Creationism: The Latest In Military Suicide Prevention
Chris Rodda printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 11:09:14 AM EST
Here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), we get countless complaints about religiously based mental health and counseling programs, which, over the past few years, have been systematically replacing proven psychological and medical approaches to a multitude of issues faced by military personnel. I've seen so many truly insane, not to mention blatantly unconstitutional, ways that the military is playing with the mental well being of our troops since I began working for MRFF that I really didn't think it was possible for me to be surprised by anything anymore. Then I was sent a PowerPoint presentation by an airman at RAF Lakenheath, the largest U.S. Air Force base in England. On the MRFF scale of classifying by various expletives the egregiousness level of things that are reported to us -- "holy crap," "holy shit," and "holy f..." -- this one, promoting creationism as a means of preventing suicide among our military personnel, was definitely a "holy f..."

In March 2008, this presentation, titled "A New Approach To Suicide Prevention: Developing Purpose-Driven Airmen," was shown at a commander's call that was mandatory for an estimated 1,000 of Lakenheath's Air Force personnel, and sent out by email to the entire base of over 5,000 the following day. As the use of the phrase "Purpose-Driven" in its title implies, also incorporated into this presentation is the wisdom of presidential candidate inquisitor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, a book that, second only to the Bible itself, is the most heavily promoted religious book in the military.

Following a slide stating, "Dr. Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, provides a powerful model for Suicide Prevention, developing leaders, and making troops combat ready and effective," the author of the presentation, Air Force chaplain Capt. Christian Biscotti, brings up Charles Darwin for the first time in defining what he calls "3 Levels of Purpose."

USAF PowerPoint slide 10

On one of the next slides, Capt. Biscotti states that if we don't know where we came from we are lost, and that knowing where we come from is the origin of hope. This is followed by a slide comparing "Chance" and "Design," a.k.a. evolution and creationism.

USAF PowerPoint slide 14

And, why not work a little religious nationalism into this "suicide prevention" presentation? (I'm still trying to figure out how Capt. Biscotti came up with the notion that Charles Darwin was a leader of the former Soviet Union.)

USAF PowerPoint slide 15

Another segment of Capt. Biscotti's presentation, titled "FAITH is Foremost," contains three stories -- his own personal story, the story of the woman who made the news a few years back by talking her way out of a hostage situation by reading to her captor from The Purpose Driven Life, and, incredibly inappropriately for a presentation promoting religion, the story of Pat Tillman. I'm sure everyone remembers Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich's outrageous remarks that Tillman's parents' dissatisfaction with the investigation of their son's death was caused by their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, saying in an ESPN.com interview, "When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more -- that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough." I'm fairly certain that the Tillmans would not be very happy to find out that their son is now being used as an example in a presentation promoting religion to the military.

The presentation ends by asking the viewer to receive their first tool, which is to "Impart Faith."

USAF PowerPoint slide 35

According to MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein, "The shocking discovery of this hideously unconstitutional, mandatory, military PowerPoint presentation, which is essentially coterminous with Rick Warren's sectarian Purpose Driven Life, takes the quintessential cake as far as magnitude of odiousness of illegality is concerned. Indeed, it is arguably not only the most prominent example in MRFF's current Federal lawsuit against the DoD of the 'pervasive and pernicious pattern and practice' of unconstitutional rape of the religious freedoms of our honorable armed forces members, but an example of the reckless substitution of religious ideology for the real professional help that could save the life of a member of our armed forces considering suicide. Bertrand Russell once sagaciously opined that very few people can be happy without hating another person, nation or creed. This 'Purpose-Driven Airmen' mandatory presentation is the epitome of military-sanctioned 'hatred of the other' and those commanding its viewing must face trial by General Courts Martial."

The entire "Purpose-Driven Airmen" PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here.




Display:
This crap will ADD to the suicide problem, and make morale worse.

I don't know if there is research showing a link between fundamentalist/dominionist ideologies and suicide and or suicidal thoughts, but I'd bet that there is a strong one.

