US Army: Atheists Unfit To Serve

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  1. Stacie L profile image87
    Stacie Lposted 12 years ago

    A Voice of Reason in an Unreasonable World
    US Army: Atheists Unfit To Serve

    Al Stefanelli

    Did you know that the United States Army is concerned with the spiritual well-being of their soldiers?  Did you know that if you choose not to believe in the supernatural that the United States Army can consider you unfit to serve?   Allow me to enlighten you about an issue that was brought to my attention by my friend, Sgt. Justin Griffith, Fort Bragg, NC.  The US Army distributes a mandatory survey called an SFT, which stands for “Soldier Fitness Tracker”.  The purpose of this survey is to measure an individual soldier’s competency in four areas, Emotional, Social, Family and Spiritual.  Justin is an atheist, as well as a highly dedicated soldier, but according to the SFT, he is “unfit” to serve specifically because he is a non-believer.

    Justin informs me that soldiers are directed to answer, on a scale of 1-5, some awkwardly structured questions, such as “My life will have a lasting meaning”, “I feel connected to a being that is greater than me”, “I’m a very spiritual person”. Etc.  Justin was “Red Barred” in the Spiritual Competency area. According to the US Army:

         - A red bar means that you face some significant challenges in this area. This means that you should focus most of your attention on this area, though you should also note that placing too much emphasis here could result in other dimensions dropping. The key is to properly balance where you need the most development with the areas you are already doing well in.

    Here is a direct “Cut & Paste” from his survey results, under the “Spiritual Fitness” category:

        Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. 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 others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life.
    Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal. Change is possible, and the relevant self-development training modules will be helpful. If you need further help, please do not hesitate to seek out help from the people you care about and trust – strong people always do. Be patient in your development as it will take time to improve in this area. Still, persistence is key and you will improve here if you make this area a priority. … -to-serve/

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      That's incredible! I wonder what would happen to someone who declined to take the survey or the "spiritual" section of the survey? I wonder when they started using the survey? Sounds like something that sprouted under the Bush administration.

      1. Doug Hughes profile image61
        Doug Hughesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Maybe they move you to the Group W Bench..

        "And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's
        where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
        committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there.  Mother rapers.  Father stabbers.  Father rapers!  Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me!  And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said....."

        From Alice's Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie

      2. Vladimir Uhri profile image60
        Vladimir Uhriposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Since nobody knows it is important to step away from politics and keep on that nobody will eternally regret. Eternity is not short but forever.

        1. qwark profile image62
          qwarkposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          ...but once there, you won't care.  smile:

    2. Dave Mathews profile image60
      Dave Mathewsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Stacie L: I believe that they are right to be concerned, from a spiritual point of view only. No believer, needs someone messing with their faith their beliefs, when they are going into battle.

    3. Shadesbreath profile image80
      Shadesbreathposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      As a few others have shown the actual text of the survey, hopefully you can see that the article, or perhaps you, have misconstrued or misrepresented the facts here.

      It may be that the soldier in question has a lack of connectedness to something greater than himself, in that, he may be withdrawn, hopeless, listless or even selfish.

      One does not need God or any other magical beings to have a sense of connectedness. This can be gotten through a sense of community, of family/clan/tribe/organization, and even through abstracts like hononor, chivalry and lots of other things.

      So, while interesting, the OP is rife with omissions and sports a very inaccurate and even deceptive title, premise and conclusion.

      1. profile image0
        Motown2Chitownposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Shades, you really have a lot of nerve bringing in your balanced, objective, well thought out ideas into this forum.  This is clearly about starting some sort of religious war (pardon the pun), not at all about what the Army may actually be attempting to understand about those who choose to serve our country as soldiers.  As always, you have to come in here with your high-and-mighty "look at how rational and logical" I am attitude.

        Sheesh, let these folks discuss the issue in peace.  No need to rabble rouse.


