In a Memorial Day message on the Revival Fires International website, evangelist Tim Todd urges his followers to “make an eternal investment into the lives of our U.S. Armed Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan” by donating money to send Bibles to the troops.
Tim Todd is the son of Revival Fires founder Cecil Todd, the minister whose recent sermon, “Who I Want In The White House!,” accused Barack Obama of being “a Muslim in his heart,” “posing as a Christian to get your vote,” and wanting to bring the troops home from Iraq because he “doesn’t want his Muslim brothers and sisters killed.” Read more of Cecil Todd’s sermon here
Tim Todd explains why private donations for military Bibles are so desperately needed: “Our government no longer provides Bibles for our troops! Because of the foolish ‘separation of church and state’ battle going on in this country, our military stopped this years ago.”
This is an outright lie, as evidenced by many recent Department of Defense contracts for the purchase of Bibles. Topping the list of Bible contractors are the International Bible Society, with over $450,000 in DoD contracts for Bibles between 2002 and 2007, and Tammy’s Bible and Book Store, with close to $300,000 during this same period. Countless smaller contracts, ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, have been awarded to various Christian book dealers and distributors for Bibles and other Christian books.
Todd continues: “However, the U.S. military does give a copy of the Koran to all of our soldiers so they can ‘know their enemy.’ I say we need to give our soldiers a copy of the Bible so they can ‘know their savior!!!'”
Here, too, a simple search of DoD contracts is all that’s needed to dispute Tim Todd’s claim. If Korans were being given to all of our troops, as Todd would have his readers believe, there would be some record of their purchase, but there isn’t. There hasn’t been a single DoD contract for the purchase of Korans during the so-called war on terror. The only government agency to buy the Koran in bulk has been the Justice Department, for the use of the F.B.I.
Is there really a Bible shortage among our troops? It certainly doesn’t appear so. If the numbers of Bibles claimed to have been shipped to Iraq by all of the organizations sending them were added up, there have actually been more Bibles shipped than troops deployed. And, in addition to the large number of Bibles purchased by the DoD and those sent to Iraq by private organizations, Bibles are freely distributed to untold thousands of basic trainees by ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ before they’re deployed. In fact, so many groups have been distributing Bibles to our soldiers that Eric Horner Ministries, which hands out camouflage covered New Testaments from the International Bible Society, reported in March 2007: “We recently visited Ft Jackson SC for a concert and gave out around 250 copies of the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs to our young soldiers. We had hoped to give out more but we learned there had just been a group on base handing them out as well.”
But, while plenty of Bibles seem to be available to those who want them, ministries like Revival Fires have “made it a top priority to see to it that every soldier on foreign soil receives a copy of the Word of God!” — whether they want one or not. Other organizations have similar evangelistic goals, but Revival Fires is one of the few to have a formal relationship with the Pentagon. According to a Revival Fires press release, the ministry, “at the request of the Chief Chaplains of the Pentagon,” has been shipping Bibles “designed and authorized by the Chief Chaplains of the Pentagon” to Iraq, via military airlift, since 2003.
Chris Rodda is the senior research director for the nonprofit government watchdog organization The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and author of the book Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org