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Thread: Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

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    Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/05/0...proselytizing/

    Did the Pentagon bar Christians from talking about their faith while serving in the military? Not exactly, but a new push to aggressively stop proselytizing has chaplains nervous, according to the Deseret News:

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    Is "atheisim" a religion? "There are no atheists in foxholes."

    http://www.conservapedia.com/There_A...ts_In_Foxholes

    I have been asked to select and read a WW-II soldier's poetry for our Memorial Day observance. I'll start with Pastor Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller's writing and read until I find something appropriate, Niemöller not being a "soldier" for the purposes of Memorial Day.

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    For as long as I've been aware (Reserve/active duty 1982-1991), military chaplains have always been prohibited from proselytizing. While they're free to conduct chapel services within their own faith, that is secondary to their job as chaplains. Chaplaincy is fundamentally different from pastoral ministry.

    Superiors are of course prohibited from applying any pressure to subordinates in religious matters.

    None of that ever stopped peers from conversation about religion, or answering questions from those who were interested.
    Last edited by KBCraig; 05-03-2013 at 10:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    Superiors are of course prohibited from applying any pressure to subordinates in religious matters.
    Doesn't mean that always works as intended. There are many instances where soldiers were forced to participate in religious practices or suffer the consequences for not doing so. Same with schools, it's prohibited for school officials/teachers/staff to force children to pray or lead them in prayer, but it happens quite often.

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    In almost 12 yrs of active service, I have never seen or personally heard of this happening while serving a in multitude of units and deployments. I think a few extreme cases were put under the magnifier, causing DoD to react.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bec View Post
    In almost 12 yrs of active service, I have never seen or personally heard of this happening while serving a in multitude of units and deployments. I think a few extreme cases were put under the magnifier, causing DoD to react.

    That was my observation as well, though I've been retired for a while.

    My only issue was they wouldn't put "NONE" on my dog tags as religion. I didn't want "atheist", I wanted "NONE" (I recognize lots of gods and worship none). (I think they'll do that now.) In protest, I wrote PROTESTANT - as I was protesting the requirement to list a religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joanie View Post
    Did the Pentagon bar Christians from talking about their faith while serving in the military? Not exactly, but a new push to aggressively stop proselytizing has chaplains nervous, according to the Deseret News

    According to infowars.com, it's an outright ban on religion while on duty. My take, they plan on sending military into citys in America where some police might refuse to kill people in mass. They don't want their soldiers having any morals, inclined to do the right thing, to follow a higher God than the government.
    Possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Morals never have and never will come from religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADobbs1989 View Post
    Possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Morals never have and never will come from religion.
    I have to disagree with you, but I think your arrogance pairs well with your ignorance. Morality is, in fact, a learned facet of human life. That being the case, religion is a major contributor in assigning moral values. Does this mean religion is the only thing to assign moral values. Of course not. Your response was lacking in tact as well as fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharleyCherokee View Post
    I have to disagree with you, but I think your arrogance pairs well with your ignorance. Morality is, in fact, a learned facet of human life. That being the case, religion is a major contributor in assigning moral values. Does this mean religion is the only thing to assign moral values. Of course not. Your response was lacking in tact as well as fact.
    Morality is NOT learned. Your opinion disagrees with any and all scientific studies done on the subject.

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    Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

    Morality is relative and subjective at best. It can modified and changed to meet the needs or wants of society. There is no universal morality that is innate to mankind.

    Religion establishes a baseline of morality consistent with its beliefs or practices. You will be hard pressed to find any religious text that does not codify its version of morality.

    Arguing morality is absolute because its simply right is a poor argument.

    That being said, my religious beliefs establishes my baseline for morality.
    Last edited by palerider116; 05-05-2013 at 01:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider116 View Post
    Morality is relative and subjective at best. It can modified and changed to meet the needs or wants of society. There is no universal morality that is innate to mankind.

    Religion establishes a baseline of morality consistent with its beliefs or practices. You will be hard pressed to find any religious text that does not codify its version of morality.

    Arguing morality is absolute because its simply right is a poor argument.

    That being said, my religious beliefs establishes my baseline for morality.
    The scientific community would disagree with you. All humans share an innate sense of morality regardless of their religion, race, place of birth, or upbringing. It's part of evolution.

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    Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

    Quote Originally Posted by ADobbs1989 View Post
    The scientific community would disagree with you. All humans share an innate sense of morality regardless of their religion, race, place of birth, or upbringing. It's part of evolution.
    They can disagree then. There is no way to eliminate any possibility of a system of morality being learned to prove this assertion. You would have to isolate from all human interaction several infants at birth and let them grow up together to test this theory of an innate sense of morality. No other human interaction could be tolerated. Contamination would skew the results.

    As for the theory of evolution, it can be lumped into the same trash heap as this innate morality. Neither pass the scientific method of testing a hypothesis.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    I thought the OP was about religion and the military...
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    Apparently everybody who has their knickers in a twist (clockwise or counter-clockwise) has forgotten that the First Amendment protects us from religion - in the sense of a state-sanctioned religion. It gives us the freedom to choose a religion, or no religion, without consequence from the state.

