Millions of taxpayer dollars used to convert soldiers and their children to Christianity

Chris Rodda wrote an extensive exposé on the amount of your taxpayer money being spent on converting soldiers and their children to Christianity.

Your money.

  • The Soldier Fitness Tracker that includes the mandatory Spiritual Fitness testing and the equally mandatory remedial training.

    $125,000,000

  • The Spiritual Fitness Center at Fort Hood, Texas (many more to come!) – Often described as a ‘mega church’, the building even has religious stained glass windows. They are stocked with video games, phone cards, and other incentives. Packaged with a religious message. This is in addition to the numerous chapels on every post.

    $30,000,000

  • Spiritual Fitness concert series at Fort Lee and Fort Eustis - Invariably evangelical Christian messages and performers. You’re on notice for a future Rock Beyond Belief event, by the way.

    $678,470 (performer fees only)

  • Strong Bonds and other Spiritual Fitness Retreats – These are marriage counseling seminars held at luxurious vacation spots. Notoriously stuffed to the brim with evangelical messages. There are ‘sue-proof’ teaching materials that are often offered up as a defense, but it’s a shallow ruse. When I went to one I literally counted 57 instances where I was offended by the overt religiosity (“The family that prays together stays together…” “Bless this lunch break, oh heavenly father” etc…)

    *$30,000,000  (*Annually)

  • Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center – hosting Spiritual Fitness retreats

    $120,000

  • Peninsula Baptist Association’s Eastover Retreat Center – hosting Spiritual Fitness retreats

    $75,000

  • American Baptist Church Conf. Center – hosting Spiritual Fitness retreats

    $53,000

  • Quail Ministries – Christian music and comedy during Strong Bonds marriage counseling retreats. Like those awful variety-show acts you sit through during a cheesy school assembly.

    $84,000

  • “Serving Christ Through Baseball” program – entertainment during Strong Bonds marriage counseling retreats. Title says it all… or not. I’m still scratching my head on that one.

    $80,000

  • Military Community Youth Ministries – evangelism targeted at children (even stalking them on their way to the school bus)

    $12,346,333

  • Cadence International – aimed at converting children to Christ, as well as citizens of foreign countries in the nations that they operate in.

    $2,671,603

Keep in mind that it is entirely outside of the scope of the Chaplaincy and the DoD’s other religious support to convert new people to a particular faith. They are certainly expected to tend to their ‘flock’, but not to grow it.

Is it evangelism? (yes)

Sometimes outsiders may not understand the smokescreen from terms like “Spiritual Fitness”. Some people might not recognize the evangelical creep from a cursory glance. Even a (very) small number of atheists have written to tell me that they had no problem with the questions on the Spiritual Fitness test.

They buy the claim that “Spiritual Fitness = Team Spirit” Or they claim to have no problem being “Spiritual Atheists” (focusing on the beauty of the universe, music, art, etc…) These justifications fail hard when faced with the reality of the situation we foxhole atheists face. These rationalizations are not consistent with the over-the-top “get right with god so you don’t kill yourself” message that was intended all along.

Here is a sample from the mandatory remedial Spiritual Fitness training after you fail the test.

Still not convinced?

How about reading this chilling account of a Christian soldier who was forced to go to his Chaplain “to get born again” after his spiritual fitness failure on the same test.

My education, health, salary, and pension are shrinking… How about we lose all of this Spiritual Fitness stuff instead?

In a time when national debt is relatively common discussion, it seems that unconstitutional spending of hundreds of millions of dollars would be a natural choice for the chopping block. Instead, my educational opportunities (eArmyU), yearly salary increase for inflation (lowest in 50 years), retirement benefits (pensions for 20+ year veterans are now considered ‘on the table’ to be cut), are already in place or soon to be.

Insanity. How is this not shocking people? Being at the receiving end of a lot of this proselytism, I’m telling you that the system is broken. We need help. We need you to care.

