A daily collage of religion news from the war in Iraq. 

See also two new Revealer features: “Coffins,” by Michael Lesy; and “Secular Confessions,” by Scott Korb and Kathryn Joyce.

Falluajah Baptism
“This is is a good place to be reborn out here.”
–A Marine preparing for baptism on the outskirts of Fallujah.

“So many service personnel on deployment request to be baptized that the military even has a two-page sheet on how to create a battlefield baptismal font, called the Field Immersion Baptismal Liner Instructions.”
–Tony Perry, The Los Angeles Times

In addition to Perry’s text report, the L.A. Times today presents a rare glimpse into religion on the frontlines — a flash presentation of photographs and audio documenting a Marine baptism during the seige of Fallujah. See and hear.

And get your own Field Immersion Baptismal Liner here (scroll down to “chaplain’s kit, consumable”). Also of interest is the military chaplain’s “Jewish Book,” apparently recently restricted while “revisions” were being made.

And the Dead Shall Rise
“A resident of Kufa, a town near Najaf, said members of Mr. Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, were staging fake funerals in order to smuggle surface-to-air missiles in coffins into the mosque in Kufa where Mr. Sadr preaches on Fridays. Occupation officials have warned that the Mahdi Army is stockpiling weapons in mosques, shrines and schools.”
–Edward Wong, NYT

Secular Suicide
A new Pentagon report claims that the “Special Operations and Antiterrorism Branch,” known within Saddam Hussein’s regime as M-14, is behind much of the anti-American resistance. According the report, M-14 officers direct guerilla attacks, car bombing — and suicide bombing. Newspaper accounts of the report don’t explain this dramatic turn around from the previous U.S. position, which was that suicide bombing is the result of religious fanaticism.