The day the US military burned the Bible in Afghanistan

They burned the Bible.

In 2008 American troops confiscated, threw away, and burned God’s Word at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The Bibles were written in the Pashto and Dari languages, and the Defense Department was concerned the books might somehow be used to convert Afghans.

The incident became public in 2009. Lt. Col. Mark Wright told CNN such religious outreach could endanger American troops and civilians because Afghanistan is a “devoutly Muslim country.”

But there was another reason the Bibles were confiscated. Military rules forbid troops from proselytizing in the country.

“The decision was made that it was a ‘force protection’ measure to throw them away because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims,” Wright said in the interview.

So that might explain why the Bibles were confiscated and thrown away, but why burn the Holy Scriptures?

Lt. Col. Wright explained to the news network that troops at posts in war zones are required to “burn their trash.”



I can only imagine the anguished Christian soldiers who were forced to toss the Pashto and Dari Bibles into the roaring fire. I can only imagine what they were thinking as the blaze consumed verses like John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I can only imagine the heartache of the American church that collected the Bibles and sent them overseas to share the good news of Jesus.

So why not just collect the Bibles and send them back to the same church that sent them here in the United States?

The military admitted in an interview that they considered doing that. But they worried the church would send them to another organization in Afghanistan, and that would give the impression the Bibles were distributed by the U.S. government.

In other words, the only way to guarantee that no Bibles in Pasto and Dari would be found on Afghan soil was to destroy the books.

So how did the Obama administration respond to the 2009 revelation of such a horrific act?

They were silent.

There were no apologies, no condemnations from either the Bush administration in 2008 or the Obama administration in 2009. There was no condemnation from the State Department. There was no condemnation from the Pentagon.

Perhaps that’s to be expected from a president who once declared, "whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers."

“Certainly the armed forces should be sensitive to people’s religious symbols or their text,” Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) told One News Now. “Instead of burning the Bibles, there is no reason that they shouldn’t have returned them to those who purchased the Bibles. But we recognize that in a Muslim country, Christians are just not welcome. The hypocrisy is pretty well established. It is disconcerting.”

Even more disconcerting is the Obama administration’s blatant attacks on religious liberty -- leaving many to wonder if this president considers Christians to be second-class citizens.

If you burn a Bible – silence. But if you burn a Koran, the Obama administration will send private letters of apology – and public condemnations.

When I was a small child, I developed a love for the Bible. I memorized dozens of passages of Scripture, tucking away treasured words from God in my heart. That’s why I’m so troubled by what happened recently in Afghanistan.

And that’s why I feel compelled to summarize this sad chapter of American history by sharing a passage from the New Testament --- “Jesus wept.”

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. The following column has been excerpted from his latest book, “Dispatches From Bitter America.