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Army's Prescription to Combat Soldier Suicides: Christianity

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posted on May, 11 2009 @ 06:27 PM
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By Jason Leopold

A recent edition of the U.S. Army’s suicide prevention manual advises military chaplains to promote “religiosity,” specifically Christianity, as a way to deter distraught soldiers from committing suicide, which in recent months, according to one veterans advocacy group, has reached epidemic proportions.

The Army Suicide Prevention Manual says “Chaplains... need to openly advocate behavioral health as a resource” to treat suicidal soldiers and instructs behavioral health providers “to openly advocate spirituality and religiosity as resiliency factors."

The inclusion of Christianity and spirituality a new addition to the Army’s 2008 suicide prevention manual. A Pentagon spokesman did not return calls for comment.
According to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the civil rights organization that sued Gates and the Defense Department over claims of rampant proselytizing in the military, the PowerPoint presentation “is not only an unconstitutional promotion of Christianity for the soldiers who are mandated to attend it, but for the behavioral health providers and non-Christian chaplains who must present it.”

MRFF president and founder Mikey Weinstein said his lawsuit clearly demonstrates “the noxiously unconstitutional pattern and practice of fundamentalist Christian oppression in our U.S. armed forces.”

The U.S. Military is barred from enacting or supporting policies that advance, promote or endorse religion.


Army's Prescription to Combat Soldier Suicides: Christianity

How does this powerpoint presentation with cross symbolism not advance, promote and/or endorse religion - repeatedly. It's like this is the Crusaders army. The military doesn't know how to help our battle weary soldiers so they turn it over - to God - and keep sending them back to battle again and again.



[edit on 11-5-2009 by DancedWithWolves]




posted on May, 13 2009 @ 03:28 PM
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My apologies, but soldiers get no sympathy from me. They signed their bodies over to the government, unfortunantly their minds are in their bodies(hopefully) thus government property. The government can do what they will with them. The understanding of the fact that you no longer belong to anything but your commander is, what I think, makes an efective soldier.
Now dont get me wrong, I have much respect for American soldiers, and I would much rather have them alive than dead. If a picture of a loving God and His Sacrificial Lamb, regardless of authenticity, keeps one of our soldiers from becoming his own succesful enemy than well done.
Perhaps there are alternative mind manipulation tecniques that can do a better job, but they dont come with their own widely known, 9 times out of 10 already indoctrinated, Book.
The soldiers that are unwillingly forced to listen to the presentations are just "casualties of war".



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by Tyler 720
My apologies, but soldiers get no sympathy from me. They signed their bodies over to the government, unfortunantly their minds are in their bodies(hopefully) thus government property.

The soldiers that are unwillingly forced to listen to the presentations are just "casualties of war".


We are not one nation under Christianity. Your words lend confirmation to the warped mission many of us us have long suspected - this war is a Christian Crusade disguised, badly, as a war on terrorism.

Your sympathy is unnecessary. Thankfully, our soldiers continue to defend and protect an ideal that is America, even if, they end up protecting people that don't understand religious freedom and freedom from one religion is part of our constitution. The United States of America does not have a Christian Army. May our soldiers find the peace in their minds they seek, in spite of the military's attempt to indoctrinate them into a structure I dare say Jesus himself wouldn't recognize if he were to view his "church" today.

Where is the protection of freedom to choose for our soldiers? Do you only want them to fight for your freedom to choose? Because you have chosen Christianity does not mean they have given up their right to choose their own beliefs. They deserve freedom as much as the civilians they defend and that includes freedom of and from one religion being forced upon them in their time of need.

Peace











[edit on 13-5-2009 by DancedWithWolves]



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:37 PM
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Anyone trying by any means to control a suicidal mind should be comended.
It also seems painfully obvious to me that "the war" definitely has a Christian tone. The fact remains that we are a predominantly Christian nation "Occupying" predominantly Muslim territory. I dont think its disguised.
The very fact they are soldiers nulifies their freedom. They are the property of the government and I support them. Their priority is to their orders no matter what they are. If they have some type of confusion about this, their superiors are obligated to correct it. If they choose an easy, widely accepted control tecnique like Christianity to correct it, than so be it. I wouldnt care if they chose bigfoot or "pixie dust" as long as it worked.
I do believe soldiers have the same freedoms as civilians do and they should be defended just the same, but those freedoms and choices are put aside when they join up.(also the reason i'm against a draft)
Would you have a soldier in the midst of battle decide for themselves to aquire "Life, Liberty, And the pursuit of Happiness" by liberating their life from the battle and pursuing(SP?) another beer?



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:49 PM
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How is this not crossing the Church-State line?

