US Marines Emphasize Spiritual Fitness
From the US Marine Corps [emphasis added]:
Fitness is a vital part of being a United States Marine. Although we all understand the importance of being physically fit, it is also important to remember the other three aspects of overall fitness: spiritual, mental, and social. All of these aspects are essential to the well-being of each individual Marine and Sailor, and our Corps as a whole…
Research indicates that spiritual fitness plays a key role in resiliency, in our ability to grow, develop, recover, heal, and adapt. Regardless of individual philosophy or beliefs, spiritual well-being makes us better warriors and people of character capable of making good choices on and off duty…
By attending to spiritual fitness with the same rigor given to physical, social and mental fitness, Marines and Sailors can become and remain the honorable warriors and model citizens our Nation expects…
Semper Fidelis, Robert B. Neller, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps
That is a well-written and nobly-intentioned effort on the part of the Corps to address the resilience of their Marines. (It’s also consistent with what the US Army and US Air Force have been doing for years, with the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and Comprehensive Airman Fitness).
And it has already drawn attacks, with Michael “Mikey” Weinstein apparently thinking the US Marine Corps is using code words for converting every Marine to Christianity:
“This is nothing more than a Trojan Horse for fundamentalist Christians to proselytize to a captive audience,” Weinstein said.
While atheists and anti-religion critics may not like the word “spiritual”, there can be no doubt the spiritual component of each person does play into their ability to handle conflict, bounce back from failure or hardship, and visualize themselves as part of a larger whole. The Marine Corps has no business forcing specific religious beliefs on anyone — and they’re not. They’re not even forcing religion on anyone. They’re just encouraging their Marines to recognize and strengthen their “spiritual” well-being — and the Marines’ motive is entirely selfish.
The US Marines don’t want you to be spiritually fit so you go to heaven.
They want you spiritually fit because it “makes us better warriors.”
That seems a pretty secular purpose if ever there was one.