Chris Rodda is a long time supporter of Rock Beyond Belief. She is the author of the eyeopening Liars For Jesus (a book she has now given away for free). She now works at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as head of research. MRFF are co-clients with me in pending litigation against the mandatory Spiritual Fitness testing and training.

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  • nls73m

    And why is this bad?? I see nothing wrong here. Usa was founded as a christian nation and continues to be a christian nation. Must be a slow day for you chris rodda.

    • Founding Fathers Roll in Graves

      Actually (most of) our founding fathers specifically said NOT to include religion with government. Thanks for playing, read a history text book. Unless you are from Texas where its a work of fiction…

    • Mangaphreak

      And this is where you are wrong…! Even though it is a common misconception…

      You might want to brush up on your history knowledge and what the founding fathers actually had in mind as well as on the secular concept of the US democracy — then you might understand that the promotion of religion by the government is unconstitutional…

    • Cedar

      @nls73m

      Get your history straight. The USA was not founded as a Christian nation- our founding fathers were deist and believed in separation of church and state as well as no religious testing for any position in public office. They do not mention Christianity in the Constitution; you’d think that’d be pretty vital if the USA was founded as a Christian nation, wouldn’t you?

    • George

      NO. NO. NO. You poor ignorant brainwashed bastard.
      Treaty of Tripoli, November 4, 1796.
      As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

    • xdustinx

      I’ll tell you why it’s bad, because 1) You’re wrong, this country was not founded as a Christian nation, and 2) Why should my tax dollars go to fund spiritual fitness programs to convert soldiers to Christianity when I don’t believe in such religion? How can I have a freedom of religion when the money I work hard for has a forced percentage taken away by the government to fund these sort of programs.

    • Rational One

      I hope you burn in hell.

      • Ryan G.

        “It is a pity there isn’t a hell for you to burn in”

        -Christopher Hitchens

      • Yeah Right

        Those are some high Christian morals you have there.

      • WTF Mate?

        Yeah, just like Jesus said to people. Yep, that Jesus sure sent a message that the best thing to do is walk around condemning others. In fact, I’m sure Jesus wanted a lot of people to burn in Hell, and that was why he came.

    • billy

      you must be a fucking idiot nls. this nation was not founded as a christian nation you idiot. you dont even know your own countrys history nor your own religions history so eff off. i’d like everyone to know that christianity/catholicism were all founded upon satanic beliefs and still are to this day. we are a devil worshipping planet, so to speak.

    • herpaderp

      The us is not a christian nation

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

      learn to read

    • JohnK

      ‘God’ was not tacked onto our currency and pledge of allegiance until the 1950′s. The country may be run as a christian nation, but only because nobody gives a shit about the constitution anymore if it means they can further their own agenda.

      • William

        The addition of the word God to the currency and pledge of allegiance was to stand for ‘Whatever God you worship”.

    • http://therugged.com Sully

      I’m sorry, but do you guys not know a troll when you see one?

    • Jnav

      nls go back and read US History for Morons. Not only were our founding fathers not Christians (they were deist, and very against any form of religion)and that is why they created the separation from church and state. They could not create a country were it resembled the religious suppression they endured in Europe. Why do you think we left Europe? But I thought this was taught in Elementary school, not in the south it aint.

    • Jack

      i hope to god you trolling, if you dont know what that means and you are serious. I PRAY FOR YOUR SOUL.

    • Anonymous

      Actually no, the US was not founded on any christian values, as stated in the Treaty of Tripoli. “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

  • JaniceOly

    My senator Patty Murray is on the debt supercommittee. How can I be most effective (content, phrasing, medium, timing) asking her to cut some of these funds as part of their work?

    I will also be spreading this news far and wide – my pagan military friends will be alarmed as well!

  • http://www.twitter.com/NeoRepublican JoshSN

    Chris Rodda is among my heroines.

  • beerslayer

    Unbelievable. It’s amazing to me how groups like (for example) the so-called Tea Party can scream about reducing taxes on the wealthy and controlling what they see as government spending gone wild, but they have absolutely no problem with this sort of monumental waste of tax money.

