I know PZ’s highlighted this, so the vast majority of you are probably already aware of the insanity masquerading as a “mental health program” in our military. But the Smack-o-Matic’s begging me for action. Must bash.
I’ll let the Military Religious Freedom Foundation start us off:
Here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), we get countless complaints about religiously based mental health and counseling programs, which, over the past few years, have been systematically replacing proven psychological and medical approaches to a multitude of issues faced by military personnel. I’ve seen so many truly insane, not to mention blatantly unconstitutional, ways that the military is playing with the mental well being of our troops since I began working for MRFF that I really didn’t think it was possible for me to be surprised by anything anymore. Then I was sent a PowerPoint presentation by an airman at RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force base in England. On the MRFF scale of classifying by various expletives the egregiousness level of things that are reported to us — “holy crap,” “holy shit,” and “holy f…” — this one, promoting creationism as a means of preventing suicide among our military personnel, was definitely a “holy f…”
In March 2008, this presentation, titled “A New Approach To Suicide Prevention: Developing Purpose-Driven Airmen,” was shown at a commander’s call that was mandatory for an estimated 1,000 of Lakenheath’s Air Force personnel, and sent out by email to the entire base of over 5,000 the following day. As the use of the phrase “Purpose-Driven” in its title implies, also incorporated into this presentation is the wisdom of presidential candidate inquisitor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, a book that, second only to the Bible itself, is the most heavily promoted religious book in the military.
This is fucking insane. Not only are they substituting religious propaganda for mental health counseling, they’re making it mandatory. Jews, Muslims, pagans, agnostics, atheists, and all other religious and non-religious soldiers have no choice but to be subjected to evangelical Christian bullshit and lies that sound like they were lifted right from Expelled: The Never-Ending Fuckwittery. Check this out:
There’s that evolution-is-random-chaos chestnut again, this time conflated with the idea that man is the center of the universe. Since the fuck when has science ever claimed that? Evolution knocked us out of the center – that’s why these God-blind babblers hate it so much. We’re not that fucking special. But we also aren’t a bunch of helpless ninnies who have to run whining to a magic sky daddy every time life gets a little tough. Unless, of course, we decide to live a “purpose-driven life,” which apparently means our purpose is to remain as infantile as possible.
That’s just the thing to be teaching a bunch of people with guns.
This Rick Warren-inspired creationist schlock also fails to mention what any of this creationist bullshit has to do with hope. You don’t have to know exactly how things came to be as they are to have hope, but to religious ninnies sucking their thumbs and crying for God to come change their diaper, the answer is apparently clear. I guess that’s what happens when you throw over science and self-reliance for fairy tales.
When they were developing this schlock, I swear they had fucking Mark Mathis reading from the Expelled script:
Darwin’s totally Marxist ZOMG!!1!!1!1! And note something: these fucking idiots are so insanely stupid that they put forth as exemplars of their great Christian country two presidents who weren’t exactly the most devout buggers to ever walk the earth.
Washington wouldn’t have passed muster with these fucktards:
After the revolution, Washington frequently accompanied his wife to Christian church services; however, there is no record of his ever taking communion, and he would regularly leave services before communion—with the other non-communicants (as was the custom of the day), until, after being admonished by a rector, he ceased attending at all on communion Sundays. Prior to communion, believers are admonished to take stock of their spiritual lives and not to participate in the ceremony unless he finds himself in the will of God. Historians and biographers continue to debate the degree to which he can be counted as a Christian, and the degree to which he was a deist.
He was an early supporter of religious toleration and freedom of religion. In 1775, he ordered that his troops not show anti-Catholic sentiments by burning the pope in effigy on Guy Fawkes Night. When hiring workmen for Mount Vernon, he wrote to his agent, “If they be good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists.” In 1790, he wrote a response to a letter from the Touro Synagogue, in which he said that as long as people remain good citizens, their faith does not matter. This was a relief to the Jewish community of the United States, since the Jews had been either expelled or discriminated against in many European countries.