If there's a Chaplain, I want him well versed in every single religion. No discrimination against atheists. And yes you'd bet he'd better have a good grasp on Paganism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc... in addition to Christianity.

If not, I have a problem.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:07 PM
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I have a better prescription: Hookers!




If a fellow soldier finds emancipation and affinative comfort to make it another day, then God Bless him.


The fact that soldiers are (now) mandated, raises an eyebrow. Especially if the Chaplains are non-Christian. That's like a plummer trying to replace my transmission.

This wasn't mandatory when I served. I think this might be crossing the line, considering not all soldiers are Christian.
Matter of fact, it was risk of a court martial trying to mess with someone's religion when I was in active duty.
Interesting.
I'd like to see where this one goes.....



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:14 PM
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reply to post by Tyler 720
 


The only difference between collaboration and conspiracy is the ethics applied to the means and the end. Collaboration happens every day. Conspiracy happens every day.

The means employed DOES matter. It has to. Attempting to save even one person does not excuse the use of forcing a religion on someone. Many lives were given in the past to ensure our right to have freedom of choice in matters of religion. By the "State" pushing one and only one religion they negate our very reason for being.

Soldier suicides are a horrible problem. Using soldier suicides as an excuse to Christianize our military is deceptive and against the very principles this country was founded upon. To have true freedom, we as a people, must demand that the means be every bit as ethical as the end.


This PowerPoint slide includes an image of a group of silhouetted soldiers with one soldier up in the clouds looking at a large cross. In 2007, during a similar presentation, the same image was used but it did not include the image of the cross.


Peace.

[edit on 13-5-2009 by DancedWithWolves]



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:20 PM
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Isn't that the answer to all of America's problems?

Come on now, we need a good healthy Christian nation to deal with Immigration, Health Care and ofcourse Gay Marriage
.

All kidding aside, this country more and more everyday is relying on religion instead of common sense to deal with fundemental issues. Just this week we've had this and the Republican 2010 Year Of The Bible BS that's been circulating.

IMO it's a response to the fears that Muslims will eventually impose Sharia law all over the world once they become the majority.

What does America do when it fears something? It clings to two things:

Guns & Religion

Unfortunetly that won't be enough this time, our problems are far too big and complex to be left up to faith.

~Keeper



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:39 PM
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So what do you say to a suicidal soldier?
"you wanna die maggot? is that what you want? you just bought a one way ticket to the front lines! why dont you strap this bomb to your chest like they do and get some of them when you die! gimme 20 pushups maggot!"

or

"buck up soldier, itl be over soon"

or

"Jesus loves you"

I personaly dont care. I can see the concern with mandatory attendance to religous services, but why care if you believe its all lies anyway? If soldiers are made better because of it whats the harm? If you cant keep your head about you in any situation, you shouldnt be a soldier in the first place.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:44 PM
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It doesn't sound like they're endorsing christianity any more than they're endorsing spirutuality, which it seems means to them "anything other than christianity". Most of the people there are christians. It would comfort me a bit i think, even tho i don't go to church.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by Tyler 720
 


The military is saying something different it seems...before they say Jesus loves you as another current story illustrates....


SHERMAN, Texas (CNN) -- The father of a U.S. soldier accused of killing five fellow troops at a stress clinic in Iraq says it wasn't combat stress that made his son kill. The dad says it was fellow soldiers who pushed him over the edge.

The father said he was not sure what sort of threats might've been leveled against his son. But he said stress-test technicians had "overstressed him."

"They broke him. They ruined his life. They told him, 'You're an idiot. You don't belong in here. We're gonna break you.' "


CNN

Is this how it works? They tell you you're an idiot - they break you - THEN they save you with Jesus - hopefully before you pull the trigger.

They signed up as soldiers to defend the freedoms we said we stood for. Now it's our turn to defend them...against religious persecution.

Using your approach....one could defend the singular teaching of Satan worship in the military...if it saved just one. There is a reason Church and State are separated and must remain so.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 07:00 PM
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I volunteered for "Honor Guard" service when I was enlisted in the Air Force. About 30 people all worked together doing activities like 21 gun salute, taps, retirements, promotions. Turns out I was the only "Non denominational" dog tag wearer among the bunch.

I told the Master Sergeant in charge that I did not want to prey when they would get together for group prayers during the middle of the day but that it did not offend me if they chose to have a group prayer session. I was outcast by the group. It even went so far as not receiving the medal that was awarded to everyone else that participated in the group. Everyone acted like I was evil incarnate. I did not do it for a medal though. I DID learn a hell of a lot about humans and grouping of religious beliefs.

