Critics Try to Out Retired Gen Bob Dees, Carson Campaign Chairman
Over the past months, a few critics have tried to draw attention to one particular person on the staff of Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson.
Originally his foreign policy advisor, Carson’s new campaign chairman is Bob Dees, a retired US Army Major General and former executive director of Campus Crusade for Christ (now “Cru“) which had a substantial ministry to the US armed forces called Military Ministry (now “CruMilitary“).
As early as November 10th of last year, James Bamford at Foreign Policy described Dees as
a retired general who believes Muslims pose a threat to the U.S., the military should spread Christianity, and Carson should be president.
But the statements that Bamford apparently found ‘disturbing’ were fairly benign:
[Dees said] “My greatest pleasure has been being a private in the Lord’s army…”
“I went off in the military as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ…”
In his speech at [Liberty University’s Institute for Military Resilience] 2015 commencement ceremony…he referred to the 5,400 military graduates as “champions for Christ.”
Bamford quotes those like they’re a bad thing, saying because of Dees “the country has serious cause for concern.”
It should cause the country “concern” that a Christian considers himself an ambassador for his Savior? Where is the existential threat Bamford so fears?
Further, Bamford takes issue with Dees’ ministry goals while at Campus Crusade, saying some of his “ambitions” were “troubling”:
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association…“retired Maj. Gen. Bob Dees, U.S. Army, outlined goals that [included] evangelizing all enlisted personnel in the U.S. military…”
Again, what is wrong with a private ministry setting such a goal? Bamford seems to have forgotten (as have many Christians) that the desire of Christianity is to see the world evangelized. Dees’ statement is consistent with mainstream Christianity. It isn’t onerous. Bamford continued:
Dees has also described the military as a vehicle to eventually “indoctrinate” the American public at large to evangelical Christianity. “We must pursue our particular means for transforming the nation — through the military,” he noted in a 2005 newsletter published by Military Ministry…
It’s interesting that social activists can quite intentionally use the US military to advance the homosexual agenda in America, and no one bats an eye. But acknowledging that winning souls for Christ in the US military would have a transformational effect on the nation as a whole is somehow a bad thing.
Finally, Bamford takes on Campus Crusade’s “troubling” international intentions:
Dees described his group’s goal of converting foreign countries to Christianity by evangelizing their militaries. “We seek to transform the nations of the world through the militaries of the world,” he said. “And we’re in twenty different countries around the world, recognizing that if you could possibly impact the military, you can possibly impact that whole nation for Jesus Christ and for democracy and for proper morality and values-based institutions.”
Again, what is wrong with that? It’s almost as if Bamford assumes Dees wanted to use the US military to convert the world with the barrel of a gun. Dees only said what almost every US commander has said to his troops before they left the continental United States:
The foreign military will see you, and you will represent America to them. How you treat them and behave with them will influence their perceptions of you, our military, our culture, and our nation. Don’t [screw] it up.
Every Christian is an ambassador for Christ, whether they think they are or not. It is mainstream Christian doctrine to want to evangelize the world, because Christians want the world to be saved.
Bamford seems to forget that salvation can only come by a person’s choice, and that choice can be influenced as much, if not more so, by a ministry of presence rather than thumping someone over the head with a Bible. Nothing Bamford cited even implied Dees was advocating the latter over the former.
Over the past week, as the Carson campaign has “shifted” and Dees has been elevated in the staff to campaign chairman, Dees’ Christian beliefs are again in the news, as are his criticisms of the repeal of DADT and women in combat, which naturally makes him an “anti-gay religious warrior” to those tolerant souls who disagree with him.
One of those tolerant souls is Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who said Dees represents “What we’re up against!” — despite Dees’ positions advocating for nothing more than the religious exercise of private citizens. Mikey Weinstein has a problem with that whole “free exercise” and “religious freedom” thing.
Much of the media is treating the social acceptance of homosexuality as the default position, essentially presenting disagreement with affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle as fringe. What they fail to remember is that a significant portion of the US population is religious — whether Christian, Jew, or Muslim — and believes homosexuality to be unnatural, immoral, and a sin.
While many Christians in America seem to support an almost libertarian live-and-let-live sociopolitical position with respect to homosexuality, that doesn’t mean they either agree with the lifestyle choice or support it.
Thus, when Dees says the American military is being “degraded by social experimentation” with regard to the official support of erotic “liberty,” there is a significant portion of the US that likely agrees with him.
And the US military is a cross-section of the American population from which it is drawn.