resolutions Committee June 12 and 15 were closed to the news media.
In addition to the Free Congress Foundation, the other 10 groups endorsing the Army boycott are the Traditional Values Coalition; Christian Action Network; Home School Legal Defense Association; American Association of Christian Schools; Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.; Madison Project; the Religious Freedom Coalition; I Love Jesus Worldwide Ministries; 60 Plus; and American Council for Immigration Reform. A number of news reports inaccurately added the Christian Coalition and the American Family Association to the list of boycott supporters.
Weyrich said the boycott is directed only against the Army, lacking any information that witchcraft rituals have been accepted by the Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps.
“The U.S. Army counts on the South for a disproportionate share of its recruits, and Southern Baptists make up a high percentage of its southern recruits,” Weyrich said June 14. “We need someone to introduce a resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention ongoing now in Atlanta calling for Southern Baptists to endorse and support the U.S. Army enlistment boycott.”
Until the Army “withdraws all official support and approval from witchcraft, no Christian should enlist or re-enlist in the Army, and Christian parents should not allow their children to join the Army,” Weyrich said in the June 9 news release. “An Army which supports satanic rituals is unworthy of representing the United States of America.”
The leader of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, said June 15 he would have no comment on the boycott, for now.
Weyrich called for a boycott after reading a series of stories on Internet websites, most recently June 8 in The Washington Post, which revealed the U.S. Army was officially accepting the practice of Wicca at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. The Army post is American’s largest military base. Wicca is a blend of pre-Christian paganism and so-called “New Age” earth worship, which does not acknowledge the devil as being evil, and does not believe in a savior or a god.
Weyrich said an SBC resolution calling for a boycott would help ignite coverage of the “unchecked political correctness that has infected the Army” and resulted in it accepting a practice that counters not only Christianity but also Judaism and Islam. “I have no problem with the worship of Christ and the worship of the monotheistic God of Judaism and Islam,” he said. “Some say it is the same God in all three, except that we Christians believe in the Trinity, the other two do not.”
That does not compare, Weyrich said, to some “sick, twisted practice that currently features a woman ‘priestess’ stabbing the ground with her nine-inch dagger,” called an anthem, which is used in Wiccan ceremonies. “How soon do they move on to stabbing animals and even a virgin young lady as part of their ‘worship,’ as other similar practices dictate?” he asked.
Though Fort Hood allows the daggers to be used in the Wiccan ceremonies that are held on base, it did not allow the Wiccan followers to do their ritual dancing in the nude, or “skyclad,” as the practice of Wiccan dictates, The Post reported. As long as any faith-based group’s followers do not interfere with military procedures, the Army will help it find an off-base leader and a place to practice its beliefs, Fort Hood spokesman Lt. Col. Ben Santos told The Post.
The Wiccans are part of a proud American tradition, Santos told The Post, proof that “people with different religious beliefs are all working together successfully.”
Weyrich said efforts to expand the boycott will be made by contacting large Christian groups such as Focus on the Family asking them to back the enlistment ban. “If Christians quit enlisting and reenlisting, the Army is going to be in a world of hurt,” Weyrich said.
Allowing the practice of Wicca at Fort Hood is not new — the Army first approved the “Fort Hood Open Circle” as its first Wiccan group two summers ago. But news of the tiny group’s acceptance by the Army brass wasn’t widely known until The Post story June 8. It was then that Weyrich called a meeting at which some 50 people attended, most of them representatives of various Christian and/or conservative groups, to discuss how best to react to the Army’s policy change. The boycott emerged from the meeting.
Weyrich, in the June 9 news release, described the Army’s “official approval of satanism and witchcraft” as “a direct assault on the Christian faith that generations of American soldiers have fought and died for. If the Army wants witches and satanists in its ranks, then it can do it without Christians in those ranks. It’s time for the Christians in this country to put a stop to this kind of nonsense. A Christian recruiting strike will compel the Army to think seriously about what it is doing.”

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  • Daniel Walker Guido