USA Weekend‘s cover feature on five soldiers and how their service in Iraq has strengthened their faith is doubleplusgood propaganda, a conflation of faith and fear, of religion and magical thinking. And The Revealer loves it.

Iraqis make two appearences in the five accounts — one is a dying man, given the questionable benefits of Christian prayer by an American medic; the others are converts.

“My job,” says Captain Idongesit Essiet, “involves getting assistance for the displaced people of Iraq, working with U.N. officials, for example. It’s through this experience that I realize, with a deeper understanding than ever, that I’m intensely involved in God’s work. At our Sunday services, there are Iraqis just beginning to know Christ.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” explains Sgt. Joe Kashnow, “serving your God and your country.”

This collection of testimonies challenges the notion that USA Today is a secular paper, and puts to rest the possibility that it is non-partisan. Some will say that this feature is merely pro-soldier; but by presenting five stories of an interventionist God, clearly on the side of U.S. soldiers, USA Today takes a stand that puts it well outside of the theological mainstream even as it dives into mass cult magical thinking.

Which is fine by us — it’s still better religion reporting than much of the God-blind work one encounters in more sophisticated papers.