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The Guardian: Baptism at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan

August 23, 2011

Riazat Butt visits the US camp in Afghanistan’s Helmand province – and notes the differences between the American and British military’s approach to religion.

The chapel in the US military's Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan

The chapel in the US military's Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Along with religious ceremonies the chapel is used as a meeting place for soldiers to relax, drink coffee and attend classes dealing with anything from marriage counselling to bible studies. Picture: Sergeant Alison Baskerville, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011

It is often said America and England are two nations separated by a common language. The same could be said about their religious practices.

On the corner of Echo and 5th Street in Camp Leatherneck – the US equivalent of Camp Bastion in Helmand – is a building identical to the others surrounding it – mass-produced and military. Its interior, however, is nothing short of a revelation. It houses the chapel for US Christians in the armed forces, laying on standing room only services on a Sunday morning, prayer squares, guitar solos from its resident praise team and a lavish beverage station featuring two types of cookie and flavoured syrups for your freshly brewed coffee. Satin, fringed banners hang from the walls bearing phrases such as “Lamb of God” and “Lion of Judah”.

Continues at: guardian.co.uk – Baptism at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan

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