No God, no Mantra? You’d flunk Army’s ‘spiritual fitness’ test
Excerpted from article in USA TODAY, Jan 13, 2011
You don’t pray or meditate. You’re among the “Nones” — folks who claim no religion, and maybe you shrug off spirituality, too.
So you might flunk the five spiritual questions on the U.S. Army’s current well-being assessment survey for soldiers. Already, one church-state watchdog, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein is having a constitutional fit over their inclusion in a battery of questions to measure a soldier’s resilience. Is he or she fit to fight for inner peace?
One self-described “Foxhole Atheist”, Justin Griffith, a sergeant at Fort Bragg, N.C., checked out 100% un-spiritual. When he submitted the computerized survey, the auto-response came back:
Spiritual fitness may be an area of difficulty… You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and to others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles and values…Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal.
Weinstein, a former Air Force lawyer who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says he has 220 soldiers ready to sue if the survey doesn’t drop those questions. Weinstein has been embroiled in years of battles with the military over what he perceives as an evangelical invasion of the armed forces.