Marines to Try Out Buddhist Mindfulness, Critics Stay Silent
Update: Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt says the Marines should be considering Christianity, not Buddhism:
“I think getting rid of anxiety is important. We need to decrease the suicide rate among our Marines,” he agrees. “But Buddhism is not the way to do that. I think Christianity is intellectually a better way to promote healthy mental awareness.”
Like Chaplain Lee, Klingenschmitt wonders where the normally vociferous critic Michael Weinstein is right now [emphasis added]:
Klingenschmitt wonders why Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has not complained about this.
“He ought to be up in arms about Buddhism being forced on our Marines, but he’s pretty silent on this because he’s really not interested in freedom of religion; instead he’s interested in silencing Christianity,” the former chaplain reasons. “So his deaf silence about this Buddhism issue proves that he’s a hypocrite.”
The Associated Press finally picked up the story discussed earlier about an early December announcement the US Marines were experimenting with “mindfulness,” or “Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training” based in some parts on eastern religions.
Marine Corps officials say they will build a curriculum that would integrate mindfulness-based techniques into their training if they see positive results from a pilot project. Mindfulness is a Buddhist-inspired concept that emphasizes active attention on the moment to keep the mind in the present…
“Some people might say these are Eastern-based religious practices but this goes way beyond that,” said Jeffery Bearor, the executive deputy of the Marine Corps training and education command at its headquarters in Quantico, Va.. “This is not tied to any religious practice. This is about mental preparation to better handle stress.”…
The goal is noble, even if it seeks to minimize the inherently religious aspects of the very objectives they are pursuing. Faith — including, notably, the Christian faith — has long been thought to play an important role in an individual’s dealings with stress.
Perhaps someday the government will be able to publicly acknowledge the value of religious faith — and thus encourage such faith among US servicemembers. For now, retired Chaplain (BrigGen) Douglas Lee said Christianity is so stigmatized the military is desperately looking for ways to fight stress and suicide — even to religions other than the hope that can be found in Christianity.
“I personally believe that part of the problem is that because of the attacks on traditional Christianity and Judeo-Christian values, the course guys are struggling because they don’t see anybody talking about hope…So they’re desperate to find some way to reduce the suicide rate.”
Lee also noted it was no small irony that people like Michael Weinstein and the Freedom From Religion Foundation have had nothing to say about the military borrowing aspects of religion — so long as it isn’t Christianity:
Lee contends those groups would be complaining loudly if the Camp Pendleton class incorporated Christian practices.
He’s right. Weinstein normally has a vitriolic list of alliterative adjectives when the military so much as glances in the direction of Christianity. But he’s probably all for government-endorsed religious elements if they undermine the plans of the super-secret Christian Triumvirate shadow government trying to take over the world.
(The MRFF discovered their plans for a secret underground bunker, so they’ve had to change their headquarters. Rumor has it they favor chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.)
Also at the Washington Post.