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 04:34:36 PM EST


Yet again, the lack of intentionality that the entire military structure has regarding the brokenness that so many of our combat veterans suffer in the days, weeks, months, and years after their experiences is manifest in this pathetic attempt to "prevent" suicide. Kudos to the MRFF for the hard work and let's all make sure to speak up at www.change.gov to let the new administration know that both issues - the abuse of power by dominionist Christians in the military and the appalling lack of professional, ethical mental health care services for our military veterans - are important to us.

by RevRuthUCC on Sun Nov 30, 2008 at 10:03:44 PM EST

What does the symbol on the upper left hand corner of those pictures say?

I can't make it out- and it's got me curious.


by ArchaeoBob on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 12:23:10 AM EST

This was an official "Headquarters Third Air Force" presentation, so it has the insignia on every slide.

by Chris Rodda on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 11:01:51 AM EST
Parent


I mean, see how Capt. Biscotti gives a nod to "a majority of world religions" in that one slide?  I'm surprised a graduate of Regent would allow himself such an indiscretion.  That kind of multiculturalism would not fly at Regent.

by brother maynard on Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 02:21:57 PM EST

I'm Catholic in religion, but even I've grown to be ignorant in religious issues. Some things I find are ridiculous. That's partially the reason why I can describe teachings as pointless. However, people who have lost their way need some way to get back up. People who already have a stable life can keep on moving and be comfortable about who they are. The thing about learning is that we don't have to believe in everything we are taught. W can choose what is right and what is wrong.
Suicide Prevention in Your Life

by SherwinJTB on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 02:05:21 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


On Christmas Day, in the Morning
In recent years at Christmastime, I have posted a response to the preposterous-but-malevolent claims broadcast on Fox News and elsewhere that there is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Hallelujah, Mike Huckabee, Hallelujah
Fox News personality Mike Huckabee had a defining moment in the wake of the Newtown massacre. One that as we enter the 2016 presidential......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Moses And Michele: Departing Member Of Congress Spreads More Misinformation
The Religious Right's Moses fixation continues to grow.As you might recall, the Texas State Board of Education recently demanded social studies textbooks that highlight......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Christian Right Silent about Bob Jones U Sex Abuse Report
One of the deep scandals of our time, and apparently times past, is that sex abuse, particularly of children, has been so tolerated and......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Boot These Bigoted Bans: Movement Seeks To Remove Anti-Atheist Bias From State Constitutions
Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
James Madison and Tax-Supported Chaplains
In light of former Sen. Rick Santorum's recent silly declaration that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution,......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Death to Obama; Death to "Homos"; What's Next?
When the Obama administration was young, threats against the president were common, and sometimes quite public. One notorious such incident was that of Rev.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Rick Scarborough's America
When Stand Up Sunday was convened by Mike Huckabee in Houston it was to feature the leading spokesmen for the Religious Right agenda.  The......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
The Republican Diversity Program... Is Working
I don't usually write directly about electoral politics, but sometimes I bring an outsider's perspective to how the inside looks to some of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
American Christian Right Leaders in Rome
The remarkable and growing alliance between conservative Catholicism and protestant evangelicalism was on prominent display at a recent event at the Vatican. My colleague......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Religious Supremacism on the Rise Against Marriage Equality
This is a crosspost of an op-ed I recently published at LGBTQ Nation.  -- FC Christian right undermines marriage equality with religious supremacism FREDERICK......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Author of Loathing Lincoln Explains Why Some on the Christian Right Loathe Lincoln
One under-reported result of the 2014 elections was the rise of Neo-Confederate politics in the U.S. This included the election of unabashed apologist for......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
A Catholic Theocracy Grows in Florida
Catholic Right pizza mogul Tom Monaghan and his Ave Maria School of Law are back in the news.  Journalist Eleanor Bader has a new......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion
A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.The proposal put forth by the......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
I Stand Sunday Part 2
I Stand Sunday took place in Houston, Nov. 2, 2014, motivated by the cities' mayor who subpoenaed sermons from local pastors.  The host church......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)

Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.