Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Girl Dragged in Christian Boot Camp - Air Force Evangelism in Action?

Corpus Christi, Texas: Charles E. Flowers, Senior Pastor at Faith Outreach Center, International, and "Commandant" of Love Demonstrated Ministries' Christian Boot Camp, stands charged with aggravated assault after allegedly dragging a girl behind a van. Her crime? She couldn't keep up with her fellow "trainees" during a run at the boot camp for wayward youths Flowers runs with his wife.

Authorities said both Flowers and Bassitt restrained the girl June 12, tying her to the back of a van with a piece of rope before dragging her on her stomach ... Schertz police assisted Nueces County authorities in the arrests because the camp’s orientation sessions are held in Schertz, and the 15-year-old girl claimed she was assaulted there, too ... Authorities interviewed on Friday could not say how far the teenager was allegedly dragged. Her mother complained to authorities after boot camp personnel took her daughter to get treated for scrapes and bruises on her stomach, legs and arms.

It's unknown at this time if this is the first allegation of serious abuse to come from the camp, operated ten miles out of Corpus Christi in Banquete. Who knows what else might have gone on, covered up by peer pressure, soothing words and the love and fear of God?

But a previous article on the camp, from 1998, reveals an interesting connection.

Charles Flowers started the Christian Boot Camp four years ago to show at-risk teen-age boys that “God has led them to be mighty people on Earth.left the United States Air Force after 12 years to start the program at Faith Outreach Center, a nondenominational church where he is an associate pastor.

The Air Force - its academy in particular - has recently been accused of being a hot-bed of reckless, even ruthless, Christian evangelism. A lawsuit was brought against the Academy for Constitutional violations, but dismissed by the Judge for technical and substantive grounds. That said, many questions remain.

Flowers himself did not attend the Academy. According to his history at the camp's website,, he joined at 18, and went through Basic at Lackland, tech training in Denver, and had his first assignment at Hahn AB in Germany.

The family came back to San Antonio in January of 1983 on a special duty assignment to Kelly Air Force Base - Security Hill. He later became a professor military instructor (PME) and served in that capacity until he ended his 12 year military career in November of 1991

According to Weinstein's book, the Evangelical movement at the Air Force Academy takes advantage of the harsh training conditions that exist, there, to instill an unthinking obedience to their preferred brand of Christianity. Did Flowers get the bug in a sideways manner in Europe, or at Kelly, as a PME? Are the harsh conditions at his camp, aimed at turning wayward youths' lives around, a more physical reflection of what goes on at the Academy?

There's not a lot of hard answers, here. But this is a question worth looking into.


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