Imagine the uproar that would happen if a conservative Christian picked up a brochure in the Chaplain’s office that read:

Officers’ Pagan Fellowship (OPF) of the U.S.A. was formed in 2011, in the midst of the longest-running wars in US history. The gods have used OPF powerfully for their purposes ever since, in peace and war. Today, we are Pagans in all branches of the US Armed Forces who are united by our reverence for nature and the immanent holiness of all people and places. We are committed to living out our practices in the military society.

Our Purpose and Vision statements are:

Purpose: To honor nature by uniting Pagan officers for environmental awareness and respect, equipping them to minister effectively in the military society.

Vision: A spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for all gods in uniform, empowered by the spirits of people and places, living with a passion for nature and compassion for all people, military and civilian.

Those statements have been combined into our Mission Statement which says, simply, that we are: Pagan officers exercising natural leadership to raise up a military practicing myriad traditions.

That’s not real, of course. There is no Officers’ Pagan Fellowship. But the above is based on the text of the standard Officers’ Christian Fellowship brochure found in just about every Chaplain’s office everywhere. Imagine how frightening conservative Christians would find a similar brochure for Muslim officers – suppose they were intending “to raise up a military submitted to Allah” or a military following the law of Allah? They would even find a similar statement from Jewish officers a little unsettling, I imagine. At the same time, the OCF and similar groups expect non-Christians to find them benign and well-meaning? Their own hypocrisy betrays their duplicity.

3 thoughts on “Imagine this: OPF

  1. But Christianity is *normal*, not like all that other stuff..
    Unfortunately, minority groups of any kind are up against the flawed assumption that majority = default — that of course everybody is Christian unless clearly specified otherwise (preferably with some kind of hat or something.) That’s exacerbated by the use of the label “Christian” as a tribal identifier that has nothing to do with theology. (There’s a lot of commentary about that floating around the blogosphere at the moment, probably because of this particular bit of stupid.)

    Who’s more “one of us” than a military officer? Therefore, he (she? never!) must obviously be One of Us, straight from Central Casting, with all default settings still intact.

  2. Central Casting – I like that. And I agree on the tribal identifier thing.

    As for funny hats, well, I do wear them occasionally, but I tend to do so either in private or as a self-deprecating joke. I’m reminded of Crowley’s claim that his magic crown made him invisible – he said he walked through a busy section of London wearing it (and his robe and other getup) and the fact that no one spoke to him or even looked at him for very long was proof that he was invisible. Data collection fail.

  3. I do love the idea of “ambassadors for all gods”, whether or not they’re in uniform. So I could approach a military officer and ask which god(s) they follow? what they could tell me about their spiritual practices? That sounds pretty amazing actually. I love learning about other people’s gods.

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