  • http://smarterpolitics.wordpress.com Julia

    This is really interesting.

    The first thing this reminded me of was the scene in Catch 22 where Colonel Cathcart is asking the chaplain to lead prayer before missions and responds with shock to the chaplain’s request to excuse the atheists. The colonel responds “There are no atheists. Is that even legal?” showing the general military and further, American attitude towards atheism and agnosticism. There seems to be a massive fear by even loosely religious Americans of accepting atheists, as though allowing them to believe what they like would cause the moderates to be struck by lightning. I’m a strong atheist and my sister is quite Christian, and despite my requests, she refuses to stop trying to “plant the seed,” since she’s convinced I’m going to Hell.

    The second thing this reminded me of is the arguments Donald Rumsfeld used to persuade Bush 43 to go to war in the middle east. He was looking for a war to define his career, and I heard, although I can’t remember where, possibly on the Rachel Maddow show, 60 Minutes, or Time Magazine, that Rumsfeld painted the wars as another crusade, a war of the Christian world against the Muslim world to George Bush along with many other tactics to convince him that war was the answer.

    My third thought, was, “Isn’t this unconstitutional?” Is it just me, or does the 1st amendment prohibit congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion? Wouldn’t revenue have to be directed to these organizations through the military, who get their funding from congress? It seems as though military leadership frequently disregards the constitution, especially the 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments. It seems to me as though the soldiers who offer their lives for their country deserve all the liberties they can have within reason, including that of belief.

    Lastly, in response to the claim that religion prevents suicide, an Atheist who believes in a -type world would be less likely to commit suicide because he would believe that the earth is his paradise. Just some food for thought.

  • http://smarterpolitics.wordpress.com Julia

    edit:
    This is really interesting.

    The first thing this reminded me of was the scene in Catch 22 where Colonel Cathcart is asking the chaplain to lead prayer before missions and responds with shock to the chaplain’s request to excuse the atheists. The colonel responds “There are no atheists. Is that even legal?” showing the general military and further, American attitude towards atheism and agnosticism. There seems to be a massive fear by even loosely religious Americans of accepting atheists, as though allowing them to believe what they like would cause the moderates to be struck by lightning. I’m a strong atheist and my sister is quite Christian, and despite my requests, she refuses to stop trying to “plant the seed,” since she’s convinced I’m going to Hell.

    The second thing this reminded me of is the arguments Donald Rumsfeld used to persuade Bush 43 to go to war in the middle east. He was looking for a war to define his career, and I heard, although I can’t remember where, possibly on the Rachel Maddow show, 60 Minutes, or Time Magazine, that Rumsfeld painted the wars as another crusade, a war of the Christian world against the Muslim world to George Bush along with many other tactics to convince him that war was the answer.

    My third thought, was, “Isn’t this unconstitutional?” Is it just me, or does the 1st amendment prohibit congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion? Wouldn’t revenue have to be directed to these organizations through the military, who get their funding from congress? It seems as though military leadership frequently disregards the constitution, especially the 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments. It seems to me as though the soldiers who offer their lives for their country deserve all the liberties they can have within reason, including that of belief.

    Lastly, in response to the claim that religion prevents suicide, an Atheist who believes in a Wallace Stevens’s Sunday Morning type world would be less likely to commit suicide because he would believe that the earth is his paradise. Just some food for thought.

  • MPcannon

    nls73m,

    The U.S. was not founded on Christianity, the founding fathers were all deists if you could call them religious. In fact they tried to separate the image of religion being involved in the government at all. Certain things like the printing of “In God we Trust” being printed on currency wasn’t introduced until 1956. Learn history before you open your mouth again.

  • Alistair

    “And why is this bad?? I see nothing wrong here. Usa was founded as a christian nation and continues to be a christian nation. Must be a slow day for you chris rodda.”

