Glenn Beck’s favorite pseudo-historian has been in and out of the news recently. Apparently there is a movement in Texas to get him to primary Senator John Cornyn, a Republican senator who does not foam at the mouth to the satisfaction of his more extreme constituents.
Recently he was on Kenneth Copeland’s Veteran’s Day program. Things were apparently okay until Copeland ventured into territory beyond his specialty of quoting scripture out of context. Religion News has the story:
On a Veterans Day broadcast program, televangelist Kenneth Copeland and controversial historian David Barton told listeners that soldiers should never experience guilt or post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from military service.
Reading from Numbers 32: 20-22, Copeland said, “So this is a promise — if you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war … you shall return, you’re coming back, and be guiltless before the Lord and before the nation.”
“Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” Copeland said as Barton affirmed him. ”You get rid of that right now. You don’t take drugs to get rid of it. It doesn’t take psychology. That promise right there will get rid of it.”
Barton added that many biblical warriors “took so many people out in battle,” but did so in the name of God.
“You’re on an elevated platform up here. You’re a hero, you’re put in the faith hall of fame,” Barton said. “… When you do it God’s way, not only are you guiltless for having done that, you’re esteemed.”
My impression is that many conservative evangelicals are profoundly uncomfortable with our modern understanding of mental health issues. I think the modern diagnoses of PTSD and chemical or neurological problem conflict with their “common sense” understanding of free will, which underlies much of their “accept Jesus” theology. And if they blame it on demon possession people will think they’re Pentecostal.
Anyway, at least this time Copeland and Barton are getting some pushback from people they have to respect. Joe Carter, communication’s director of the SBC, has blasted them repeatedly. Most recently at a blog post at the Gospel Coalition:
For Copeland and Barton to resurrect this “blame the victim” trope and coat it with the veneer of Biblical warrant is Satanic. Christians need to counter this demonic, gospel-destroying message by letting the men and women who are suffering from combat related PTSD know what the Bible really says about hope, healing, and deliverance through Christ Jesus.