I did two tours in Iraq and the amount of religious prayer ceremonies that occurred during official functions was OFF THE CHART! We were attacked pretty much every single day so of course, every single day would be a prayer minute or a group prayer ceremony. I even had a supervisor take me into his office and ask why I would not participate and if I was anti-religious or Islamic. It was amazing to me.

That power point about finding jeebus for the Joes does not surprise me. If the Boys in Blue have the good ol' church boy mentality I am willing to bet it is pretty huge in the Army.

The premise of not questioning orders might fight in better among someone who is more religious.

I was a boat rocker. I made some freaking huge ass waves.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 07:30 PM
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I think the Army is grasping, trying to reduce the problem.

Five of us just pulled off an ambush, were on the bird back to base when the helicopter crew chief told two of us to remain on board.

We were flown to a transition camp, our clearing post was already done and signed, our duffles were checked out of supply, and we were escorted to the showers, given clean uniforms, put on a plane, and due to international dateline quirks, I arrived in the States one hour before I left.

Talk about a lack of decompression!

Straight from combat home. It's the worst possible thing for both the soldier and even worse for their families. Often, they don't know who in hell this is, sitting in their living room. Even when with family, they're somewhere else. And it gets awkward real fast.

In combat, you're required to do some things you can't imagine. You'll experience things that there are no descriptive terms for.

Oh, the Army has pills and psychiatrists, and even stress discussion groups. Bad news. The damned pills only postpone the healing. The discussion groups are about two microns deep, and the psychiatrists have no *ing idea of what the men are talking about - not that they are even told. Because they aren't.

Because there is no reference point!

No Rosetta Stone!

How often have you heard combat vets resort to, "you had to be there." You think they're exaggerating in the least? Not even!

All those things that you can't even find words for? You don't even try. You do, and everyone will be looking at you like you busted a window or something. They can't "understand" how one human could do what they did.

So you shut the hell up.

If you'll picture the mind in combat as a storage building with an open door, during combat, everything unholy is being furiously tossed in at random, everything misplaced and jumbled, out of order, and soon it's hard to maneuver.

The greatest favor the Army can do for those in combat is counterintuitive.

Rather than rush them home, they should be taken to a quiet, perfectly relaxing environment, and let them relax and talk and think.

They need the time to get things a bit resorted.

Ten days of peace, quiet, reflection, and casual discussion among his brother warriors can heal things that if not properly addressed, will take decades to heal.

Bring in older vets. Mature vets. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that the younger men can say they did or witnessed that will somehow shock or offend the older veteran.

Been there, done that, and over time, have usually picked up a few tricks of the trade in assisting their younger brothers in arms to be able to more easily and effectively navigate these things, and reduce the nightmares.

But the Army is the Army, and no one can tell them a damned thing.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by dooper

Rather than rush them home, they should be taken to a quiet, perfectly relaxing environment, and let them relax and talk and think.

They need the time to get things a bit resorted.

Ten days of peace, quiet, reflection, and casual discussion among his brother warriors can heal things that if not properly addressed, will take decades to heal.

Bring in older vets. Mature vets. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that the younger men can say they did or witnessed that will somehow shock or offend the older veteran.

Been there, done that, and over time, have usually picked up a few tricks of the trade in assisting their younger brothers in arms to be able to more easily and effectively navigate these things, and reduce the nightmares.



Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for doing everything you had to do. My son came home in October. It has been a long journey for him too. I hear what you are saying and have watched him live what you are describing upon his return.

What you said....you are right. I hope that you have found your older vets. It takes time to come home. And please....keep talking.

Know that this American...wishes you peace....and believes you deserve time to find it. Thank you. Truly...thank you.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:18 PM
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reply to post by DancedWithWolves
 

I'm very glad your son made it home, and I already know he came back . . . different.

I know he arrived, but has he made it home yet?

And how's he doing?



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:25 PM
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Originally posted by dooper
If you'll picture the mind in combat as a storage building with an open door, during combat, everything unholy is being furiously tossed in at random, everything misplaced and jumbled, out of order, and soon it's hard to maneuver.
...
The greatest favor the Army can do for those in combat is counterintuitive.
...
Rather than rush them home, they should be taken to a quiet, perfectly relaxing environment, and let them relax and talk and think.
...


Thank you, dooper, for writing this post.

Your assessment is right on the mark.

My father came home from WW2 Europe aboard the Queen Mary. He was in the hospital before being released to civilian life. This length of time allowed for some decompression, but even that was not enough at times.

Viet Nam soldiers shared your experience. Boarding a jet liner in the alien foreign country, hours later walking on a tarmac on American soil. There was no time for the mind (which you so well put it) to adjust. Lovers and family members welcomed home a stranger.

