Is it time for a secular Armed Forces?

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by 2_deck_dash, Aug 3, 2013.

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  1. Yes. Religion has no place in the modern Armed Forces.

    8 vote(s)
  2. No. I'm happy with the current situation.

    10 vote(s)
  3. I truly couldn't give a ****.

    10 vote(s)
  1. Saturday morning debate, let's stir some shit up:

    Having a trawl through the RN website this morning and spotted this:

    Cornish beach baptism for Royal Navy recruits | Royal Navy

    Reading between the lines here, it would appear to me that the church has taken advantage of the fact these impressionable recruits are in a vulnerable situation and for want of a better word, 'brainwashed' them. This isn't a new thing either, when I went through Raleigh at least 4 lads from my entry also fully immersed themselves in religion.

    Now you're probably thinking "what a dickish thing to say, it's up to them to choose want they want to do."

    By and large I agree, however the lads I know of who took the bait were all very young, highly impressionable and if I'm entirely honest, a bit thick and below average in terms of performance compared to the rest of us. Early on at Sunday morning church, they were targeted by the God Squads as potential recruits, lured in with kindness and biscuits and the next thing we know they've suddenly found God. These were kids who didn't really bond well with the rest of the entry, obviously the social acceptance of being in the God gang would've been very welcome to them.

    This is a well known tactic employed by Christians to recruit new members to the fold, look at the Alpha Course as an example. People are invited along to a session, invariably those who are most impressionable, vulnerable and in need of acceptance within a social group, are the ones who choose to go. They are fed a meal and friendly faces tell them how amazing it is being a Christian. Over the run of the Alpha course the religious content is ramped up and the aim is to have a fully converted out of the box Christian at the end.

    All well and good, I've used similar techniques to sell guns to people in my old job. What we are looking at here however is religious doctrine being spouted as fact and rammed down the throats of military recruits. I believe it's time for change. Religion and more specifically the Anglican Church, has no place in the modern Armed Forces. Of course for those who are religious there should be the option on hand to practice that religion, I'm all for personal choice, however there should not under any circumstances be compulsory church services and RN sponsored religious brainwashing taking place. Let's be honest it is a small minority who actually practice religion in this country and an even smaller minority who practice it in the Armed Forces.

    The church is a completely outdated concept and in these austere times, employing and maintaining an entire branch of religious preachers to cater for a small minority is simply not cost effective. I would wager that a much higher proportion of the military follow football closer than they follow religion, yet we do not employ full time football analysts who's job it is to provide post match analysis and comfort to those who's team has lost.

    Lame example but it stands.

    Of course many will argue that padres provide a useful contact in times of grief and are a friendly face to talk to when dealing with welfare issues. I would argue the opposite. Many rational thinking people are actively put off sharing their problems and thoughts with the padre due to the religious overtones of his/her position. I know of one lad who took the death of his son particularly badly (as one would). Clearly he needed professional counselling. The mob's default reaction was "go and see the bish." Frankly the last thing this bloke needed was someone telling him it was God's will and that his son was in Heaven with Jesus.

    This part of the job could just as easily and more cost effectively be achieved by a mess or ship welfare rep, i.e. someone with a small amount of counselling/therapy training. If I'm having snags at home, the last person I wish to speak to is someone, who in my opinion, has quite a serious mental defect. If a civvy firm employed a priest as a welfare rep and had compulsory church services, they'd probably be taken to court for breaching someone's human rights or something. A counsellor needs to be completely impartial and non religious.

    So to conclude: Sack the bishes, it's time for the forces to embrace science and take into account the views of the majority of it's employees instead of a small (completely ****ing mental) minority.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    • Like Like x 5
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Reading the article, one cannot help but draw parallels with the phenomenal work carried out by the Church of Lloyds TSB & Barclays Banks at our new entry training establishments. They also report hundreds of converts miraculously wishing to open a bank account with them after the "financial advice" lecture. Good job they bring application forms, just in case.

    The above article, and the following recent article, makes one think the "PR machine" in HMS Raleigh needs "adjusting" with a sledgehammer or recruits will be completing training with PTSD before they even deploy operationally:

    An oppo of mine drew the wrath of one of our Bish's not so long ago by telling him he was talking utter bollocks in this day and age, now that peasants could now read, write & think for themselves. Turns out the Bish is expressly permitted to spin dits about miracles, resurrection, damnation and imaginary beings etc., because he outranks a careers adviser. That's what he told my oppo anyway, in a high-pitched, shouty, red-faced, decidedly un-Christian manner.

    Fair one. They certainly cost a lot more, so they get my vote.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Got to agree on the, no compulsory church service bit, a church and god botherer should be available for those who need it, but you shouldnt be forced to attend, religion to me is like drink, drugs,fags etc, taken in moderation it'll not do you too much harm, but overdose and you're in trouble.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Reading the article "Each recruit attended a six week course in their spare time to prepare for their baptism led by Sister Nikki." where the hell did they find time to attend a course during basic? Did pusser give them time to do this i.e. facilitate it?
  5. Two Jehovahs wintnesses knocked at a door and said that they would like to talk to him
    The man Invited them in and asked them to sit down.
    He then offerred them tea and biccies which they accepted.
    When the y had finished eating and drinling the manasked what they wanted to talk about.
    Feck knows said one we've never made it this far before:compress:
  6. It's easy to see how people taken out of their comfort zone would be susceptible to a group who accepted them with open arms etc but we wouldn't know whether they would have joined the church if they had joined the RN or not

    Totally agree that compulsory church service is wrong, and that there should be impartial counsellors available to people who need help on sensitive issues without religious overtones.
  7. A very thought provoking post 2DD, and sensitively put. Being raised as a Christian, church schools etc., I have never looked upon it as a brainwashing exercise before (except with JWs and their ilk), but you're quite right, catch 'em when they're young, unsure of themselves embarking on a new venture, and looking to please one and all, especially if the persuader is dressed as a NAVAL OFFICER backed by GOD, and you've got 'em.

