Air Force Campaign Aims to Bring Faith Back to the Force

“Spiritually strong Airmen…tend to be strong assets to their units and commanders.”

An article out of Robins AFB, Georgia, highlighted an Air Force campaign called Faith Works, which focuses on “Freedom, faith, and ministry.” Amazingly enough, it promotes the virtue of religion — based on science [emphasis added]:

The campaign, Faith Works, is based on a body of research demonstrating the positive effects religion and spirituality can have on improving health in every domain…Faith Works offers a new perspective on an old technique, focusing on the tangible, earth-bound benefits associated with developing and practicing a strong faith, religion or spirituality…

Dr. Tyler VanderWeele…and Dr. Harold Koenig…have identified physical evidence linking the practice of faith and religion to individual resiliency.

[Their] research shows that Americans who attend religious services at least once a week have a 20 percent to 30 percent reduced mortality rate over a 15-year period. In terms of mental health, regular church-goers also demonstrate more optimism and lower rates of depression.

It is a fascinating — and bold — initiative that was led off by Air Force Chief of Chaplains (MGen) Dondi Costin last December. Its stated goals aren’t far from what as previously been noted here: There is virtue in religious faith, and the US military need not avoid religion in an attempt to avoid offending someone. If the military ignores — or stigmatizes — faith, the military institution (and the troops within it) lose access to the long-recognized benefits of religious faith.

The program directly addresses the “stigma” inappropriately attached to religious faith (something that has likely been an intended outcome of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s campaigns). It explicitly aims to eliminate that stigma to bring religion back into normal conversation:

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Danford…explained that discussing faith-centric issues via scientifically supported evidence removes much of the stigma surrounding discussions about religion. This allows the chaplain corps to engage with Airmen who may be more skeptical of religion and helps leaders and decision-makers understand the importance of the chaplaincy, especially in matters of resiliency.

This reflects much of what Chaplain Costin said earlier this year, when he explained that part of the purpose of the Faith Works campaign was to bring the conversation about religion out of the shadows and back into the every day life of the Air Force [emphasis added]:

[Faith Works] help the Air Force restore a sane conversation about religion and faith to our discussion. Too many people are afraid to talk about faith because they think its a negative when in fact it isn’t…

Whether you’re a person of faith or no faith, whether you’re a person who has a religion or doesn’t, we think that a healthy conversation about the benefits — or potential benefits, even — of faith and religion and spirituality on health is a good thing for all Airmen.

Faith does Work — and that is particularly true to the men and women who serve in the US military. Whether it is recovery from traumatic experiences seen in the service of their country or “mere” spiritual resilience, there is value in religious faith — and there is nothing wrong with the US military recognizing and supporting that.

In the words of Chaplain (MGen) Costin, spiritually-fit Airmen help the Air Force fly, fight, and win.

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7 comments

  • Anonymous Imperial Patriot

    Oh, MGen Costin’s career will end soon.

    LtGen Jay Silveria’s recent viral video is going to be twisted around to make it seem like the mere existence of Christianity in the Air Force is a threat to “people of color and different sexual orientations”.

    Mark my words, this isn’t going to sit over well with the anti-Christian bigots that control the media and academia.

    • AIP, your comments are almost alway ridiculous. Christianity IS a threat to sexual orientation (other than man/woman)…by design. I’ve not known Christianity to be a threat to people of color, I personally know different colored christians and they are just fine, happy and most are not particularly interested in bringing their faith/religious practices to work.

      MGen Costin’s career is pretty safe too, he’s doing his job. I doubt the Faith Works program is really much benefit to the USAF, the troops already get too much pillars & resiliency [briefings] they can stand (their words).

      From my experience, people of faith, and in the Military, prefer to be left alone and their faith is a personal matter they discuss with friends and family on their own time.

      LtGen Jay Silveria is an awesome person and my hats off to him for dealing with the little chumps that are disrespectful.

  • Anonymous Imperial Patriot

    Watchtower,

    I doubt you will read this because the “Reply” tab isn’t under your post.

    TRUTH often sounds ridiculous to people fattened-up on a diet of lies.

    Second of all Christianity is NOT a threat to sexual orientation; the LGBT movement is a mish-mash of hate-mongering bigots who attack Christians for no reason other than they think they have a right to. They drew first blood, not us. It was the homosexual Romans who systematically killed Christians until God intervened in the 4th Century.

    Second of all, you are deluded if you think that MGen Costin’s career isn’t in danger. Remember Chaplain Modder? All he had was a Bible-verse on his desk; I can’t begin to imagine what the leftist hate-industry is going to do to an officer who overtly promotes the Truth of the Gospel.

    • Sorry AIP, I didn’t know the “reply” option was for me to select on JD’s blog, I thought he did that..

      Anyway, I have to disagree that the LGBT movement is a mish-mash of hate-mongering bigots, I know several christian LGB (no trans) people who do not have a hateful bone in their body. In my opinion its not hate, but disagreement, and there is a big difference. People who disagree often say and do things they later regret, they are only human. The 4th century was a long time ago and it’s unlikely we can know what really happened.

      What happened to Chaplain Modder appears to be an unfortunate error and the Navy has reinstated him according to news. I do not see a related situation to him and MGen Costin at all, unless you personally lump all christain related

      You may want to rethink your TRUTH position; it is your opinion and the truth is for me to decided, just like everyone else.

    • @watchtower

      What happened to Chaplain Modder appears to be an unfortunate error…

      Error? You’re kidding, right? A homosexual intentionally targeted him. He asked Modder questions for the sole purpose of having him state his religious position on homosexuality so he could then file complaints against him because of it. Modder’s commander tried to discharge him, and it took 6 months and a Navy Admiral to overrule him. All because a chaplain stated his religious beliefs on sexuality.

      Regardless of your beliefs about homosexuality, if you support religious liberty and its protection by the US Constitution, surely you can see that’s a pretty despicable thing to do — especially when it was a fellow Sailor who did it.

      You can read the beginning of the story here and the end, six months later, here.

  • I see JD. After reading ALL of the material I could find, especially from your webpages, there is another side to the story not so loudly reported…it seems CAPT Fahs’ then-immediate commander and Admiral John Richardson were also a BIG part of Chaplain Modder’s troubles. Big Navy share’s the blame too for not training their commanders and senior leadership on religious liberty.

    BL: You are right JD, a pretty despicable thing to do, from Lt(jg), Commander, Senior Leadership, and the Navy. Guess it’s not all about homosexuality after all, and a serious injustice to Chaplain Modder.

    What will happen to those who violated Chaplain Modder’s religious liberty?

  • William Robinson

    They’ll be promoted, retire at lofty ranks, get high-paying defense jobs after retiring, and be asked to join MRFF’s board as a result of their shenanigans.

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