I held off on posting about this story on the hope that it was nothing more than urban legend, but it appears that it’s true.
First, the story itself: Apparently Army Chaplain Josh Llano has somehow managed to finagle control of 500 gallons of washing water, but it only allowing soldiers to bathe if they first agree to be baptised by him.
”It’s simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,” he said.
And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks.
”They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed,” Llano said.
First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano’s hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.
Extortion, clear and simple. Disgusting, offensive, opportunistic extortion.
Thankfully, this story got enough people up in arms as it made its way around the internet, that the Army is now launching an investigation:
A chaplain from Houston assigned to the Army V Corps support unit in Iraq is now the focus of an Army inquiry for his practice of offering soldiers a dip into his 500-gallon pool if they agree to be baptized.
[Lt. Col. Eric] Wester said, “As I’ve read the article and discussed with other chaplains, the implication of the story is this was a kind of situation of coercion or bribery.”
There’s a part of me that is still holding out hope that this is merely wartime legend blown out of control. However, if it’s not, this guy needs to get busted. Hard.