Fundamentalist Agnostic Wrote Army’s “Spiritual Fitness Test”

Michael Weinstein has been in the media recently claiming that the US Army’s Global Assessment Tool (previously discussed), which helps Soldiers self-assess their emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness is actually a tool created to enable Christians to take over the military.

[This] imperious fascistic contagion of this fundamentalist Christian tsunami that is sweeping through the military. And this Soldier Fitness test is just the camel’s nose under the tent.

Weinstein is sure fundamentalist Christians are behind the implementation of the Spiritual Fitness test. “There is absolutely no doubt where this is coming from,” he said. “We smell this disgusting stench over and over again.”

Apparently, the “stench,” which Weinstein previously said was like “10,000 rotting swine,” is spreading to non-Christians.  According to the report, the person who oversaw the creation of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program (there’s not actually an individual “Spiritual Fitness Test”) is agnostic, and even now defends the value of the program: 

Christopher Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and was the person who chaired the group of experts that assembled the test. The process was collaborative, drawing on psychological research from many sources and many people — including the five categories taken from the World Health Organization…

“The army is trying to measure if the soldier has meaning and purpose in life,” Peterson said. “You can’t call it ‘Meaning and Purpose Fitness’ because that an awkward phrase — but that is what it is all about: ‘Do you see yourself and your mission in the Army as serving some purpose larger than yourself?’ That’s all it means.”

Peterson said perhaps some statements in the test could be improved, but he doesn’t think that there should be a problem as it stands. “I call myself an agnostic,” Peterson said, “and I would score very high on the meaning and purpose items. It has nothing to do with religion.”…

If the test is part of an alleged pattern of abuse, as Weinstein says, by fundamentalist Christians, it is news to Peterson. “If there is this widespread conspiracy it is very hidden because I am not aware of it. I couldn’t even tell you the religious beliefs or not of the people of whom I’ve been working, but I strongly doubt there have been any fundamentalist Christians that have been involved in this. I could be wrong, I don’t know. It hasn’t come up.”

Weinstein admitted long ago he was going to “lay down a withering field of fire” and leave “sucking chest wounds.”  He founded his organization to fight “evangelical religious fundamentalists.”  Apparently he’s not upset by “collateral damage” to a self-described agnostic.  Quick to assign blame without regard to religious freedom or stereotyping, Weinstein sees a fundamentalist Christian conspiracy around every corner.  If nothing else, Peterson simply confirmed for Weinstein that the “widespread conspiracy…is very hidden,” which will no doubt motivate him all the more.