  2. Bill Manning profile image63
    Bill Manningposted 12 years ago

    Cool, so if they reinstate the draft I've got an out. smile big_smile

    1. Stacie L profile image87
      Stacie Lposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      wink yep...

    2. Freeway Flyer profile image84
      Freeway Flyerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, claiming that you are gay (or being gay) will no longer work.

    3. Jonathan Janco profile image60
      Jonathan Jancoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Since you can't get out by pretending to be gay anymore.

  3. ediggity profile image60
    ediggityposted 12 years ago

    It's great how the article points out two of the questions which make up the whole tracker survey, and then end it with etc.  But they are quite capable of cutting and pasting the whole result. How convenient.

  4. habee profile image92
    habeeposted 12 years ago

    I guess they need someone else to pick on since DADT was repealed.

    1. Stump Parrish profile image60
      Stump Parrishposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      DADT lives. They simply transferred the hate to atheists as homosexuals are safe for now. Before this is was the blacks. I simply adore these examples of a religious group that can't survive with out somone to direct their hate towards.

      The surprising thing here is that the average atheist know more about the religion than the believers does. This indicates a higher level of intelligence. The christians who control the Army seem to prefer stupid christians to intelligent atheists.

      I do believe I completed the circle with that logic.

      1. Druid Dude profile image60
        Druid Dudeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Total BS. Isn't even an excuse for C.O. status. Don't know what C.O. status is. My point. Total proganda is what this forum is. The Army loves atheists, cause it's easier to get them to blow somebodies head off. No punishment from God, you see. Besides, once in combat and under live fire, everybody turns to God, even the atheists. SAVE ME! SAVE ME! Personally, it makes me ill.

        1. Mark Knowles profile image58
          Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Nah - the army loves people like you. Swallow the god thing and you will swallow anything. Makes me ill how many so called Christians are ready to murder on command. sad

      2. qwark profile image62
        qwarkposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        They want the "easily led!"
        The so called "atheist" is a "thinker" not a follower.
        The "Onward christian soldier" thing is meaningless to an alledged atheist!
        I was in the USAF 4 yrs, assigned to TAC, a non combat flight.
        I was never approached about my spiritual beliefs.
        This survey, if it really exists, may just be for combat troops.
        Ya gotta expect these kinds of things.
        We humans are nuts!
        Qwark  smile:

        1. Stump Parrish profile image60
          Stump Parrishposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Yes sir, if there is any smitting to be done, you need some spiteful smiters on your side. Amen. You gotta admit that christians have been first rate smiters since they invented the smite.

          My apologies to all the (true) christians out there I may have offended with my previous remarks. I forgot how sensative hating gays and atheists and jews and blacks and muslims and buddists and wiccans and agnostics and mexicans can be.

          1. Stump Parrish profile image60
            Stump Parrishposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            sry, my spell checker broke up with me. I deserved it, I'm an atheist. ...I forgot how sensitive hating all those different groups can make you. Happy Holiday's everyone.

          2. Novel Treasure profile image87
            Novel Treasureposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            You assume that all "true Christians" hate gays, atheists, jews, blacks, etc....
            Being a Christian doesn't mean being racist or hating other religions. Being Christian doesn't mean hating period. As a Christian we are not taught to hate. We simply believe there is a God, and that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.

            I am a Christian, I do not hate gays, I do not hate you because you are atheist, I do not hate you because you slander my religion, though I am not slandering yours. God does not hate and anyone who says God hates this or that is not a Christian and will have to face their own judgement.

        2. profile image0
          jerrylposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Qwark, You're right.  The military would want people that believe in following the dictates of a higher power, real or imagined.  They would be more easily indoctrinated to follow orders from their superior officers no matter the danger.

          Humans are crazy.

  5. profile image0
    Sophia Angeliqueposted 12 years ago

    Any moment now, I'm expecting Snopes to post up that this is urban legend. It's all over the web and I cannot find a verifed source.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image58
      Mark Knowlesposted 12 years agoin reply to this
    2. Hugh Williamson profile image78
      Hugh Williamsonposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sophia - I found several army links including this one which is a brochure they pass out to explain the program?

