Two days ago, when I broke the story about the Soldier Fitness Tracker survey, I had to paraphrase the ‘Spiritual’ questions from memory. My recollection was mostly spot on, but I couldn’t remember all of them. I was unable to retake the test myself, so I had no way to look them up word for word. As a consequence, a minor aspect of this story was transposed due to my paraphrasing.
I previously listed: “I feel connected to a being that is greater than me.” as one of the questions. This was my mind trying to remember this question: “I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.”
I’m able to correct this now only because the questions were recently made available in full. The following came from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) website
Actual GAT Intro section and Spirituality Questions – Includes a disclaimer saying the spirituality questions are not religious in nature, but saying it doesn’t make it so. In addition, an initial report saying the questions asked about “belief in a higher being” was incorrect. As noted above, some mental gymnastics are required in associating this to a naturalistic/non-supernatural world view. Suggested changes are forthcoming.
The questions are as follows:
I am a spiritual person.
My life has lasting meaning.
I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.
The job I am doing in the military has lasting meaning.
I believe there is a purpose for my life.
Luckily, I did make screen captures of the results screens, which I expanded on in detail in that first post. Those results still have me absolutely furious, chocked full of insulting statements, and recommendations for counseling and therapy.
I am speaking out against the SFT for the same reasons we started Rock Beyond Belief.
The issues raised with the Soldier Fitness Tracker survey remind us why we were so offended when the Billy Graham Evangelical Associations, ‘Rock the Fort’ concert series came to Fort Bragg. It was allowed to convert several hundreds of soldiers on stage at a military base. At several bases, actually. It was their stated goal to convert as many soldiers, spouses and civilians as possible.
Currently, it seems that the reasons being given on why they aren’t banned from doing this are “The same level of support would be given to other groups”. A line of reasoning that seems to be inclusive to allowing a fundamentalist Islamic evangelical event. I highly doubt they would be given the support implied in the offer, nor should they.
That said, we honestly wish that nobody was allowed to have an event (even us). Until that happens, we will take up the standing offer of similar levels of support from Fort Bragg, and the Military.Our strategy of putting on a quasi-counter event is complicated; along the lines of “the problem is the solution.” We are putting on the Rock Beyond Belief concert in Spring, while making a specific effort not to ‘de-convert’ or ‘de-baptize’ people.
Why the Soldier Fitness Tracker does not require a complicated approach:
The Soldier Fitness Tracker simply needs to remove the Spirituality aspects, or be scrapped altogether. Too easy. I’m aware of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s (MRFF) intentions to make their move very soon. I assure you, their muscle and determination will be in full force. More to come on that front, that’s for sure.
*** UPDATE 6 JAN 2011*** There are MANY more questions that didn’t make it onto the MAAF leak. See below.