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Jun 17 2012

The Cult Tactics of Military Ministries and Military Chaplains

I think this video will be self-explanatory to the readers here at FtB and really doesn’t require the introduction here that I’ve been posting with it elsewhere. So just watch it.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    I must be awfully naive. I just can’t understand how anyone can, in any way, think that this is even appropriate or an appropriate use of taxpayer funds, let alone constitutional.

  2. 2
    NH

    Make them vulnerable and then sell them the stuff. That has gone down well in Afghanistan.

  3. 3
    tynk

    @1
    I believe they think they are helping. I was probably just lucky, but the chaplains I met during my service really were just trying to help. They new I was atheist, and one knew I was a lesbian. They just knew that we were going through some things that no one needs to go through and were trying to lend support.

    Yes I know not all of them are like that. But if they really thought they were saving me by trying to convert me. I could not blame them for that. It is still very illegal and ignorant. But they may truly have good intentions.

    it should absolutely stop, and now.

  4. 4
    helenaconstantine

    I had the same reaction as PZ.

    When he said, “Its great to be a government paid missionary,” I had to turn it off; I just finished dinner and I didn’t want to throw it up.

  5. 5
    pwillow1

    Good grief. Starting at the 2:51 mark, there’s one guy who claims that the best time to “get” a soldier and indoctrinate him into Christianity is when this soldier has been training out in the field, not sleeping or eating for up to three days.

    Where in the Bible do you think you’d find Jesus saying something like that?

  6. 6
    apostate

    I was absolutely appalled by what I just saw. The worst, in my opinion, was the Major talking about Ranger School. He talks about using the weakened physical and mental states of the Ranger students to his advantage like it is a brilliant idea but it is nothing short of predatory. My experience in the service has not been long, but none of the chaplains I have encountered have used any such tactics to push their religion on people. They were there so you had someone to go to about personal issues, religious or otherwise. It makes me very sad and angry that people would abuse their positions and use it as an opportunity to push their religion on people when they are at their most vulnerable.

  7. 7
    jasonvalentine

    This horrifies me. In any military basic training, they break you down mentally to some extent. For me…not so much, I grew up in a militaristic household and a religious one. When I was at Fort Jackson back in 86, they did NOT push religion down our throats. Chapel was optional, and usually taken because it was somewhere to go. This is much much bigger than what I was exposed to. The program has expanded since I was in. Does anyone else recall these sorts of goings on???

  8. 8
    baal

    I had to stop at the ranger guy ~ 3 minutes in.

    total ethical failure

  9. 9
    Elefacets

    If you create a position whose sole purpose is to support the troops using their religious expertise, then you will invariably get this. Not always, but many will act this way.

    The fact of the matter is that these people think that they are putting their religious expertise to good use in support of the troops. I knew a military chaplain whose primary intention in a professional capacity was to “share the truth with the soldiers” – Christian jargon for proselytize.

    It’s integral to modern evangelical faith and we can’t allow our government to fund that behavior.

  10. 10
    nilsyoung

    In SanDiego boot camp, 1968, they asked me my religion. I said I was an atheist. The lady behind the counter said “Bullshit, sonny. There are no atheists in foxholes.” They gave me NRP. No religious preference. I must have met at least a dozen atheists between boot camp & 1972 when I left the USN.
    I also remember bootcamp, regardless of your religious affiliation, you went to church on Sunday. A direct order. Done. So there I was, sitting in the bleachers at RC mass or Protestant services, listening to this stuff. It was thick and sticky but it didn’t stick to me.
    Now? Let’s be real: Under any pressure most folks eventually fold. Why you think the suicide rates in the military are so high? Peeps just jumping to meet Jesus? Doubt it.

  11. 11
    Nichelle

    I am currently in the Air Force, and I do not speak in an official capacity for them. I am an out atheist: I went so far as to show up to a Chaplain sponsored program in a Flying Spaghetti Monster shirt. In basic we had several worship options, from all flavors of Christianity to Buddhist, Jewish, Wicca, and even Muslim. I chose either the Wicca service (they gave us fruit) Muslim service (I wanted to understand their beliefs) or none (it gave me some quite time to think while everyone else was at worship).

    They were very understanding of the fact that every week I changed what service I attended. At my duty station I have not seen any proselytizing going on. I have even seen pamphlets from a local atheist group in the chapel here on base. I have even done some volunteer work at the chapel, setting up for events and such, never once have I been called out for my atheism. I would just like to add one happy story.