    No. No it wasn’t. The United States was founded on no religion for exactly this reason. Many of the original colonists who settled the future USA were fleeing religious persecution in their own countries, precisely because those countries had no seperation of church and state. There is a reason there is no official state religion, a reason that Jefferson, founding father and third President of the United States famously stated that:

    “In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot…they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.”

    If you are an American, there is absolutely no restriction on you following your faith as much as you please, regardless of what faith, denomination, or ethnic group you come from. Take it from me that that is an impossibly rare thing in the modern world, and one that can only be protected by keeping religious and spiritual life as far removed from the process of government as is humanly possible.

  • Contraview

    While you are all technically correct that the US was not founded as a Christian country, it’s still an irrelevant argument. Here’s why: 80-90% of actual tax payers (I’m not counting the large numbers of Americans who pay no ($0) in Federal taxes) are Christian. I’m going to be generous and say that maybe 5% of taxpayers are Athiest or agnostic. So here’s my suggestion: Instead of whining about how a few million dollars (a fractional percentage of the federal budget) is being spent to fund programs that reflect the beliefs of those who fund the federal budget, how about you just say thank you.

    Imagine a world where 5% of the population gets to dictate the social agenda. That’s an absurd proposition no matter how you choose to interpret the constitution.

    • Manbearpig

      Let’s assume that those absurd numbers that you made up are accurate. Let’s even go so far as to say that every Christian in America shares precisely the same evangelical beliefs despite the large number of denominations within the Christian faith. Why should the 10-20% Americans who are not Christian thank you for shoving your faith down our throats? Why should we thank you for pissing all over our Constitution?

      Now let’s be drop the assumptions and be realistic. I’m citing this source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States

      15% of Americans claim no religious belief or affiliation. That “generous 5%” that you gave us more accurately reflects the percentage of Americans who are religious but not Christian (3.9-5.5%). So 20% of Americans would, if they decided to join the army, be forced to go to religious remediation for a faith that they disavow. How would you like it if your children were forced to pray to Allah in a public school simply because most of the people who live in that district were Muslim? I bet you wouldn’t be thanking the majority for telling your child that you were raising them improperly. The fact is that this is a direct affront to the principles that our country was founded on. Unless you want the government to start replacing the Bibles in your church with Korans, you should be very upset that it is putting bibles in soldiers’ barracks.

      Now to tackle your last 2 sentences. First off, when minorities are prevented from influencing the social agenda, civil liberties are invariably compromised. Now let’s visit this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States#Race_and_ethnicity
      In 2010, roughly 72% of the American population was White and 5% was Asian. By your logic, if every white person had decided that it should be legal to own Asian slaves, that would be fine. So what if none of the Asians wanted to be enslaved? They’re only 5% of the population, so it would be absurd to let them dictate our social agenda.

      One of the earliest lessons that I can remember learning in school is that facts can be proved or disproved but opinions cannot. Congratulations on having an opinion so moronic that it can very easily be proven wrong.

  • CDR Man

    This article is not being very fair to the various activities it is critiquing. In fact, I would even go so far as to say it is incorrect in many aspects, and assuredly leaves out a good deal of information about these programs.

    The Strong-Bond’s program (which is about ¾’s of the events that he is critiquing if you look at the description of the various activities) is indeed a chaplain run event. It is an effort to help people who have issues with their marriage to try and repair the bonds that they had with their significant other in an attempt to keep marriages together. Are there religious overtones to it? Of course, it is run by the chaplain’s organization which is predominantly Christian. Are other faiths allowed to participate and speak to their own religious preference? Of course. They just cater to the largest religious denomination in the military, which happens to be Christian.

    Are there evangelicals in the military who expose their beliefs to non-believers? Yes, though they’re not supposed to. I’ve had senior officers pass me Christian propaganda a time or two in an effort to get me going on the whole religious angle. I don’t mind it, and hand it back to them when they do. No one FORCES you to participate in religious events. It might be encouraged, but they don’t make you.