    • Like Like x 3
  8. Religions seek to control the sexuality of their adherents. Clergy, by definition, by design, and by choice, are sexual deviants.

    It is beyond me why religions and the religious are given such widespread, automatic respect.

    Even more so in the armed forces, where killing is one of the prime reasons for their existence, while being against the tenets of most, if not all, religions.
  9. No.

    Quite simply because we are Her Majesty's Armed Forces, and she remains head of our Established Church. Until, and not before, the CoE ceases to be Established, we will remain a part of the Establishment.
  10. None of that's as bad as those un-elected 'pointy hatted crook twirlers' sitting in the H of L, it's time for state secularism.
  11. The Queen is also the head of Jamaica, doesn't mean we should all grow dreads and start smoking the reefa.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Exactly.....
  13. Serious question, what do the non Christian (Jewish, Moslem......) trainees do on a Sunday morning? When I was there anyone claiming to be atheist or agnostic was sent to Church of Scotland on Sundays, guess that wouldn't go down to well nowadays.
  14. It was Church of Jock when I went through too.

    After 45 minutes of hymns and prayers, we were allowed to watch 15 minutes of Sunday morning TV, so half a Simpsons episode.

    Praise the Lord.

    After a while I renounced my allegiance to the Holy Church of Jock and became a Roman Catholic, they got wine and had a couple of battered old guitars that you could play afterwards.

    What an utter waste of time.
  15. If recruits are in a strange and different environment therefore rendering themselves open to persuasion perhaps it is best that they are drawn to some thing such as religion rather than to something else less savoury.
  16. Quite.

    We serve in a modern and inclusive Armed Forces, where it's acceptable and encouraged to attend a gay pride march in rig or where a woman can command a ship. How on earth can we take seriously and actively endorse, an organisation that decries homosexuality and does not allow female bishops?
  17. They aren't drawn to religion, they are pushed into it. There is nothing unsavoury to get drawn into at Raleigh except religion.

    The mob would be far better served using Sunday mornings for sport, team building and additional instruction in subjects that will actually help the recruits progress through their careers. An extra couple of hours a week in Defence and Political Studies or some time doing sport would've been very welcome over dull brainwashing when I went through Raleigh.
  18. I haven't been to raleigh yet so i can't comment on it's relevance to the navy which i guess it's what the thread is about but oh well :D i am not religious in the slightest but i have occassionally found solace in a church environment during times of hardship for various reasons. I went on christian camp when i was younger which was in the guise of a youth camp and that incorporated religious services heavily, as did brownie camp. The latter was just down to drawing on traditions of olde and the former was as it was run by a religious organisations. Many people did 'convert' whilst away as we were young, away from home for the first time etc- but no real harm was done. People either twiddled their thumbs (not literally as that warranted a telling off), some listened intently and took the words on board and others just took comfort in being in a safe environment where they had time to reflect personally. Some that did get enveloped into religion had no harm done as they realised with time it wasnt a genuine belief they held they just didn't tread that path any further with no internal conflicts as they didnt believe, thus feared no reprecussions. As long as it isn't detrimental to other things during training i am quite looking forward to sunday services- a time and a space to reflect and have an escape of sorts from the trials of basic. I have always found clergymen accepting and warm individuals, just as the bible says some things ain't right and the establishment is in the dark ages in many ways, it does take a certain type of person to dedicate their lives to what they believe to be the 'greater good' even if those ideas aren't shared (i know there are some baddies out there but ridiculous to tarnish them all the same). As said i am not religious, to be honest after living in pompey for a few years not sure i am welcome in a church but still...i assume there is some tradition to it as well? I know not all traditions are good etc, but as long as it isn't forced throughout ones career and there are no persecutions for a lack of faith then i think its alreet. Might well change once been through training etc.
  19. For anyone seeking solace or religious guidance you could do worse than consulting the experts father Blackadder and Brother Slim.
    We will endevour to stoop to the lowest levels of sexual depravity in an effort to save you from your eclesiastical devils.
    I am fairly certain that Fatjer Blackadder will not object to my volunteering his services:compress:
  20. Interesting one, I was in the Scouts and Cadets so I have some idea of where you are coming from. I also understand the whole tradition thing. As hypocritical as it may sound, I got married in a CofE church for traditional reasons.

    The issue here is highlighted quite nicely in your post:

    If the only solace available to you is the church, then obviously you will be drawn to it. The forces need to rethink the way things are done and offer some sort of counselling service. No one is pretending it's not a tough job and at times people do need a friendly face to chat to. If the only friendly face on offer is a priest, then I believe we are drawn into a situation where already vulnerable people are in a position to be manipulated into following a path they might not otherwise wish to lead.

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