      It doesn't say anything about atheism or christianity or religion for that matter. Here's the "Spiritual" section:

      "Spiritual -
      Strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that sustain a person beyond family, institutional and societal sources of strength."

      I don't know if that crosses the line or not but with so many combat vets having psychological problems, if this program helps, I'm for it.

      In my military time, I met very few religious types, in fact I'd say that it was about the least religious institution that I've ever been associated with.

      I don't think the army is pedaling religion.

      1. ryanedel profile image61
        ryanedelposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        As I was coming back from Afghanistan, they became implementing many surveys like this one to see how everyone was doing, but I have to second Hugh - they aren't using this to pedal religion.  One can find meaning in one's life without believing in God, and lasting meaning can refer to how one perceives his or her role here on Earth.

        Although it's easy to say the military is targeting atheists, the reality is that we have a serious problem with emotional and psychological trauma among our troops.  Survey's like this are designed to identify individuals who are suffering on the inside and then provide help before the problems get worse.

        It's hard convincing soldiers to honestly answer questions regarding their mental well-being.  People who are trained to fight and to kill are not exactly encouraged to appear weak - and our society often categorizes emotional stress as a sign of weakness.  So the military avoids asking direct questions about mental well-being and instead uses the spirituality angle.  "Does your life have purpose?"  Honestly, most atheists see purpose in their lives - just because they don't equate their purpose with God's purpose doesn't mean they feel adrift.  But when people do feel adrift - when they really don't see any purpose to their lives - then we need to worry.  We need to help them see how their lives are important.  Otherwise, what do they have?  Some dead-end army job being schlepped from one end of the world to the other, hunting for people who aren't there, fighting against roadside bombs they can't see?

        Stacie, I understand your concern with this survey, and it's good we have people like you looking out for religious freedoms of our soldiers (especially the freedoms of those who prefer not to follow a religion).  But we need to focus on broadening our acceptance of all people, including those suffering from mental illness and other forms of emotional distress.  As we begin honest dialogue on this front, the military will be able to continue that dialogue with soldiers returning from deployment.  And hopefully we'll be able to stop beating around the bush, referring to spirituality when the real question comes down to this: "do you find your life worth living?  Or can we help you feel better?"

        For our service members, the least we can do is ask.

  6. profile image49
    hannamonposted 12 years ago

    WHAT! why would they do that? there nice and i alone have money to pay for a  horse but i can. i am her friend not samon samatha

  7. profile image49
    hannamonposted 12 years ago

    oh. and that  means?

  8. qwark profile image62
    qwarkposted 12 years ago

    30 days has september, april, june and no wonder all the rest eat p-nut butter 'cept gramma, she drives a buick!
    Now that's some sensical stuff!  smile:

  9. Stump Parrish profile image60
    Stump Parrishposted 12 years ago … .html?_r=1

    Religious indoctrination is alive and well in all branches of the military's Academies.

  10. Evan G Rogers profile image60
    Evan G Rogersposted 12 years ago

    Let the pious die for their government.

    When has it ever been different?

  11. Cagsil profile image72
    Cagsilposted 12 years ago

    Atheists unfit to serve? Too funny.

    People in general regardless of religious view are unfit to serve. Obesity has moved to the TOP of the food chain as the #1 problem in America(pun intended).

    What a joke. hmm

  12. ArtzGirl profile image74
    ArtzGirlposted 12 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Wow, this is good information to know, but shocking!

  13. qwark profile image62
    qwarkposted 12 years ago

    When George Bush (Senior)was campaigning for the presidency, as incumbent vice-president, one of his stops was in Chicago, Illinois, on August 27, 1987. At O'Hare Airport he held a formal outdoor news conference. There Robert I. Sherman, a reporter for the American Atheist news journal, fully accredited by the state of Illinois and by invitation a participating member of the press corps covering the national candidates, had the following exchange with then-Vice-President Bush.

      Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

    Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

    Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."



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