U.S. Army Has A ‘Spiritual Fitness’ Test

CSFThanks to Will C. for sending us this latest bit of “separation of church and state” hypocrisy, reported by Jason Leopold at TruthOut:

An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers. They say it unconstitutionally requires enlistees to believe in God or a “higher power” in order to be deemed “spiritually fit” to serve in the Army.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is a $125 million “holistic fitness program” unveiled in late 2009 and aimed at reducing the number of suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cases, which have reached epidemic proportions over the past year due to multiple deployments to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the substandard care soldiers have received when they return from combat. The Army states that it can accomplish its goal by teaching its service members how to be psychologically resilient and resist “catastrophizing” traumatic events. Defense Department documents obtained by Truthout state CSF is Army Chief of Staff George Casey’s “third highest priority.”

CSF is comprised of the Soldier Fitness Tracker and Global Assessment Tool, which measures soldiers’ “resilience” in five core areas: emotional, physical, family, social and spiritual…

[continues at TruthOut]

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    I don’t get it. One minute the ‘christian’ Right Wing is all up in arms about homosexuals serving their country openly. The next their asking them to find a partner and hold hands. What the Hell is going on?!

    Just kidding. The ‘christin’ Right are hateful scumbags trying to destroy democracy.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      If this is what we call civilization, a little anarchy seems preferable to it.

      Who needs to worry about hell after death, there’s plenty of heat right here…

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I don’t get it. One minute the ‘christian’ Right Wing is all up in arms about homosexuals serving their country openly. The next their asking them to find a partner and hold hands. What the Hell is going on?!

    Just kidding. The ‘christin’ Right are hateful scumbags trying to destroy democracy.

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  • WhiteRose

    The care they get is because if they said how they really felt they would get kicked out… it’s a no winner!

  • WhiteRose

    The care they get is because if they said how they really felt they would get kicked out… it’s a no winner!

    • Hadrian999

      when I got back from deployment everyone who answered the mental health questionnaire “wrong” got punished, it’s worded in a way that tells you what answers they want

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Says, this puts me in mind of a book I read eons ago: “Refusnik”. It was the story of a Russian-born Jewish scientist’s struggles to escape the police state of the old Soviet Union.

        I admit it’s been quite a while since I read it, so memory may not serve correct on all the details. But one thing that I was particularly struck by was the Soviet State’s use of psychological examinations to enforce Communist Party discipline in the military. Many a brave veteran of the Great Patriotic War (aka WWII) ended up slaving away in gulags for decades because they didn’t make some party bureaucrat feel sufficiently loved.

        I’ve commented before elsewhere about how the contemporary U.S. is getting to the same dead end as the old Soviet Union–just by a different route. It’d be freakin’ awesome if there were some Russians out there with the journalistic skills and the life experience to write about that persuasively to an American audience.

        • APR

          I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Thanks for the heads-up.

      • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

        “Do you believe you may be a pansy-f*ck maggot milking off Uncle Sam’s tit like a cowardly bastard when others are coping bravely like real Americans with God-fearing giant cocks?”

        Sir, no sir!

        Gotta love the unbiased nature of military medical/psychological care.

  • Hadrian999

    got back from deployment everyone who answered the mental health questionnaire “wrong” got punished, it’s worded in a way that tells you what answers they want

  • Anonymous

    Those who are willing to bow and cower to invisable dieties make better soldiers? Killing for the whims and interests of others too frightened and privilaged to fight their own battles puts you in “Gods” favor?

    My mind is contiually blown by such convoluted logic. I have no other choice but to believe most people are completly insane… WTF?

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Those who are willing to bow and cower to invisable dieties make better soldiers? Killing for the whims and interests of others too frightened and privilaged to fight their own battles puts you in “Gods” favor?

    My mind is contiually blown by such convoluted logic. I have no other choice but to believe most people are completly insane… WTF?

  • Anonymous

    If this is what we call civilization, a little anarchy seems preferable to it.

    Who needs to worry about hell after death, there’s plenty of heat right here…

  • Nyxynox

    Ok, Church and State politics aside… How does one simultaneously hold both the notion that “I am connected to all humanity” while you are actively fighting and killing people? What kind of soul or self splitting paradox is that? Then on top of that there is the whole positive psychology part… How does one put a positive spin on your best friend being blown to body parts right in front of you or your commanding officer just ordered you to storm into a house and kill men, women and children?

