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The first guy I'd kick out of the Army...(20 posts)

The first guy I'd kick out of the Army...mohair_chair
Apr 10, 2003 9:24 AM
Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths
BY MEG LAUGHLIN
mlaughlin@herald.com

CAMP BUSHMASTER, Iraq - In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.

It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity.

''It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,'' he said.

And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks.

''They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed,'' Llano said.

First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano's hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.

''Regardless of their motives,'' Llano said, ``I get the chance to take them closer to the Lord.''

A blue-eyed 32-year-old with an abundance of energy, Llano goes out every day to drum up grimy soldiers for his pool.

He talks to truck drivers, tank drivers, computer specialists -- anyone and everyone. He goes out to the combat zone to the fighting soldiers and the combat support soldiers who keep them in supplies.

''You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God,'' he said.

He calls himself a ''Southern Baptist evangelist,'' and justifies the war and killing with a verse from the Gospel of Matthew, which he often recites: ``Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

''This means we are called upon by our government to fight and that is giving unto Caesar, as the Bible tells us,'' he said.

Earlier this week, word went out that portable showers might be installed here soon, but Llano was undaunted.

''There is no fruit out here, and I have a stash of raisins, juice boxes and fruit rolls to pull out,'' the chaplain said optimistically.
How the hell does the Army allow this? nmpurplepaul
Apr 10, 2003 9:51 AM
And how does the pool "belong" to him? nmczardonic
Apr 10, 2003 10:00 AM
Exactly. nmpurplepaul
Apr 10, 2003 10:14 AM
Where have you guys been?cycleaddict
Apr 10, 2003 10:53 AM
Just tune into Fox News and El Rushbo once in while and you'll realize that we OWN Iraq--oil and ALL!! We can do what ever we feel like because we WON! Get it?
The "we" own the pool. Not this one idiot. nmczardonic
Apr 10, 2003 11:02 AM
Where have you guys been?Live Steam
Apr 11, 2003 5:15 AM
First of all this guy is obviously acting on hbis own and without the "blessing" :O) of the Army. There are nuts from all walks of life. Secondly, what does this ever have to do with your played out montra about El Rushbo and Fox news? You should get a new line. This one is way over used. It strikes me as quite funny that you would know so much about what Rush's commentary involves and what Fox news is reporting, if you don't listen to them. If you do, I would find that to be even more suspect.
Descipable. He deserves to be hit with shoes. nmContinental
Apr 10, 2003 10:58 AM
must be a special place in hell, or maybe heaven, for him... nmDougSloan
Apr 10, 2003 11:01 AM
OMG. Its amazing what goes on in some peoples headsKristin
Apr 10, 2003 11:05 AM
Or what doesn't go on. Goodness gracious.
Means to an end?ColnagoFE
Apr 10, 2003 12:25 PM
Is this really a true story? Sounds like someone with an agenda trying to start trouble for the religious right.
it's here - with a follow upmohair_chair
Apr 10, 2003 12:29 PM
The original: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/special_packages/iraq/5554317.htm

A follow up: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/special/iraq/1856956

Pool dip offered in return for baptism
By ROSANNA RUIZ
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
A chaplain from Houston assigned to the Army V Corps support unit in Iraq is now the focus of an Army inquiry for his practice of offering soldiers a dip into his 500-gallon pool if they agree to be baptized.

A newspaper article about Josh Llano, 32, generated numerous e-mails and phone calls, said Lt. Col. Eric Wester, a chaplain and spokesman for the Chaplain Corps based in Virginia.

Wester said the article, and the response, got the immediate attention of the corps' chief, Maj. Gen. Gaylord T. Gunhus, who has requested that top chaplain officials looked into whether the article was accurate.

"The chief was immediately concerned about the nature of this article and negative reflection that it casts," Wester said. "The question then arose to what degree is the information in the article accurate. The content of the article clearly raises immediate questions."

One question is how did the chaplain get access to 500 gallons of water, which Wester said was "unusually large" for a baptismal pool.

Also, the article indicated that a water shortage kept the soldiers from bathing for weeks. Wester said he was not sure whether the unit Llano is assigned to indeed lacks water.

He said the unit is supposed to be a support unit whose mission is to resupply troops. Wester also noted that chaplains do not typically receive their own supply of water.

Wester would not say what punishment, if any, could be taken if Llano indeed did do what the article described. He said the chief wants more information before any action is taken.

He said Gunhus' response can be read two ways.

"It's good in the sense that it shows his commitment to the standards we have about free exercise of religion," Wester said. "It's bad because it's bringing very negative public perception on Army chaplaincy."

Monday's Miami Herald article described how Llano required the soldiers to first listen to an 1 1/2-hour sermon in his dirt-floor tent. The actual baptism took an hour as Llano read from the Bible.

Llano, who described himself in the article as a Southern Baptist evangelist, was quoted as saying: "You have to be aggressive to help people find themselves in God."

Wester said, "As I've read the article and discussed with other chaplains, the implication of the story is this was a kind of situation of coercion or bribery."

The story generated outrage online -- one person who posted a message on one Web site described the article as "disturbing." Another unidentified person posted a letter addressed to Gunhus that cited the Army's requirement that chaplains be "sensitive to religious pluralism and be able to provide for the free exercise of religion."

"It is my hope and my request that you will take immediate action to put an end to Chaplain Llano's tactics and remind him of his obligation," the e-mail stated.

Wester said many of the e-mails to Gunhus echoed the same sentiment and seemed to read like a chain letter. He said chaplains are required to abide by the First Amendment right of freedom of religion.

"It's very important and absolutely critical chaplains uphold the highest standard in terms of respect for not only performing rites and sacraments of their own faith, but providing for religious needs of all in that area of operation," Wester said.

He could not answer how long Llano has served as a chaplain or provide other details about his background.
yeah I checked it out tooColnagoFE
Apr 10, 2003 12:49 PM
If true this guy deserves to be disciplined, but something about this still sounds fishy...a bit extreme even for a wacky fundie preacher.
That dude MUST be an American ...sacheson
Apr 10, 2003 4:02 PM
... he's exploiting Christianity for his own agenda.
That dude MUST be an American ...purplepaul
Apr 10, 2003 4:13 PM
Or you could marvel at his entrepreneurial spirit, though I question his decision to be paid in souls.
That dude MUST be an American ...sacheson
Apr 10, 2003 7:35 PM
... or the way he coerces others into following his beliefs.
That dude MUST be an American ...purplepaul
Apr 10, 2003 7:53 PM
Or the way people, rightly, tear him apart but ignore those on their side who do the same thing.
Some LTCOL will hopefully behead this goon.sn69
Apr 10, 2003 5:26 PM
Chaplains are supposed to minister non-denominationally to the entirety of the force they serve with. Historically they have done so with sacrifice, valor and tremendous compassion.

This guy? He's an a@@ (assuming none of this was taken out of context).

Everyweek we box up baby wipes to send to people we know in the field. It's their only regular means of sanitation. This yutz, regardless of his religious affiliation, is flagrantly violating the trust placed in him by his Chain of Command.

He's a chaplain, but he's also an officer. Let's hope somebody senior to him "explains the errors of his ways," and then sh!t-cans his a@@ back to the states.
Amen! (nm)mickey-mac
Apr 10, 2003 7:12 PM
nm
Chaplain George Dickel had the right idea.Spoiler
Apr 11, 2003 3:54 PM
I heard of another chaplain, Rev. George Dickel who would let soldiers take part in the holy sacrement of communion, served with Nutter Butter wafers and Mad Dog 40/40, up to 15 times per day. AAAMMMEN!