    The fact of the matter is, the Strong Bonds program is extremely useful for members of the military who struggle with issues with their spouse. The Army does have the highest divorce rate of any other group, and the chaplain corp is trying to do something to fix it. They do not, in fact, use just Christian messages to try and repair these marriages, but also delve into psychological and non-faith based theories on how to save relationships. A lot of those messages are extremely beneficial if people pay attention to them.

    The spiritual fitness test… well, I got nothing on that. That one is just stupid.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      I like the respectful dialog, and I appreciate your comment.
      I think I take issue with you over the fact that this same $30 million annually could be spent on secular marriage counseling (as they superficially promise to be teaching in the chaplaincy). I genuinely needed help with my marriage after my first deployment. All I’m saying is that these expensive retreats really did feel like a religious infomercial with some dummy/entry level psych thrown in. The same funds could have been used without having to go into constitutionally grey area. A few weeks later, I finally found a secular alternative within the MWR / FRG (or someone’s business card!) That was several weeks of real, verifiable progress. It saved my marriage.
      Now I’m not trying to take away the chaplaincy’s ability to help religious families stay together. Not at all. But these people can utilize the secular services of actual doctors on top of privately seeking additional christian marriage advice.

      I’m glad we agree about the spiritual fitness test (:

      • CDR Man

        I don’t have the exact statistics which go along with the Strong Bonds program, so what I say next might not be factual. It is my best guess, however.

        There are a lot of expenses which go along with the Strong Bonds program. Specifically plane tickets for thousands of Soldiers (yearly), hotel accomidations, tours, etc. These expenses allow families the opportunities to bassically “take a vacation”, while going to various workshops in order to improve and work on their marriage. However, I can easily understand how these sorts of things can quickly become expensive. I would imagine (and this is the guessing part) that if you looked at the money spent on this program, most of it does not go towards the act of evangelical purposes. Yes, the pamphlets might run a bit, but the event is mostly about spending time with your significant other.

        Are there religious overtones? Yes, but there are religious overtones in everything we do in the military. I don’t think we should discount the program because of a poor experience. It is illegal for the chaplain’s corp to actively try and “recruit” people, but they still have a lot of wiggle room to talk about their beleifs. Being around religious discourse is not the same as being prosletized, though. But, I can’t speak to your experiences.

        I do believe that more military psychologists should take an active role in the program.

        I guess I just still fail to see how these programs are attempts at converting atheists in the military. I appreciate that you discuss such a controversial subject, but I will reiterate that your article is misleading by not presenting the positive aspects of those programs.

  • Heresy

    actually it’s 15% (http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/ARIS_Report_2008.pdf) and rising, I expect that in the next 80 years we’ll have greater than 50% of the globe, interestingly enough the odds of being an atheist go up with intelligence and education, seems to me you’d have to be stupid to believe in a sky demon who punishes you from afar, but hey to each his own, just keep it out of my government, schools, and face. (and yes we do know more about the bible on average than the religious types) http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/09/28/130191248/atheists-and-agnostics-know-more-about-bible-than-religious

  • Jordan

    You’re obviously and sadly completely misinformed and your bias bleeds through your opinions on this subject. Any soldier who’s been deployed will tell you they appreciated having a chaplain and having religious resources. But, and this is how I know how incredibly wrong you are, the military can’t support christianity or any specific religion. On the military bases I’ve been stationed at I’ve had any number of different religions and religious services presented to me as options, right along with christianity. There’s buddhist, hindu, wicca services and many many more. You’re on some anti-christian tirade. Congratulations on being ignorant.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      Way off. I work closely with Chaplains despite the fact that I’m still officially banned from having my little group of Atheists meet on post. Even in a gazebo. I’m currently deployed, and I go to all the bible studies, meals with chaplains etc. They love me (seriously).

      I have nothing against Christians or Chaplains, and I even volunteer for 24 staff duty every Christmas (some War on Christmas, huh?)