    There is a very subtle distinction between coercing one to join a specific religion/hold a specific religious belief and forcing one to participate in the religious practices of a specific religion against one's will. Consider the various invocations of a request for blessings and prosperity for the undertakings of a group. Directing those requests to some amorphous Higher Being is IMHO fairly innocuous as it could well include <begin non-exhaustive list> Cluthulu or The Flying Spaghetti Monster as well as Vishnu or Odin or the stereotypical Judeo-Christian "God". But when the government agent making those supplications directs them specifically towards one god/diety, as opposed to all possible candidates, it crosses the line. The worst example of that is when the government agent waits until the end of the supplication to spriing on the audience that they have been directing their thoughts towards one specific god/diety. The person asked to perform the supplication rite is usually associated very clearly with one or another religion, but when acting as the government agent in charge of seeking blessings they have no business, IMHO, in catching me up in their specific rites.

    When a government agent starts actively seeking to cause an individual to select his brand of religion, as opposed to being available to those who have already made up their minds and to those who express a curiosity, the line drawn by the First Amendment has been crossed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider116 View Post
    They can disagree then. There is no way to eliminate any possibility of a system of morality being learned to prove this assertion. You would have to isolate from all human interaction several infants at birth and let them grow up together to test this theory of an innate sense of morality. No other human interaction could be tolerated. Contamination would skew the results.

    As for the theory of evolution, it can be lumped into the same trash heap as this innate morality. Neither pass the scientific method of testing a hypothesis.
    Funny how it's a Theory, which means it passed the hypothesis stage with gold stars. However, your view actually does fit the definition of a hypothesis. You want to spout your ideas as facts, then dismiss facts as ideas. No wonder this country is so upside down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/05/0...proselytizing/

    Did the Pentagon bar Christians from talking about their faith while serving in the military? Not exactly, but a new push to aggressively stop proselytizing has chaplains nervous, according to the Deseret News:
    I would take anything reported by Deseret news regarding government and religion with a grain of salt, if not automatically assuming the truth is the opposite of what is reported there.

    There's plenty of historical justification/explanation for that perspective on government vs. religion, but that doesn't render it any less biased or subjective.

    I always find it amusing, btw, when folks seem paranoid about the US government restricting Christians' religious freedoms. That's a pretty good indicator of their ability to look outside the biases spoon fed them by those who would treat them as another useful idiot. That is to say, it's completely ridiculous on its face. The US government is disproportionately helmed by Christians (or, if not disproportionately, at least to the point of hegemony).

    Quote Originally Posted by joanie View Post
    According to infowars.com, it's an outright ban on religion while on duty. My take, they plan on sending military into citys in America where some police might refuse to kill people in mass. They don't want their soldiers having any morals, inclined to do the right thing, to follow a higher God than the government.
    Right, because

    A: infowars is a reliable source

    and

    B: There is any correlation at all with religiosity and morality.

    Last edited by marshaul; 05-05-2013 at 05:23 PM.

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    1. The basis of morality can be any number of things, to include religion of one persuasion or the other.
    2. Morality is learned. If you have ever been a father or mother, you know, from observation, that children are amoral little wretches at best until they are taught better. More proof of this may be obtained by looking at some of our up-and-coming young "celebrities".
    3. In a military career started in 1961 and ending in 1991, I never had a chaplain or another soldier attempt to actively proselytize me or anyone else. I did have soldiers who would openly discuss their beliefs, but only if asked.
    4. In my experience, those soldiers who changed from one religious belief system to another were inspired by either the example of a fellow soldier or the example of a chaplain. Notice that I said, "by the example" and not "by the words".

    An anecdote told concerning the campaign on Guadalcanal during WWII concerned a Protestant chaplain going to Major Lewis B. Puller and asking him to put out an order forbidding the Protestant Marines from converting to Catholicism. Major Puller, in his inimitable growl, said, "Chaplain, when I see you up on the front lines with my Marines as I see the Catholic chaplain, I might consider it." Nothing more was ever heard of that request.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    1. The basis of morality can be any number of things, to include religion of one persuasion or the other.
    I agree. Christians may be moral, but they may be immoral. Same with atheists, to the point that removing Christians will have precisely zero effect on the willingness of an army to act immorally. You'd have to remove all the moral people, and religiosity isn't a good criterion upon which to achieve that end.

    2. Morality is learned. If you have ever been a father or mother, you know, from observation, that children are amoral little wretches at best until they are taught better. More proof of this may be obtained by looking at some of our up-and-coming young "celebrities".
    I disagree. You're not teaching morality, per se. What you are teaching are values. Many folks confuse the two. Views on the "morality" of guns, drugs, corporations, whatever – these are values. I believe that only aggression is truly immoral, and that this is a biologically-driven constant of near-universiality (sociopaths and the like excepted), with the caveat that values can affect how one sees aggression in their world.

