Chaplains in the US Army
I have been in the Army for four years now, and one thing that has irritated me beyond measure is the existence and funding of chaplains; and their de facto use as psychiatrists and therapists without the training of said professionals. A case being, a PFC in my company was going through a rough divorce with his wife. He found himself depressed, and we all noticed that he had grown much more reserved and irritable to the point that our chain of command acted upon it. Knowing he was depressed and being out of character, their solution was to send him to the chaplain for counseling even though he was completely neutral on the subject of religion and was not a church-going individual. This same soldier ended up completely cloistering after being sent, and then eventually went AWOL and was not discovered to my knowledge again. If he had been directed to a professional such as a therapist, he may have found some measure of help and may have saved his career and personal hurt/loss of income. All the money spent on their training, their pay (they are paid on the officer scale), and their support could easily pay for a large staff of professional, licensed mental health professionals that could assist from "mundane" issues such as divorce and depression to the problems of PTSD and combat adaption when back stateside. Throughout basic, AIT, and my duty stations I have found chaplains to be very christian in nature though usually at least tolerable to other religions; but the mention of atheism has them scrambling for their bible and proofs that this is a god fearing nation with judeo-christian grounding. I have personally been sent once, as I lost a loved one and my first line supervisor decided I needed "counseling" in the matter. It was nothing more than lip service to why I need to find solace in god and that she is in a better place with no true counseling taking place.
“I join you [John Adams], therefore, in sincere congratulations that this den of the priesthood is at length broken up, and that a Protestant Popedom is no longer to disgrace the American history and character.”
“In every country and in every age the priest [any and every clergyman] has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.” Thomas Jefferson