    However if I ever saw a Chaplain pull the sorts of stunts that went on in the clip I would, with respect, point out their own regulations, and ask that they cut it out.

  12. 12
    Ace of Sevens

    So they are love-bombing, but getting the government to do the difficult prep work for them.

  13. 13
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I just went to the MRFF website and coughed up some money. You folks are doing God’s work the work God would want done if such a being existed and were actually worthy of respect.

  14. 14
    magistramarla

    I’m a long-time military spouse. It certainly wasn’t like this 30 years ago, but then again, my husband was older than these recruits and already college-educated when he went through officer training.
    Recently, we were badgered by the spouse of a female high-ranking officer. My husband let him know that we had no religious beliefs, and he was constantly “worried” about our souls, our lack of a church home, etc. from then until they (thankfully) retired and left (to a red state). The guy’s e-mails to the spouses’ club were always full of jeebus crap and I found him to be disgusting.
    Otherwise, we aren’t hassled, but we usually keep our mouths shut. I have noticed that the younger officers and their spouses are often loudly pious.

  15. 15
    kevincalimach-morgan

    I was appalled at the actions of the Ranger chaplain in this video, but not shocked. I am not sure if the tolerance is better now but I know between 1999 and 2006 when I served the environment was not very friendly. After the creation of the AKO Forums where Atheist soldiers got chances to vent and argue it started getting better, but at the unit level it didn’t.

    There was always shitty things like:

    1. “Anyone who wants to go to the prayer breakfast is dismissed and can show up at work after the breakfast (9:45) and everyone else we will be doing a 6 mile run today — be to work at 8:00.”

    2. Mandatory chaplain meetings and lectures about religion when being deployed.

    3. Refusal to acknowledge my preference, by forcing me to have ‘Christian Other’ on my dogtags in basic and ‘No religious preference’ after.

    4. Mandatory church participation during basic training. (To this day I still think I’m listed as a Mormon, at least they stopped following me around 3 years ago)

    5. Forced participation in religious functions, or at functions where we were forced to pray. We had a Chaplain come to the unit to proselytize and made us all bow and pray and I was chastized for not speaking the prayer even though I lowered my head.

    6. Bullying into Christianity. We had some officers who made it their goal to force people into Christianity. They would get alone with a lower enlisted (like during Staff Duty Checks) and then tell them the ‘story of Christ’ and follow it up with: “Now that you know the story if you don’t accept now you will go to hell, so why don’t you just pray with me and save your soul” — inappropriate in itself, but more-so from a commander.

    7. “No Atheists in Foxholes” — if I had a dollar for every time I heard that I would have about $73.00.

    And more, but that’s all that came to me in the moment of this post. I realize I’m probably reciting some things that many of us have encountered or maybe stated here — I just felt the need to vent.

  16. 16
    starsmark

    This is nauseating. I sat with my mouth open, in disbelief; had to get up half-way through to pace and rant & rave for a bit before returning to watch the rest.

    How can this be possible? Our government paying for and preaching to our military personnel! I’m writing letters to the President and my House Rep & Senators.

    I am totally outraged.

    Thanks for posting this Nauseating but Necessary video, Chris!

    Who said . . . Keep your friends close but your enemies closer?

  17. 17
    IncredulousMark

    I spent 27 years in the Canadian Air Force and never saw anything like this. The only “coerced” religion was having to attend either the protestant or catholic service the first week of basic training (way back in ’81 we didn’t have other flavours of religion!) and the invocations at parades or mess dinners, during which I just looked around. I had a great time debating the padres whenever they were unlucky enough to strike up a conversation with me.
    While I was openly atheist my entire career, I only became loud and dickish about it in my last several years. This resulted in nothing but support and the realization that the atheists and religiously apathetic theists massively outnumbered the mildly, moderately and crazily devout by a wide margin.

  18. 18
    sandrastreifel

    Nothing wrong with being an atheist in the Canadian military, although Highland Regiments and other Regiments (I think they’re all reserve units), have annual Church Parades to the local Anglican (Episcopalian) Cathedral, and I think that if you objected to going through the sit, kneel, stand, process at least in form, and you didn’t have another religion as an excuse, even though you have the right to freedom of religion, your career might do better in a non-regimental unit. There’s no constitutional concept of “separation of church and state” in Canada. There is in the Constitution the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of religion. There is no official religion.

  19. 19
    Mike Morrison

    Wow, 1:29, that one kid’s mouth got HUGE! :D

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