    Is the army trying to swap PTSD with Schizophrenia?

    The Army is exacerbating the problem.

    As a Psychologist, this is frightening….

  • Nyxynox

    Ok, Church and State politics aside… How does one simultaneously hold both the notion that “I am connected to all humanity” while you are actively fighting and killing people? What kind of soul or self splitting paradox is that? Then on top of that there is the whole positive psychology part… How does one put a positive spin on your best friend being blown to body parts right in front of you or your commanding officer just ordered you to storm into a house and kill men, women and children?

    Is the army trying to swap PTSD with Schizophrenia?

    The Army is exacerbating the problem.

    As a Psychologist, this is frightening….

    • that1guy

      The Bhagavad Gita opens with Arjuna, a warrior with a conscience who feels bad about a war he’s fighting killing a bunch of people he loves and admires, being counseled by Krisna, the deity, and not even the batshit covered in the ashes of dead people deity, that it’s alright, because bodies are just, like, material duuuuude. It’s not like you can kill spirits *whooooaaa*
      Arjuna keeps coming up with reasons why fighting a war is bad and Krisna keeps coming up with reasons way transcendental reality makes fighting a war OK under these circumstances.
      Now this an epic that can be largely taken metaphorically. I know I’m slightly mischaracterising it, and that it’s a beautiful work actually that teaches some valuable lessons. But still, just goes to show that you could easily convince people that having killed a bunch of folks is alright on some plane greater than human existence, because individual lives are irrelevant outside of the scale of human existence.

      • Nyxynox

        Granted we create our reality labyrinths to suit our needs all the time. to hold the above notion: I am connected to and a part of that person I am shooting. In other words, We are all one and I am killing myself… I hope this “spiritual fitness” program backfires and more and more soldiers start thinking about this… A warrior culture such as our US military will implode.

      • PanSol

        same idea as kill ‘em all and let god sort ‘em out

  • APR

    Great. This is the new draft dodging mechanism. Just tell the recruiter you are a devout atheist or anti-theist or Satan worshipper. Use profanity when mentioning the popular sky-man.

    The draft is coming back, just a matter of time. That’s the only way to end the war.

  • APR

    Great. This is the new draft dodging mechanism. Just tell the recruiter you are a devout atheist or anti-theist or Satan worshipper. Use profanity when mentioning the popular sky-man.

    The draft is coming back, just a matter of time. That’s the only way to end the war.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      Actually…its the only way to sustain our hegemony world wide. A draft may make active war unpopular…but it will increase the number of bodies available to be shuffled around the world for deployments that aren’t ‘technically’ war. Anyone from the left or DNC who preaches the virtue of a draft…is a stooge for the real enemy…the warmachine and industry that keep our troops everywhere in the world to intimidate other nations into compliance.

      • Ironaddict06

        A draft? Hmm, who ever instutes the draft might be risking political suicide? If the DRAFT is instuted it woud be interesting because it will be a bit harder to dodge this time around.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Assuming they’d find enough people who could pass the minimum physical fitness requirements–or credibly lower than any further than they already are.

  • Anonymous

    Says, this puts me in mind of a book I read eons ago: “Refusnik”. It was the story of a Russian-born Jewish scientist’s struggles to escape the police state of the old Soviet Union.

    I admit it’s been quite a while since I read it, so memory may not serve correct on all the details. But one thing that I was particularly struck by was the Soviet State’s use of psychological examinations to enforce Communist Party discipline in the military. Many a brave veteran of the Great Patriotic War (aka WWII) ended up slaving away in gulags for decades because they didn’t make some party bureaucrat feel sufficiently loved.

    I’ve commented before elsewhere about how the contemporary U.S. is getting to the same dead end as the old Soviet Union–just by a different route. It’d be freakin’ awesome if there were some Russians out there with the journalistic skills and the life experience to write about that persuasively to an American audience.

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • APR

    I have been watching Russian Television – http://rt.com/ . It’s on one of the news channels on my Roku box. I think they are getting to what you write about

  • David Frost

    Sounds like to me they just want to reduce the level of stress and PTSD cases with holistic psychology (technically progress when considering the military’s usual overly unsympathetic manner of doing things)…but then apparently someone from American Atheists decided to make a publicity stunt out of it in attempt to win converts.

