An Army spokeswoman said a chaplain with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment has violated military rules by appearing in uniform in a video to promote his book, Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger, which has now been taken down by the book publisher.
Chaplain John McDougall's appearance in uniform endorsing a commercial or political venture violates military rules, USA Today quoted Tatjana Christian, an Army spokeswoman, as saying.
The spokeswoman said the Army has informed McDougall about the rule, and that his comments are not part of his official duty.
"Chaplains are authorized to offer messages endorsing Christianity while in uniform as part of their official faith group religious support duties," she said. "This video was not a part of those official duties."
McDougall regrets having appeared in uniform and was not speaking on behalf of the military, Charlene Guzman, senior publicist for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, was quoted as saying.
However, Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said McDougall should face court martial. The Islamic State terror group can exploit the video for propaganda that the United States is waging a Christian war against Muslims, he was quoted as saying.
In his book, McDougall offers an alternative to the soft, gentle caricature of Jesus.
"We've made him into a soft, gentle — someone who wouldn't pose a threat to anyone," the chaplain says in the video. "We've kind of created a Jesus who is nice and friendly and warm. And we told men to pattern their lives after that Jesus. When in reality I can't find that Jesus in scripture. Yet there are moments when he's gentle. There are also moments when he's ferocious. I want to recapture that aspect that has been lost. I think that's what this book is intended to do."
The description of the book reads, "Only the Warrior Christ can impact our broken world. And only in following him can you find the life of purpose you've always wanted.
"Get ready to see Jesus like you've never seen him before—a battle-scarred Combatant who stared death in the face and won. This is no Sunday-school Jesus, meek and mild. This is the Warrior Christ who has descended from the heavens, defeated the Enemy, and rescued humanity. Now, he calls us to continue his mission and fight for others—our families, our communities, and the world."
McDougall is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan.
A West Point graduate, he has served over 10 years in Airborne and Ranger assignments including the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment. John has a Masters of Divinity from Multnomah Biblical Seminary.