…the Government of the United States … gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. … May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.
Something tells me he would’ve been a little upset by the naked religious propaganda driving “The Purpose-Driven Airman.”
And as for Lincoln… I don’t know why they lionize the man when they would’ve torn him apa
rt for being an IslamofascistDarwinistatheist today:
On one of these occasions Mr. Lincoln took up a book containing a careful canvass of the city of Springfield, in which he lived, showing the candidate for whom each citizen had declared it his intention to vote in the approaching election. Mr. Lincoln’s friends had, doubtless at his own request, placed the result of the canvass in his hands. This was toward the close of October, and only a few days before the election. Calling Mr. Bateman to a seat by his side, having previously locked all the doors, he said: ‘Let us look over this book. I wish particularly to see how the ministers of Springfield are going to vote.’ The leaves were turned, one by one, and as the names were examined Mr. Lincoln frequently asked if this one or that one were not a minister, or an elder, or the member of such and such a Church, and received an affirmative answer. In that manner they went through the book, and then he closed it and sat silently and for some minutes regarding a memorandum in pencil which lay before him. At length he turned to Mr. Bateman with a face full of sadness, and said: ‘Here are 23 ministers, of different denominations, and all of them are against me but three; and here are a great many prominent members of the Churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian — God knows I would be one but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not understand this book'; and he drew from his bosom a pocket New Testament. ‘These men well know,’ he continued, ‘that I am for freedom in the territories, freedom everywhere as far as the Constitution and the laws will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery. They know this, and yet, with this book in their hands, in the light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going to vote against me. I do not understand it at all.’
Lincoln’s deeply-held sense that God guided all things would’ve carried no water for these fucktards at all. They venerate him, and yet they would have voted him down. And here I was wondering why the phrase “hypocritical lying sacks of shit” kept running through my mind whilst viewing their slideshow.
Their hypocrisy knows no bounds:
Another segment of Capt. Biscotti’s presentation, titled “FAITH is Foremost,” contains three stories — his own personal story, the story of the woman who made the news a few years back by talking her way out of a hostage situation by reading to her captor from The Purpose Driven Life, and, incredibly inappropriately for a presentation promoting religion, the story of Pat Tillman. I’m sure everyone remembers Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich’s outrageous remarks that Tillman’s parents’ dissatisfaction with the investigation of their son’s death was caused by their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, saying in an ESPN.com interview, “When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more — that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough.” I’m fairly certain that the Tillmans would not be very happy to find out that their son is now being used as an example in a presentation promoting religion to the military.
That little segment left me shaking with rage. They call him “a non-religious saint” and pretend to respect him, when all they’re doing is using him as whitewash for their sectarian agenda. They think they can point to Pat’s presence and say, “See? We’ve got someone non-religious in there, so it’s totally tolerant and inclusive!” Never mind that the entire slideshow nakedly conveys the idea that if you don’t believe in God, you’re a self-serving, worthless asshole with no meaning and no purpose who might as well just go ahead and shoot yourself right now. They spent the entire few slides with Pat downplaying the fact he wasn’t a believer, pretending that he was the man he was in spite of not believing in God.
If you’re in any doubt as to whether Pat’s family will be happy, here’s a hint.
Our military under Bush has become a festering sore of religious dominionists and fundie evangelicals who believe their religious agenda is the only answer to all the world’s ills. That shit is dangerous. It’s already threatened the mission in Iraq (never mind it was Bush’s crusading that got us there in the first place), it’s caused a plethora of problems in the ranks, and now it’s threatening the mental health of our soldiers.
This shit needs to come to a swift end. The religious frothers need kicking out. Let’s grab a copy of the Constitution. Bush may have shredded it, but there’s still enough left to tape together, roll up, and belabor some fundies with.
Freedom of religion extends to our troops, too. It’s time they learned that.