Semper Fi, Jesus

You might remember John Eldridge and his desire to turn lazy docile men into good Christian warriors. It seems he's getting some help from Mark "Gunny" Hestand and his Christian Warrior Boot Camp:

The teens are part of "Boot Camp," a youth group that mixes Marine Corps values and combat techniques with Bible study. The concept is the brainchild of Hestand, who started the group in 2001 to encourage youth involvement in the church. As far as he knows, Boot Camp is unique in the Christian world.

While some may find the juxtaposition of military and the church to be unusual, or even alarming, Hestand said he believes the two share key principles.

"We take the basic principles that are Christian and basic principles of warfare and we merge them," he said. "Our enemy is Satan. Our weapon is not an M-16, it's the Bible. We're trying to get them to be warriors for God."

Hestand lists the Marine values of honor, courage and commitment as analogous to Christianity."One of the reasons I chose the Marine style over other military branches is that almost anything they say you could replace the word 'Marine' with 'Christian,'"Hestand said.

Boot Camp has just over a dozen members - all in junior high or high school - who have signed pledges of commitment to the group. Every Sunday, participants arrive early to church in their camouflage fatigues and black boots.

Once the 90-minute service commences, the boys gather outside, usually in the church's south parking lot, where for 20 minutes they do physical training like new recruits under the barks and orders of drill sergeants.

"We really get in their face," Hestand said.

The next 20 minutes are dedicated to combat techniques, such as ambushes or guerrilla tactics. The last 45 minutes are spent on Bible study.

"We take the basic principles that are Christian and basic principles of warfare and we merge them." Unoriginal bastard, Hitler did that 70 years ago! The basic premise of Hestand's Boot Camp is beyond disturbing, it's fascist. You could easily exchange Islam for Christianity, and we (and by we, I especially mean the Christian Right) would instead be talking about terrorist training schools. The thing that irks me the most is that nitwits like James Dobson wage a cultural crusade against the likes of SpongeBob and Janet Jackson, but are virtually silent when it comes to the bullshit from their own people. Immersing kids in a culture of killing in the name of Jesus? That's cool. SpongeBob's butt exposed on television? Crusade!! The question I want to know is how is Hestand funding his Boot Camp? Faith-based funds?