Soldiers Forced to Attend Prayer Vigil

The U.S. military continues to allow officers to force soldiers under their command to take part in religious exercises, all in the name of “spiritual fitness.” Justin Griffith has the details, based on an email he received from an instructor at a post-boot camp school for medics, who describes what happened.

Directly following that training, we had a 45 minute training in master resiliency. This training includes spiritual fitness. Immediately following that training, we received about a 15 minute brief from the chaplain. The master resiliency trainer had mentioned he would be followed by the chaplain. When the chaplain entered, I removed myself and stood in the doorway. Plastic candles were handed out. I was giving the chaplain the benefit of the doubt. His first few statements included having something bigger than yourself in your life and NEEDING something divine. I immediately turned around and stood by the front door of the theater. From there I could hear the mass prayer as they turned on the candles, shut off the lights and bowed their heads. The chaplain prayed to his heavenly father.

The students were not given an opportunity to remove themselves. The entire theater was forced into a mass christian prayer. There could have been a break and those that did not want to pray could have remained in the lobby with me or in a formation outside.

I disagree that there should be an opt-out. Soldiers should not have to single themselves out from the rest of their unit by opting out of a religious ceremony; there just shouldn’t be such ceremonies as part of a mandatory training exercise.

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  • Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

    Next on the list – teaching the soldiers how to cast cone of cold and how to astral project.

  • Jasper of Maine (I feel safe and welcome at FTB)

    Learning how to target terrorist chakras might not be a bad skill either.

  • Modusoperandi

    1. Take in a piece of chalk.

    2. Ask for five candles.

    3. Draw pentagram on the floor and put a candle at each point…

  • richardelguru

    Jasper, at least those would be useful: hey! Astral Projection…eat your heart out spy-drones!

  • puppygod

    Hey, I, for one, am very pleased that US soldiers learn “kneel, pray” rather than “take aim, fire” drill. It makes me feel safer.

    Um, did I mention that I’m not US citizen?

  • matty1

    I may be being too optimistic but I read the suggestion as an opt in rather than an opt out. It seems to suggest.

    1. Mandatory Event breaks up, everyone goes out to the lobby

    2. Chaplain invites anyone who wants to come back into the room and pray with him during the break.

    3. Break ends, everyone goes back to the mandatory training, or given this was the end of the session to whatever else they were going to do.

  • twincats

    Learning how to target terrorist chakras might not be a bad skill either.

    As a former Wiccan, let me suggest that it would be more useful to target the enemies’ auras* instead. Although, if you’re targeting enemy throat chakras with small pieces of lead hurled from firearms, you could really be on to something!

    *You know, turn them (the auras, that is) orange and give ‘em all a bad rash in a sensitive area over a period of a couple of weeks… Or never.

  • davideriksen

    I guess I should count myself lucky.

    I’m stationed just down the road from there and, like everyone else in the Army, just had the same “training” event. After the 45 minutes of powerpoint for MRT, our chaplain came out and just made sure everyone knew what the resources were for people dealing with depression.

    There were no prayers at all which was kind of surprising but, then again, I work at a research institute. Prayers here tend to get more rolled eyes than elsewhere in the military.

  • Modusoperandi

    twincats “*You know, turn them (the auras, that is) orange and give ‘em all a bad rash in a sensitive area over a period of a couple of weeks… Or never.”

    “Or never”? Did you forget to charge your ring in the lantern first?

  • Crudely Wrott

    I’m reminded of the short time I spent in the USCG in the spring of 1970.

    A squad leader (honorary title given to a recruit who had a couple weeks of seniority and showed traits of following instructions) whose name is lost in the mists of time, once tried to put several of us under hypnotic trance. I can’t speak for the others but it didn’t work on me.

    Later, that same squad leader tried to lead several of us to his lord. I can’t speak for the others but it didn’t work on me.

    I think he might have been a control freak.

    Ever since I have learned to keep an eye peeled to spy out this kind of person and stay at a loooonng arms length from them. So far, so good.

  • yoav

    Would the chaplain then use his mastery of the dark side to choke anyone who stay outside since he find their lack of faith disturbing?