The rest of you are confined to barracks.
For the past several years, two U.S. Army posts in Virginia, Fort Eustis and Fort Lee, have been putting on a series of what are called Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts. As I've written in a number of other posts, "spiritual fitness" is just the military's new term for promoting religion, particularly evangelical Christianity. And this concert series is no different.
On May 13, 2010, about eighty soldiers, stationed at Fort Eustis while attending a training course, were punished for opting out of attending one of these Christian concerts. The headliner at this concert was a Christian rock band called BarlowGirl, a band that describes itself as taking "an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God."
Any doubt that this was an evangelical Christian event was cleared up by the Army post's newspaper, the Fort Eustis Wheel, which ran an article after the concert that began:
Following the Apostle Paul's message to the Ephesians in the Bible, Christian rock music's edgy, all-girl band BarlowGirl brought the armor of God to the warriors and families of Fort Eustis during another installment of the Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concert Series May 13 at Jacobs Theater.
A few days later, some of the soldiers punished for choosing not to attend this concert contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). The following is from the account sent by one of those soldiers to MRFF, detailing what transpired that night.
BTW: the headline in that military base paper?
Jacobs Theater echoes with love, war during spiritual fitness concert.
Also from that article:
In her opening statement, Alyssa thanked the crowd not only for attending the concert but also for their service to the country.
“We’ve travelled the world and we’ve seen Soldiers in every airport, and we cry because every day we hear about people who have given their life for love. [...]"
And right near the end:
BarlowGirl has been nominated 10 times for Christian music’s Dove Award.
Will they also start calling the Jesus rifles "peace pipes?"