      I *do* have a problem with government funds being used to change soldier’s religions. That’s bullshit, and completely unconstitutional. You and I both uphold an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. These contracts were awarded to civilians, many of them are of the notorious ‘no-bid’ variety. This could be why your pay wasn’t raised at the standard inflation matching rate this year. Do you think next year will be any better?

      Let’s trim the fat AND uphold the law. 2 birds, 1 stone.

    • Daron

      Jordan, you are wrong. I’m a retired vet, and have been deployed to a combat theatre, and I personally could have cared less about having a chaplain or any religious resources available. I never used them. It is good for those who believe, but don’t make the mistake of believing that all believe.

      On the posts I was stationed at the majority of programs were christian, which is not a problem if it is voluntary. Yet every mandatory function I remember attending frequently started with a prayer. One in particular was blatantly christian, ending in jesus’ name, which led to several complaints from the attendees as inappropriate.

  • Brianv

    “While you are all technically correct that the US was not founded as a Christian country, it’s still an irrelevant argument.”

    It’s not an irrelevant argument. We are a country ruled by law, no matter who is paying what taxes. Our law is set fort by the United States Constitution.

    “80-90% of actual tax payers (I’m not counting the large numbers of Americans who pay no ($0) in Federal taxes) are Christian.”

    Sorry, your figures are off. In actuality Christianity only accounts for 78.5% of the population according to the CIA World Fact book. That is an extraordinary number of people to account for. The population that is unspecified, unaffiliated, or none numbers at 18.6%. Once again, not a number to laugh at.

    “So here’s my suggestion: Instead of whining about how a few million dollars (a fractional percentage of the federal budget) is being spent to fund programs that reflect the beliefs of those who fund the federal budget, how about you just say thank you.”

    This is not whining. What this is is calling the Government out on illegally supporting what it constitutionally says it won’t do. The United States was established so that the majority would rule, but the minority wouldn’t be suppressed. It is the reason why we have a bicameral congress.

  • djurbino

    Contraview – the actual proportion of Christians is 76% ( that’s 2008 numbers; it’s lower by now ). But we’ll stick with the known facts: non-Christians make up 25% of 1/4 of the population. So one in every four people you pass on the street in the USA is not a Christian.

    The proportion of atheists and agnostics in the US is not 5% but close to 15%, and growing each year. In many countries it has passed 50%, making Christianity a minority group. But I digress.

    Only 44% of Americans go to church. But the other 33% that call themselves Christians also fund this program. So …

    Imagine a world where 1/3 of the population call themselves Christian but can’t be bothered receiving Christian spiritual instruction, yet pay to have another 1/4 of the population who are not Christian forced to receive and pay for something they won’t do thsemelves. Now THAT is absurd.

  • Frowny

    Contraview, wow..

    “[if the] US was not founded as a Christian country, it’s still an irrelevant argument. Here’s why: 80-90% of actual tax payers are Christian…Imagine a world where 5% of the population gets to dictate the social agenda.”

    That’s the EXACT reason why our government was founded as it was. To protect the minority (especially from a majority religion). It’s not a majority-rights democracy.

    Think please.

  • Ransom

    Obviously written by someone who have never been in or been around someone in the military.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      Active duty, currently deployed here.

  • Brian Rose

    Wow almost every post I have read on here is sheer stupidity. The USA WAS founded on Christian beliefs. The separation of church and state that everyone boast os not in the Constitution or Bill Of Rights if you actually read them. That concept came from a church that wrote to Thomas Jefferson worried about a state religion or the like and he intended it to be that the government will have no say in any form of religion and will not prohibit any religion which we see now against Christianity. A teacher gets fired for bringing their personal Bible to school to read during the lunch break and so on, which is the opposite of what the founding fathers wanted. Here I’d another fact for you, Capital Hill had church services weekly and Bibles for everyone in congress. Despite all these facts you say it is NOT Christian based nation and go against the foundation that this nation was built upon, total freedom of religion.