  • David Frost

    Sounds like to me they just want to reduce the level of stress and PTSD cases with holistic psychology (technically progress when considering the military’s usual overly unsympathetic manner of doing things)…but then apparently someone from American Atheists decided to make a publicity stunt out of it in attempt to win converts.

    • Hadrian999

      the military has a history of commanders forcing religion on the soldiers, when I deployed we were forced to wear catholic icons as part of our uniform, ,mandatory church services are generally part of basic training, and soldiers are required to have sessions with clergy, things like this are fact not some secret atheist plot to smear the military.

      • David Frost

        That’s interesting…I remember a military boot camp that accommodated Christians, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists, Unitarians, etc. If you wanted to stay in the barracks during chapel, that was up to you, either way no one gave anyone else a hard time. After boot camp, going to the chapel was all up to you, no one made you go.

        I’ll take your word for it, though. I know the U.S. Navy wasn’t like that during the past decade.

        • Hadrian999

          in infantry basic training the choice was go to church or get the shit smoked out of you by the drill sergeants.

          • Yakir

            Or don’t enlist, that was my choice. No drill sergeants, sleep as late as I goddamn want to… don’t have to die for “country,” either.

          • Hadrian999

            i got what i wanted out of it, the hypocrisy of the leadership still drives me nuts though.

          • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

            Luckily I didn’t have that happen at my stay on Sand Hill. As for Yakir, he’s a douche bag who probably chuckle when he hears about war deaths and tries not to choke on the cheetos he stuffed into his fat gullet .

      • Yakir

        I’d jerk off in the pews during services…

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Yeah, I know I feel an incredible reduction in stress everytime some Seventh Day Adventist comes to the door to proseletize me and insult the faith I was raised under.

      Imagine how much LESS stress I’d be under if I knew I’d be forfeiting any chance of promotion or risking a dishonorable discharge if I refused.

    • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

      Yeah I felt very relieved when at a Battalion formation (~800) people the Chaplain read the 3 people in the unit who had actually answered they were Atheist and told the assembled soldiers we were not real soldiers, and could not be trusted in combat. Luckily he got 800 strange looks.

      That sounds to me really conducive to reducing PTSD.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    “Do you believe you may be a pansy-f*ck maggot milking off Uncle Sam’s tit like a cowardly bastard when others are coping bravely like real Americans with God-fearing giant cocks?”

    Sir, no sir!

    Gotta love the unbiased nature of military medical/psychological care.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Actually…its the only way to sustain our hegemony world wide. A draft may make active war unpopular…but it will increase the number of bodies available to be shuffled around the world for deployments that aren’t ‘technically’ war. Anyone from the left or DNC who preaches the virtue of a draft…is a stooge for the real enemy…the warmachine and industry that keep our troops everywhere in the world to intimidate other nations into compliance.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Monotheism: because Bronze Age goat herders may have been too f*cking ass ignorant to cook a f*cking pork chop safely…but its still easier than thinking for yourself.

    As if these people haven’t suffered enough? A few tours in hell and they come home and get shafted into fringe cult BS ‘therapy’ because the government is too chickenshit and topheavy with Christards to do anything legitimately helpful or productive? Fuck this…bring back the fucking lions.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Monotheism: because Bronze Age goat herders may have been too f*cking ass ignorant to cook a f*cking pork chop safely…but its still easier than thinking for yourself.

    As if these people haven’t suffered enough? A few tours in hell and they come home and get shafted into fringe cult BS ‘therapy’ because the government is too chickenshit and topheavy with Christards to do anything legitimately helpful or productive? Fuck this…bring back the fucking lions.

  • Zedge

    How else are you supposed to put together a christian army?

  • Zedge

    How else are you supposed to put together a christian army?

  • Ironaddict06

    A draft? Hmm, who ever instutes the draft might be risking political suicide? If the DRAFT is instuted it woud be interesting because it will be a bit harder to dodge this time around.

  • Hadrian999

    the military has a history of commanders forcing religion on the soldiers, when I deployed we were forced to wear catholic icons as part of our uniform, ,mandatory church services are generally part of basic training, and soldiers are required to have sessions with clergy, things like this are fact not some secret atheist plot to smear the military.

  • David Frost

    That’s interesting…I remember a military boot camp that accommodated Christians, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists, Unitarians, etc. If you wanted to stay in the barracks during chapel, that was up to you, either way no one gave anyone else a hard time. After boot camp, going to the chapel was all up to you, no one made you go.

