EXERCISE IN FUTILITY: I posted previously and mentioned a picture of soldiers being baptized in the Kuwaiti desert. The photo has been taken down by the Herald Sun, unfortunately. On the VC, Eugene mentions an article that says the following:

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."

Good grief, this is absurd on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin. Obviously, Llano's assertion that "regardless of their motives" they are brought closer to God is ridiculous. Our motives are some of the most important things to God (see Matthew 5:21-30), and dunking someone in water without a real profession of faith is worse than pointless. It must be clear to just about everyone that coercing people into making religious declarations has no spiritual benefit for the subject, and fosters significantly negative opinions of the religion among observers.

I'm a bit skeptical of the veracity of this article, just because it seems so nonsensical. Why does this guy have 500 gallons of water all to himself? It must be a lot more than that, because it would get dirty pretty quickly once you start dunking dirty marines in it. I don't know much about military chaplains, but if this story is true I hope that most of them are more highly trained, better informed, more spiritually mature, and psychologically deeper than Josh Llano.



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