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article imageWaPo Oped Compares Maj. Nidal Hasan to Gen. Patton, Sgt. York

By Johnny Simpson     Dec 2, 2009 in Politics
In the Nov. 24 Washington Post, On Faith columnist Anthony Arroyo-Stevens compared the prayers of Gen. George S. Patton Jr. and Sgt. Alvin York while fighting the Germans to Nidal Hasan's cries of "Allahu Akbar!" as he gunned down 54 people at Fort Hood.
As reported by the Newsbusters blog earlier today, Washington Post columnist Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, who writes for the WaPo's On Faith blog on religion, made direct comparisons in his November 24 "Worst Prayers in the World" oped to Gen. George S. Patton Jr's prayers for good weather to relieve the 101st Airborne under Nazi siege at Bastone during WWII, and Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Alvin York's prayers for good aim in taking out a German machine gun nest in WWI, to Major Nidal Hasan's cries of "Allahu Akbar!" as he gunned down fifty-four innocent and unarmed people at Fort Hood on November 5.
Though posted just before Thanksgiving, Mr. Arroyo-Stevens' oped, which the columnist admittedly compares to Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment on MSNBC's Countdown show, is just beginning to attract much wider attention across the Internet. Here is the key excerpt from Mr. Stevens-Arroyo's post that is beginning to generate controversy and heated outrage, and not just among conservatives and Christians:
But the granddaddy of bad prayers is, "Allahu Akbar!" uttered before shooting innocent people or setting off bombs to slaughter innocents to advance your own salvation. Such abuse by violence of God's will was not invented at Fort Hood. After all, General Patton ordered the composition of a prayer for good weather so that thousands of Germans could be bombed. Army sharpshooters - like the famous Alvin York of the First World War - prayed to God for a good aim to kill people.
As Newsbusters pointed out, Mr. Arroyo-Stevens omitted the key historical context that Gen. Patton was praying for good weather to relieve the trapped 101st Airborne, which was surrounded and being cut to pieces by German forces in the French city of Bastogne in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. That "good weather" prayer was drafted by Army Chaplain James O'Neill, and reads as follows:
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
As to World War I Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Alvin York, he was a devout Christian who initially opposed the war on conscientious objector grounds before finally deciding to comply with his draft order after praying on a mountainside for two days. Here is how Sgt. York recalled the situation in 1918 France which earned him our nation's highest honor, in which he prayed for God's help in keeping his aim true:
Those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn't have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them.
There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn't want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.
Lastly, it should be noted that Gen. Patton's and Sgt. York's prayers were not only uttered during desperate moments in desperate battles against the fascist German regimes which started the wars, their answered prayers saved countless American lives on the field of battle. By stark contrast, Maj. Hasan gunned down fifty-four unarmed innocent people on a domestic Army base, killing thirteen adults and one unborn child.
More about Washington post, Anthony stevens-arroyo, Religion, Sgt alvin york, Gen george patton
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