  • Angry Voter

    You know how the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Aztec, Mayan and Norse gods are obviously made up?

    Well so is your god.

    Besides, the historical Jesus never advocated using depleted uranium against civilians for oil. If you really did follow Jesus, you’d never support it.

  • Don

    Brian Rose wrote:
    “The USA WAS founded on Christian beliefs.:

    Please provide evidence for this claim. Any mention of the Christian god or the Bible in the Constitution would suffice.

    If you do NOT have evidence for this claim, either retract said claim, or stand revealed as a dishonest weasel. Your choice.

    Oh, and Brian? “Total freedom of religion” includes freedom FROM religion, too.

  • schmitz

    I don’t know why everyone’s surprised that the US isn’t following the constitution, it’s happening kind of ALOT lately. Either way, this shouldn’t be happening the way it is, I am a christian and I still agree this is wrong according to US law, if they want to do this, they shouldn’t muse tax dollars to pay for it, they should make the people that want it pay for it.

    P.S. All of you people who are trying to say that the south is all rednecks and hillbillies automatically lose your credibility with me, yes we have them, but there are stupid people everywhere, that’s just our version of them. We probably have as many modern, smart people as everywhere else.

  • schmitz

    I don’t know why everyone’s surprised that the US isn’t following the constitution, it’s happening kind of ALOT lately. Either way, this shouldn’t be happening the way it is, I am a christian and I still agree this is wrong according to US law, if they want to do this, they shouldn’t use tax dollars to pay for it, they should make the people that want it pay for it.

    P.S. All of you people who are trying to say that the south is all rednecks and hillbillies automatically lose your credibility with me, yes we have them, but there are stupid people everywhere, that’s just our version of them. We probably have as many modern, smart people as everywhere else.

  • Kborden

    NO RELIGION IS SPONSORED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THE MILITARY. ALL OTHER RELIGIONS HAVE RETREATS AND RELIGIOUS SERVICES, THIS ARTICLE IS PROPAGANDA AGAINST CHRISTIANITY. I am a reservist soldier in the US Army that is currently deployed (for about 2 months now); here are my views on the subject. All of these services are provided by the Army’s MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation), and by no means is ANYBODY forced to “Convert to Christianity.” This is not an arguement of whether the government should be supporting religious activities. You can think of it like this. As a job benefit, soldiers recieve access to the MWR and any services they might offer. This includes child care, gyms, religious services, etc. In the civilian world, may jobs may aquire the worker benefits like dental care.
    My rebuttal to this article is this: how dare you. The US government does not require you to convert to Christianity, although it does require counseling upon return from deployment or upon indication that the soldier is either clinically depressed/suicidal. This article is nothing but liberal propaganda designed to hurt the military. Would any of you personally deny a returning soldier the right to religious service provided (not required or sponsered, and for that matter, all of the other religions of the world are provided by the army)? Get real people, this is not about government sponsorship of religion. This is an anti-christian article.
    Go army.

  • Zeros

    Why are we doing any of this? Since when did we get away from equality as a country? What about Jewish soldiers or Jehovah’s witness soldiers, Muslim soldiers and atheist soldiers get their own special treatment? Where’s there nifty marriage counseling and retreats.
    It’s a shame that the tax dollars spent on this nonsense can’t go towards better pay for our soldiers, better benefits for wounded warriors, better care for veterans and mental support and health care for them instead of going to the Christian “A team”

    I am so ashamed to see this article I took the time to look into this and it sounds accurate.
    It makes me sad because they are craming an Ulterior motive Down peoples throats By manipulating there souls.

    I am a Christian and this is not what Jesus would do. He would share evenly any blessings.

  • Army Chaplain

    As an Army Chaplain I am sad to see anyone “FORCED” to convert. Spirituality is good for those who are looking for it but no one should be forced into any religion or denomination. I am sorry to see this happen.

