Jeff Sharlet: Are U.S. military chaplains promoting homophobia and discrimination against non-Christian women on taxpayer time? The New York Times reports that New Life Ministries plans to send 6,000 sexual abstinence kits, titled “Every Soldier’s Battle,” to U.S. military chaplains who’ve requested them as counseling tools for soldiers. The Times notes that the kits are a spin-off of the bestselling “Every Man’s Battle” series, but reporter John Leland doesn’t bother to investigate the source of kits, books created to help conservative evangelical men erase lust, masturbation, wet dreams, and women who don’t conform to the books’ vision of “male headship” from their lives. Women, meanwhile, must help men by wearing chaste clothing and not bending over in their presence. Married women must provide for their husband’s satisfaction at regular intervals, regardless of their own desires.
Last spring, I wrote about the series for Rolling Stone: “The authors of the books hold up the books of Joshua and Ezekiel as armor against non-Christian women. ‘Mixture,’ they write, ‘can destroy a people.’” The authors refer to sexually active, unmarried women with the name “Betty Jo ‘B.J.’ Blowers,” and consider homosexuality a satanic deception to be cured through vigorous Bible study. According to the Times, “Sgt. First Class Daniel L. Roberts, a chaplain’s assistant at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, requested 200 kits for troops in basic combat training.” Another chaplain’s assistant, Michael Music, led 100 men through the program while stationed in Iraq.
The Times seems to find it all amusing, if perhaps helpful to soldiers struggling to keep their marriages together. The peddlers of the “Every Man’s Battle” series, meanwhile, must appreciate this infographic from the paper of record, tongue so firmly in cheek that it functions as advertising you couldn’t buy.