Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No God, no mantra? You'd flunk Army's 'spiritual fitness' test

Continuing on the military theme, the U.S. Army has apparently included five spiritual questions in its current well-being assessment survey for soldiers.  

According to an article in USA Today, Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, found data that "spiritual fitness has a positive impact on quality of life, on coping and on mental health," so the army included a required survey for soldiers assessing their well-being and relationships including their spiritual dimension.

One self-described "Foxhole Atheist", Justin Griffith, a sergeant at Fort Bragg, N.C., checked out 100% un-spiritual. When he submitted the computerized survey, the auto-response came back:
Spiritual fitness may be an area of difficulty... You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and to others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles and values...Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal."
Cornum defends the assessment as merely a helpful resource for soldiers, saying,
There's no pass-fail, nothing happens. No one sees it but the guy who takes it.
But Michael Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says he has 220 soldiers ready to sue if the survey doesn't drop those questions. Weinstein has been embroiled in years of battles with the military over what he perceives as an evangelical invasion of the armed forces. 

As suggested in my prior post regarding Christian-themed training for missile officers, there likely is a perception that believing Christians will be more likely to do their duty and kill people. Even if this is true, I can't see that religious indoctrination is ever justified, any more than the brainwashing of suicide bombers with extreme forms of Islam.

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