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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Religious Coercion in the British Army: Compulsory Church Parades!

Technically the British Army does not have compulsory Church Parades. They were abolished. I have to point this out at the beginning of this page, because it is a surprise to many soldiers within the British Army. This page is about the reality of compulsory, or pseudo-compulsory, Church Parades and communal Christian events in the British Army. We also discuss the frequently-repeated notion that atheists should have to do work duties over Christmas and Easter holidays 'because they don't believe'. We conclude that Memorial Services should be secular, enforced Christianity should be abolished, and religious beliefs should be respected just like it says they should in Army literature such as the British Army Values and Standards booklet. [Click any of the text to go to http://www.vexen.co.uk/military/church_parades.html</a>

  1. Beliefs Are Important and Personal
  2. Memorial Events Should be Secular and Inclusive
  3. Christmas, Easter, and other Religious Events
  4. The Army Ethos and the Padre's Mission
  5. Conclusion

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There's irony hiding here somewhere- the UK has 'church parades' and other state church stuff, and is about as secular a country as it gets, while the US is supposed to be a secular country, but its military acadamies (and the military itself) are being eaten alive by aggressive evangelicals who want to make their brand of Christianity the only 'approved' religion permitted.


That is quite ironic - although some say that the UKs secularism is helped by the fact that we have an established religion: It fosters rejection, more than disestablishment would!

I've always told my very religious peers who want a 'Christian' country to be careful what they wished for. Sadly, it appears that the fanatics are winning.

Christianity within society

It is foolish and destructive to abandon deep-seated and age-long traditions of a country, which most certainly includes a religious framework, just because you may not 'believe in God' of 'have a faith', whatever that may mean to an individual. These things bind us together and it is much an ownership of culture and history as anything else. Besides, we have an enormous amount to be grateful for to those whose personal faith, within the context of, or even despite, religious orthodoxy, changed our society for the better over the last 1500 years. Do not confuse religion with personal belief - they can be quite different! maybe in the past, organised religion was there to 'enforce' a corporate 'belief structure' to counter political fractiousness, but centuries of dissent and non-conformist activity tempered this potential evil (thank God). We are in desparate danger of wrecking our social framework if we deny our past heritage and fail to embrace it. Indeed, those from other traditions and countries who have made britain their home look upon such behaviour as deplorable and deeply saddening. if you emply a pot, something else will fill it very soon, and you may regret that for evermore.

Nothing more irritating than enforced Christianity.

Sometimes I take issue with the idea that "beliefs are important." I think part of the problem is that they're considered TOO important and taken way too seriously. I wish everybody would just lighten up already!

Thanks for a very comprehensive article. Very informative, and reasonable, as well. I like the way you think. I am a hospice chaplain in the USA and share many of your concerns about compulsory religion. Thanks for your writing.


the pharisies were all religious pretty much and they are the ones who wanted Jesus Christ crucified and any mention of Jesus Christ on this site other than the word Christianity has only just been mentioned, so no wonder our troops are anti Christianity. The true Gospel is NOT being proclaimed as Jesus instructed in Mark 16 v 15.

All the time we are discussing religion and not proclaiming the Gospel to our troops we are risking our troops not having eternal life in heaven if their lives were to be taken in action serving our country.

We only have two options at point of death in flesh, Heaven or hell their is no third option. You cannot get into heaven through good works, being good or anyway that you think will do other than through Jesus Christ. Being in Christ is brilliant i wouldnt have it any other way and it is going to be my Job to make sure our troops are saved if they so choose. We are all serving someone right now is it God or satan?

Let me ask you a Question. (BE HONEST NOW)

If you died tonight can you honestly say you would go to heaven if you said yes then thats great but it can only be backed up by the fact that you have given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you wish to know more you can email me at nigel@avantiministries.com

Church Parades

I am a new Aussie Padre. There is a certain amount of Army religious tradition in the practices of padre's. What I mean is that much of the phrasing used is copied from older traditional records that have been accepted to be in our case associated with ANZAC. So I say things in a way that I would never say them in church because the older soldiers accept them as a part of the dignity. I just am not sure that you can say that just because the phrases has a Christian sound that they are necessarily there for Christian reasons. A Padre is not necessarily Christian although most I am sure are. It is also true to say that my motivation to provide pastoral care to people is motivated by my understanding of God. But we all have things that motivate us. I would hope that the my care for my soldiers is not conditional upon their believing as I do. It is enough for me to believe that they are worth caring for.

I think also that regardless of agreement or not, it would be difficult to provide care and perhaps comfort if the Padre's beliefs were weak. I think confidence is a part of bringing comfort. I think that a padre needs confident faith coupled with unconditional respect for his troopers. We are not to be salesmen yet inevitably we raise the idea of something beyond a temporary exostance. My church accepts fully the responsability of the individual to decide for themselves.

I disagree however that a conversation should not progress, so long as no one is cohersed into a position.

Generally it is important to distinguish between my praying for something and the parade praying, not putting words into the mouths of others. So I might say "We ask" but say "I pray this in Christ's name". The distinction is important. Many can identify with asking, while not so many identify with who's name I pray in.

Religious Coercion in the British Army: Compulsory Church Parades

Whilst I wish it where true, my British Army unit has placed on Daily Detail and Part 1 Orders a COMPULSORY church service this Sunday.. So much for not forcing church services on people.

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