The Army is under great pressure to ensure the mental well being of its troops. Every time a soldier commits suicide, or otherwise succumbs to the great mental strains placed upon troops in combat, the Army suffers, both directly, and in a public relations sense. Accordingly, the Army took a look at what works and what doesn’t to help soldiers cope with the stress of combat. Not surprisingly, they found that those soldiers with a strong spiritual background coped best.
Multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll on soldiers: Witness the rise in suicides and other stress-related disorders. A few years ago, the Army noticed that some soldiers fared better than others, and it wondered: Why?
“Researchers have found that spiritual people have decreased odds of attempting suicide, and that spiritual fitness has a positive impact on quality of life, on coping and on mental health,” says Cornum, who is director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.
Building on that foundation, the Army instituted a survey to get a feel for the spiritual strength of its soldiers. But some soldiers think the survey, and especially the recommendations the survey makes to soldiers and tools it offers them, crosses a line into proselytizing. And I’ll admit, it comes fairly close, even if I don’t think it reaches that point.
SGT Griffiths, mentioned in the article, strikes me as something of a whiner. But I am sympathetic to concerns that there are folks that would pressure troops to participate in religion when they would otherwise choose not to.