A retired military chaplain is concerned about a new Marine
training course that begins today that incorporates Buddhist
The Associated Press
reported on Monday that the U.S. Marine Corps is studying how
to make its troops even tougher through meditative practices,
yoga-type stretching, and exercises based on "mindfulness" -- a
Buddhist-inspired concept that emphasizes active attention on the
moment to keep the mind in the present.
to the report, the military has been searching for ways to deal
with a record suicide rate and thousands of veterans seeking
treatment for post-traumatic stress. Marine Corps officials say
they will build a curriculum that would integrate these Buddhist
techniques if the eight-week experiment at Camp Pendleton yields
Brigadier General Douglas Lee (Ret.) is a former Army chaplain
and a founding member of the Chaplain Alliance For Religious
Liberty. He says the military is desperate to find a solution to
the suicide problem.
"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," he tells OneNewsNow. "So they're
desperate to find some way to reduce the suicide rate."
But Lee is concerned that these Buddhist teachings could become
mandatory. "If that were the case that would be a big, big
problem," he says, "because you can't require somebody to be
participating in a religious act."
Groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the
Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been silent thus far.
But Lee contends those groups would be complaining loudly if the
Camp Pendleton class incorporated Christian practices.