  • to the armchair warriors

    I’m disappointed that you so readily jump all over any any chance to attack the jesus freaks that you try to prevent the Army from taking care of our soldiers. I think it’s brilliant of you to try to stop soldiers from having the one person (a chaplain) who they can talk to in confidence. We all know every chaplain is Christian, even the Muslim and Budhist ones. Did you know that bases spend quite a bit of money to support other faith groups, providing transportation and contract spiritual leaders? No, just keep hating on the Christians, and fuck what the chaplains do to keep them alive.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      I get it man. I know you feel persecuted by the tone here. But you need to get a few things straight. First of all, the vast majority of the funding discussed in the article had nothing to do with chaplains, per se. These are independent contractors that are civilians. Second of all, the only ones listed are ones that are specifically aimed at proselytizing towards non-Christians. We are not trying to take away the chaplaincy. We are all sick of being told that “we need to get right with god or else we’ll kill ourselves”. I speak as an atheist, but I know for a fact that many Christian soldiers are also affected negatively by this stuff. Read this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/2011/01/18/spiritually-unfit-soldiers-forced-to-see-chaplains-to-get-born-again/

    • William

      Why not a psychologist/psychiatrist who knows how to give scientifically backed therapy and counseling in confidence rather than someone who will spew religion at them?

  • GoidofHellfire

    The military is peopled who worship or don’t and many of the worshippers’s require clergy services. If the military didn’t provide those services, it would violate the members’ freedom of religion rights.
    And whoever started that “deist” crap is smoking their socks. Most 18th Deists were Christians. This table shows that the Founding Fathers were very religious Christians: http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
    President George Washington was a baptized Anglican (Episcopalian). He prayed morning and night and was a pew holder in his church. He had an Episcopalian funeral and burial.

    • Daron

      No, it would not be a violation if chaplain services were not be provided. It would be a violation if the service member were prohibited to practice their religious beliefs, or forced to participate in a different religious belief. You need to get your facts correct.

      Also, in regards to you founding father facts, you need to cite an unbiased source. The site you cited has an obvious bias.

  • GoidofHellfire

    (Error) 18th-Century Deists …
    Jefferson, who wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” was a lifelong Episcopalian deist who was influenced by Unitarianism. Jefferson edited a Bible in which he cut out mention of miracles and the Trinity.

  • Sgt_Wilky

    Not trying to be a troll, however, I think it’s necessary to add that most of our founding fathers were not deitsts. (Only one for sure, and maybe two more). That our nation is founded on Christian principles is a fact. Our nation’s Forefathers referenced Christianity and Christianity’s God many times to justify what they had done. The Declaration of Independence, and hundreds of other founding documents name God, Providence, the Almighty, God, Lord, and various other names of God. Thomas Jefferson, while at best a Deist and worst, an agnostic, had a deep appreciation for core principles of Christianity. He also, at the behest of the Baptists in Danbury, advanced the idea to ban a state religion which many of the Protestant and a few Catholic Founders were keen to do. Mind you, it was the Non-Protestant/Catholic Baptists that advocated for separation of church and state, not the idea of today’s anti-religionists (everyone has a religion) who shun any mention of God, while wearing the self righteous cloack elitism. The letter from the Baptists to Jefferson was paramount to avoiding another situation which the Pilgrims sought refuge from Great Britian, that was relgious freedom. The Pilgrims were the first to establish a real settlement based on the idea of Christianity-true Christianity-to have religious liberty without fear of the Government getting in the way. I grow weary at the leftist argument of “we’re not a christian nation” when in fact, we WERE. The leftists now re-write history books, instead of burning them.

  • Jerry

    You obviously didn’t do all your research as in many of the monies for the strong bonds program come from chief of chaplains grants which are made up of a percentage of offerings fro post worship services.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rockbeyondbelief/members/justin/ Justin Griffith

      Chris Rodda is the researcher, contact her. All of the data came from the publicly available contracting website. None of the data comes from anywhere else, if you read her original article.

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