    I’ll take your word for it, though. I know the U.S. Navy wasn’t like that during the past decade.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Assuming they’d find enough people who could pass the minimum physical fitness requirements–or credibly lower than any further than they already are.

  • Hadrian999

    in infantry basic training the choice was go to church or get the shit smoked out of you by the drill sergeants.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, I know I feel an incredible reduction in stress everytime some Seventh Day Adventist comes to the door to proseletize me and insult the faith I was raised under.

    Imagine how much LESS stress I’d be under if I knew I’d be forfeiting any chance of promotion or risking a dishonorable discharge if I refused.

  • that1guy

    The Bhagavad Gita opens with Arjuna, a warrior with a conscience who feels bad about a war he’s fighting killing a bunch of people he loves and admires, being counseled by Krisna, the deity, and not even the batshit covered in the ashes of dead people deity, that it’s alright, because bodies are just, like, material duuuuude. It’s not like you can kill spirits *whooooaaa*
    Arjuna keeps coming up with reasons why fighting a war is bad and Krisna keeps coming up with reasons way transcendental reality makes fighting a war OK under these circumstances.
    Now this an epic that can be largely taken metaphorically. I know I’m slightly mischaracterising it, and that it’s a beautiful work actually that teaches some valuable lessons. But still, just goes to show that you could easily convince people that having killed a bunch of folks is alright on some plane greater than human existence, because individual lives are irrelevant outside of the scale of human existence.

  • Nyxynox

    Granted we create our reality labyrinths to suit our needs all the time. to hold the above notion: I am connected to and a part of that person I am shooting. In other words, We are all one and I am killing myself… I hope this “spiritual fitness” program backfires and more and more soldiers start thinking about this… A warrior culture such as our US military will implode.

  • Yakir

    If you join the fucking US military, you’re not mentally fit, period.

  • Yakir

    If you join the fucking US military, you’re not mentally fit, period.

    • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

      Homelessness was infinitely more preferably, let me tell you.

    • PanSol

      reverse catch-23.

  • Yakir

    I’d jerk off in the pews during services…

  • Yakir

    Or don’t enlist, that was my choice. No drill sergeants, sleep as late as I goddamn want to… don’t have to die for “country,” either.

  • Hadrian999

    i got what i wanted out of it, the hypocrisy of the leadership still drives me nuts though.

  • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

    Homelessness was infinitely more preferably, let me tell you.

  • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

    Yeah I felt very relieved when at a Battalion formation (~800) people the Chaplain read the 3 people in the unit who had actually answered they were Atheist and told the assembled soldiers we were not real soldiers, and could not be trusted in combat. Luckily he got 800 strange looks.

    That sounds to me really conducive to reducing PTSD.

  • Liberal Atheist Combat Veteran

    Luckily I didn’t have that happen at my stay on Sand Hill. As for Yakir, he’s a douche bag who probably chuckle when he hears about war deaths and tries not to choke on the cheetos he stuffed into his fat gullet .

  • Yakir

    Fuck you. At least I don’t have my tongue shoved up some drill sergeant’s asshole. “Sir, yes sir!” my ass.

  • http://tycio.livejournal.com/ Ty

    I have no idea how something like this slips past.

  • http://disqus.com Ty

    I have no idea how something like this slips past.

  • PanSol

    same idea as kill ‘em all and let god sort ‘em out

  • PanSol

    reverse catch-23.

  • 5by5

    Yeah, because believing in the invisible sky god is gonna make you more psychologically “resilient” when you see your buddy’s legs get blown off while waiting in line for chow at a forward operating base.

    Funny, but the first thing that makes me do is ask, “Where the fuck was God, then? Hey bitch, I just prayed to you, where’s the fricking protection?”

    If I wasn’t angry at God before, that would MAKE me angry. How in flipping hell does that make you more psychologically resilient? Resentful and confused maybe, but resilient? Oh that’s just crap.

  • 5by5

    Yeah, because believing in the invisible sky god is gonna make you more psychologically “resilient” when you see your buddy’s legs get blown off while waiting in line for chow at a forward operating base.

    Funny, but the first thing that makes me do is ask, “Where the fuck was God, then? Hey bitch, I just prayed to you, where’s the fricking protection?”

    If I wasn’t angry at God before, that would MAKE me angry. How in flipping hell does that make you more psychologically resilient? Resentful and confused maybe, but resilient? Oh that’s just crap.

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