Monday, May 27, 2013

Military Counseling

Freedom. That’s what we celebrate on Memorial Day—the countless lives that have been laid down by courageous service men and women to preserve our rights and liberties. However, these very freedoms are under attack within the U.S. military. Think of it—those who daily put their lives on the line for our freedoms are now being robbed of religious liberty.

Did you know that Christian evangelism is in the process of being outlawed in military settings? That soldiers and chaplains could be prosecuted and even face potential court martial for sharing the hope and healing found in Christ? Last month, the Pentagon released the following statement: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”

Another news report confirms: “Any soldier who professes Christianity can now be court-martialed and may face imprisonment and a dishonorable discharge from the military.”

But faith matters in mental health. Prayer, church attendance, and Christian spirituality play a pivotal role in helping service men and women find hope and healing in the midst of mental and behavioral health challenges. Time and time again, research has shown that faith makes a dramatic difference in promoting both mental and physical health. Dr. Harold Koenig’s work with the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University Medical Center is just one example.

Somewhere along the way, the military is missing this. And the cost? At least eight lives every day, as suicide rates continue to rise.

[from American Association of Christian Counselors by lcaptari]