The lessons of war can never be understood by those who have not tasted combat. That is why, for the most part, the United States military, while prepared to start a war, does not wish to start a war. War should be the last resort, not something chosen to do. To pretend that war is over for the returning soldier is dishonest and does not serve the troops well in this age of speed and complexity.

dooper, I hope you can still be of service in some capacity to your fellow former soldiers. I would wish it to be as you would like to see it.
If your future is anything like those of us baby boomers who lived through the era of Viet Nam, you will have many years of opportunity to help in the healing.

God bless and take care.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by dooper
 



Incredible post Dooper.
Well put together, nice job.

I wanted to personally express my gratitude for your service.
I hope you will find peace at home brother.
If ever you wanted to discuss things, anything you want get off your chest, I'm here for a fellow soldier, ANYTIME. Just send me a message.
I know....kinda cheesy, but I'm 4 real.
Least I can do.



My favorite Army quote to date: "Hurry up and wait."


Peace.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:42 PM
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reply to post by desert
 


The nightmares will never, ever fully go away. When I speak of nightmares, I speak of having to experience and do the same, identical things over and again, and everything is just as vivid and real each time as when it happened.

The good news is that they will diminish with time. As time goes by, they will recede to the farther reaches of the mind.

About a year ago, I was talking to a WWII vet, and asked him something, and this one guy he killed came flooding back, and he instantly welled up as the vivid visions instantly returned.

But, he was able to quickly regroup and push it back. And that's a good part of the secret of dealing with it. Every single time it starts to come back during waking hours, you have to generate an entirely new thought, complete with actions you can see yourself taking. You literally have to tear it from your mind and replace it quick.

You can't fight those ghosts in perpetuity, so I found it's better to accept them, and eventually you can make your own peace the minute you realize that those ghosts hold no ill feelings, and that their struggle is over. And you have to get over yours.

They just want to be remembered, I suppose.

As if you could ever forget.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by dooper
 


He told me recently...that he is just beginning to feel like he is home.

Yes he felt different. Very different. And yes, there were times, he thought he was going insane.

I get it. We civilians obsess about things that seem so trivial in comparison to what he has witnessed...what he has done.

The workplace is harder still for those who come back home and have to immediately face that challenge too of earning a different kind of paycheck. The work ethic is completely different. People get by...doing just enough....and it's hard for someone who is used to laying everything on the line...life or death...to understand why it is that way.

We take things...so many things for granted...comforts that the rest of the world could never imagine.

The military broke him down...pumped him up...taught him...molded him...used him...and then...sent him home. It's a long journey back.

I also think it would help if health insurance for veterans was extended...both physical and mental for six months or more into their inactive reserve status. The wounds that have to heal...even the ones you can't readily see...stem from their service and need longer support.

He is going to college in the Fall. He is home. But, he will always remember. And, our family will always honor the service he did.

One time, while he was in Iraq, I sent him an email with an attachment that was of his little sister singing The Star Spangled Banner. In tears one night, after he came home, he told me that hearing that...on the night he happened to receive it...saved his life. For him, it was enough to know that he was fighting for her right to be free to sing that song out loud.

America is a set of ideas and ideals that you and other soldiers and sailors like you protected and served. You deserve more than we have given you for a homecoming.

I hope that your thoughts and ideas on how to bring them home...spread and become embraced.



posted on May, 13 2009 @ 09:07 PM
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On occasion, I'm asked to be the keynote speaker at Special Operations functions, TACP graduations and so on.

The military never tells me what I can talk about, so I try to impress on these men that at all times, that if they act honorably at all times, then there will be no second guessing in the decades to come.

I tell them when they come across an unpleasant sight, especially if they caused it, to not look at it directly, and to keep their eyes moving. I tell them the moment they get a good view, that is burned into their memory forever. So don't get a good view.

I've known and served with men that the Greek heroes had nothing on. Ajax, Odysseus, Hector, and even Achilles. We have them in our military right this moment.

I've seen acts of heroism that would stop your heart. Magnificent things that were the pinnacle of everything courageous and noble.

But the highest levels of bravery I witnessed were oddly not on the battlefield.

The most courageous thing I saw repeated scores of times was a mother, fiercely fighting back the tears, forcing a tense smile, and trying her best to hold up a brave face while sending her son off to combat, even as her heart was breaking.

The father was just as torn, looking confused, hesitant, anxious, miserable, and absolutely helpless.

So. The highest form of valor and courage is reserved.

Not for warriors, but for mothers, wives, and fathers of warriors.

[edit on 13-5-2009 by dooper]



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