    More importantly, empathy is the key to human social cooperation, and moral behavior. Empathy is what sociopaths lack into adulthood. And empathy is precisely what children lack which renders them so seemingly immoral. Empathy is, I believe, partially learned, and partially a result of increasing awareness of the world outside oneself (something children notoriously lack).
    Last edited by marshaul; 05-05-2013 at 10:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    2. Morality is learned. If you have ever been a father or mother, you know, from observation, that children are amoral little wretches at best until they are taught better. More proof of this may be obtained by looking at some of our up-and-coming young "celebrities".
    As has been stated you are not teaching MORALS, as much as you are teaching socially accepted behavior. Those are two different things, and if you would like to say that religion can play a part in teaching socially acceptable behaviors and values then I'll agree with you, but it's not morals. Just because someone doesn't share the same "christian value system" that you do doesn't mean they aren't moral, it means they don't share the same values that you find important. Every study I have seen shows a nearly 100% completely universal connection between all people when it comes to questions of pure morality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tess View Post
    That was my observation as well, though I've been retired for a while.

    My only issue was they wouldn't put "NONE" on my dog tags as religion. I didn't want "atheist", I wanted "NONE" (I recognize lots of gods and worship none). (I think they'll do that now.) In protest, I wrote PROTESTANT - as I was protesting the requirement to list a religion.
    I had NRP on my dog tags.

    Anyway, 20 years a Navy man and not once did any Chaplin or Lay Leader, had Lay Leaders on subs, attempt to change or push anything. Every Sunday morning underway or in port the mess decks were cleared for religious services. If no one showed up for services.....start the movie.

    We had three Lay Leaders, Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic. We likely would have had a Muslim if there was a need for one.

    There are no atheists in a fox hole.
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    Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

    Quote Originally Posted by ADobbs1989 View Post
    Funny how it's a Theory, which means it passed the hypothesis stage with gold stars. However, your view actually does fit the definition of a hypothesis. You want to spout your ideas as facts, then dismiss facts as ideas. No wonder this country is so upside down.
    Well Mr. Bill Nye the science guy, your innate morality is upside down.

    You asserted man is inherently moral by natural means of evolution. You argue for some universal standard that evolved over time and is hard wired into the human brain. How did this standard even get programmed in the mind and what determined certain things to be moral?

    We must have a society of improperly wired people.

    I suppose kids are born with an innate belief in Santa Claus. Evolution should have programmed that by now.

    I stated mankind is amoral until taught some system of belief. A person can be then defined as moral or immoral according to that system or by other systems.

    Morality is not a universal standard. Until you can prove it to be a law of nature, then do not push this innate morality nonsense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider116 View Post

    I suppose kids are born with an innate belief in Santa Claus. .
    NORAD tracks Santa every year -- just so that they don't accidentally try to shoot him down. What source is more reliable than NORAD, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider116 View Post
    You asserted man is inherently moral by natural means of evolution. You argue for some universal standard that evolved over time and is hard wired into the human brain. How did this standard even get programmed in the mind and what determined certain things to be moral?
    Man has evolved to find discomfort in seeing members of his own tribe aggressed against. This has obvious evolutionary benefits at the individual and species level. The drive to prevent harm to one's family and friends is instinctive.

    Go ahead. Tell me it's not. Tell me you'd have to make a conscious application of experience-based decision-making before deciding to (say) save your son's life.

    Morality is not a universal standard. Until you can prove it to be a law of nature, then do not push this innate morality nonsense.
    Until you can prove morality to be a product of nurture, then do not push this learned/taught morality nonsense.

    I win.
    Last edited by marshaul; 05-06-2013 at 10:49 AM.

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    I served for about thirty five years in the Military (Navy, Army) and never, I say again, Never saw forced religion. I did see forced football on a drill weekend with the Arkansas Nat'l Guard.
    When I was assigned to an Engineer unit in Vicksburg MS we had a Chaplain(Col) assigned to the unit. Being Vicksburg, he was a Southern Baptist. He put on a rousing, generic, service. One day we had a "meet your neighbors" event where a rep from each religion with personnel in the unit set up an "information table". This allowed other, interested Soldiers to share views on their free time that day. Most of the major religions were represented, to include Atheists and Pagans. It worked out very well and did not interfere with Unit Operations that day. I was a lay leader in the unit, sanctioned by Chaplain and Command.
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    Has anyone been pushed to change religions while in the military

    Morality is a perspective more than a set standard of rules. The only thing that separates us from other species is being self-aware and having an evolved communication. The primal side is still there however dormant. By perspective I mean we look outside ourselves for what society deems ok and that becomes the &quot;morality&quot; we follow. It's mutually beneficial to live amoung others vs alone.

    Morality is objective(not subjective) and varies region to region based on social acceptance. While many civilized areas vary minimally there are some areas where extreme differences take place(though it is often from theological differences). Take the difference between any US area vs a place like Papua New Guinea( http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/20...-alive-papua-/ ) where people are still burned at the stake for "whichcraft".

    What I'm getting at is based on where you are the moral standard differs. We all agree to live near one another for societal gains. In doing so we have learned to protect those around us in our immediate family/tribe and sometimes larger groups. Those who go against the common good are dealt with. Here in the US that may mean jail time. In other areas of the world it could mean nothing or it could mean death.
    Last edited by Sorcice; 05-06-2013 at 12:45 PM.

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