Blackwater is a corporation that provides mercenary soldiers and supporting security personnel to the US government.
Erik Prince, the founder and owner of the now infamous US corporation, Blackwater, hails from Holland, Michigan where his family was both powerful and prominent in two institutions – (1) the Republican Party and (2) the evangelical Christian Church. After scandals hit his large and lucrative firm, Prince ordered a curious rebranding that changed its name to Xe.
X is an archaic form of abbreviation for Christ and/or Christian that was derived from the cross and the Greek Alphabet. X or Chi is the Greek letter that is the initial of “Christos” – X – which at the same time served as a symbol for the cross. Sometimes written Chi-Rho, (Xp) is another abbreviation for Christos and his followers, the Christians. From the perspective of medieval Christian symbology, ‘Xe’ is a combination of the Christic cross and the Greek letter, Epsilon, the first letter in the Greek word, Evangelion, glad tidings or gospel. From the perspective of a modern member of the Knights Templar, Xe is immediately recognizable as it symbolizes Christian Evangelism.
Eric Prince’s father owned a thriving automotive parts business and sent his son to Holland Christian School – an evangelical establishment that accepts students from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. Since then, Prince has converted to Roman Catholicism – and may be a member or associate of Opus Dei, a very conservative cult now described as a prelature that is a strong ally of the current pope, Benedict XVI, who – when he was a Cardinal – paved the way for the beatification and canonization of the cult’s founder, St. Josemaria Escriva by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
Here is a brief description of Erik Prince’s religious background taken from a website :
The founder and CEO of Blackwater is Erik Prince, son of Edgar Prince, the now deceased businessman from Holland, Michigan. Prince’s background as a Western Michigander is not just limited to geography, the brother of Betsy DeVos has also embraced the conservative religious beliefs that his family promoted zealously, particularly with their money. Erik began his political career working as an intern for Gary Bauer at the Family Research Council and also worked in the Bush I White House, although he thought that this administration was too liberal. Prince disapproved of the Bush I administration to the extent that in 1992 he supported Patrick Buchanan for President, something that got him into trouble with his sister Betsy.
Unlike his family, which is part of the Christian Reformed Church, Erik Prince is a Catholic. He most likely became Catholic when he married his first wife, who died of cancer shortly after they were married. Interestingly enough, most of the leadership at Blackwater is also Catholic, albeit a conservative wing of the church that is quite reactionary. Erik Prince is personally connected to conservative Catholic groups like Catholic Answer, Crisis magazine, and a Grand Rapids-based group, the Acton Institute. But Prince has not abandoned his Protestant/Evangelical roots and is a close friend of Watergate criminal turned believer Chuck Colson. They have shared the podium on several occasions, even once at Calvin College. According to Scahill, Prince is aligning himself with a new Catholic/Evangelical alliance called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.” The ECT manifesto states:
“The century now drawing to a close has been the greatest century of missionary expansion in Christian history. We pray and we believe that this expansion has prepared the way for yet greater missionary endeavor in the first century of the Third Millennium. The two communities in world Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly growing are Evangelicals and Catholics.”
Prince’s relationship to what Scahill calls the “Theocon” movement is not marginal. Prince himself writes about this relationship and it’s importance, particularly with the mission of Blackwater. Prince says “Everybody carries guns, just like the Prophet Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel – a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other.”
The current Crusade
In 2004, the current pope signed a letter to the Bishops in the United States warning the laity not to vote for Catholic candidates who had voted in favor of women’s rights to abortion. Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter weakened the campaign of John Kerry and strengthened George W. Bush who had used the term, “crusade,” to rally his forces shortly after 9/11. Speaking in Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made insensitive remarks about the Islamic faith that caused outrage in the Muslim world.
Erik Prince’s personal Crusade
Among his personnel at Xe, Prince is known to be a high-profile Islamophobe who believes his personal mission in life is to bring about the total extinction of the Muslim population of this planet in what he has described as a global campaign of genocide or a, “Crusade.”
Here is an excerpt of an article about Prince that appeared in The Economist:
In an affidavit lodged with a court in Virginia, one of the witnesses said that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” The statement continues
To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.
Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”
Michael Carmichael is the founder of Planetary.