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Thread: Marine colonel calls suicide ‘shameful,' cites ‘godless age’ and calls on Marines to

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Marine colonel calls suicide ‘shameful,' cites ‘godless age’ and calls on Marines to

    ...
    Now, a Marine commander has decided to push the top Marine’s message a bit further by calling suicide “shameful."
    In an email he sent to staff, which was obtained by Marine Corps Times, Col. Dom D. Ford, the commander of Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School at Twentynine Palms, California, called on Marines “to read more scripture” to boost their religious and spiritual wellness and help combat the suicide epidemic.

    “Suicide is a shameful act. Period. Getting help is not,” Ford wrote to Marines under his command. "Life isn’t fair, and every day won’t be rainbows and sunshine.”

    The colonel explained in the email that increased mental health issues may be a “byproduct” of a “godless age” amid a “rapid cultural and technological shift” that has resulted in a “less spiritually fit” populace. To address the problem, Ford says, people should “spend less time in front of a screen," put down their smartphones, “send flowers instead of an emoji," go out more, “attend a religious service — more than once” and to read scripture."

    ...

    Spiritual fitness has been shown to be an important part of overall well-being and promotes mission readiness,” officials at Training and Education Command told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement regarding Ford’s email.
    “However, the Marine Corps does not promote any specific religious tradition or practice. While religion may play an important role for some individuals in their spiritual development, it is not the only way to be spiritually fit. The practice of religious beliefs is a personal decision,” the TECOM officials wrote.

    While spiritual fitness and faith have been consistent themes among the Corps’ leaders when discussing the suicide crisis, religion has rarely been invoked.

    That is in part due to its potential to impact the perceptions of troops who may question the impartiality of commanders who are charged with leading troops who hold varying religious beliefs, or are atheists.

    Read more: https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/new...ore-scripture/

    From the National Institute of Health:

    ...The existence of a relationship specifically between suicide and religion has been well-documented in numerous reviews [5, 7, 1215]. Most studies reveal that increased religiosity protects against suicide...
    Conclusion

    Religion plays a protective role against suicide in a majority of settings where suicide research is conducted. However, this effect varies based on the cultural and religious context. Therefore, public health professionals need to strongly consider the current social and religious atmosphere of a given population when designing suicide prevention strategies.

    read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482518/
    This is sort of interesting. Would not be surprised if the commander gets an attitude correction for his apparent proselytizing....

    But....public health officials may agree that promoting religion may be an effective suicide prevention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    From the National Institute of Health:



    This is sort of interesting. Would not be surprised if the commander gets an attitude correction for his apparent proselytizing....

    But....public health officials may agree that promoting religion may be an effective suicide prevention.

    No doubt he'll get attacked for proselytizing, because he's pointing towards Christianity specifically as the solution. In reality, it's not "religion" that is effective, but rather the belief in a higher power, forces, influence, purpose, etc that gives many reason to continue on when they feel no other reason to. That's what they should be promoting, because that's what's at the heart of any religion or non-religious spiritual belief.
    Last edited by FLAPS; 06-10-2019 at 10:56 AM.

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    I don't disagree with what the Col said ... but in a mass message to his staff; that isn't appropriate.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    I don't disagree with what the Col said ... but in a mass message to his staff; that isn't appropriate.
    ...but, if it saves one life....


    Yeah, I dunno...I like the clash of values on this one. I just find it interesting...what if, violating the rules on appropriateness really does save a life?

    I like when data rejects dogma.

    I'm not suggesting this message is saving lives, really, but, hey, he's giving it a try and probably sincerely believes what he is saying...and at cursory glance, the science may support it.

    Even if you say, OK, well he can't push Christianity....we have to admit, that if there is that one life out there teetering...odds are they have have a Christian background of some type and maybe can relate to this message. If he sends the "seek your spiritual readiness in your own way..." type message, maybe it doesn't resonate with anyone.

    Just being hypothetical here
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 06-11-2019 at 07:26 PM.
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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    ...but, if it saves one life....


    Yeah, I dunno...I like the clash of values on this one. I just find it interesting...what if, violating the rules on appropriateness really does save a life?

    I like when data rejects dogma.

    I'm not suggesting this message is saving lives, really, but, hey, he's giving it a try and probably sincerely believes what he is saying...and at cursory glance, the science may support it.

    Even if you say, OK, well he can't push Christianity....we have to admit, that if there is that one life out there teetering...odds are they have have a Christian background of some type and maybe can relate to this message. If he sends the "seek your spiritual readiness in your own way..." type message, maybe it doesn't resonate with anyone.

    Just being hypothetical here
    I get it ... as @FLAPS said, I think he could have gotten across what he was trying to say, in a very similar way to what he actually said and not made it seem as proselytizing.

    If what he said in the email was relayed in a one on one conversation, counseling etc. I think that is a very different / more acceptable thing. To do it en masse ... while well intentioned ... I don't think is appropriate.
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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    I get it ... as @FLAPS said, I think he could have gotten across what he was trying to say, in a very similar way to what he actually said and not made it seem as proselytizing.

    If what he said in the email was relayed in a one on one conversation, counseling etc. I think that is a very different / more acceptable thing. To do it en masse ... while well intentioned ... I don't think is appropriate.
    I'm not disagreeing with you.

    I just find the "appropriate" vs. "effective" interesting....what would we or should we do if we if data shows that inappropriate is effective?
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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    I'm not disagreeing with you.

    I just find the "appropriate" vs. "effective" interesting....what would we or should we do if we if data shows that inappropriate is effective?
    Inappropriate can be effective, but that doesn't also mean that appropriate can't be effective which when you are talking about mass messaging etc. I think is entirely possible. In a one on one situation (especially if you know the individual) you tailor the message / how you say it ... I think you could get more specific on personal belief / faiths etc.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Inappropriate can be effective, but that doesn't also mean that appropriate can't be effective which when you are talking about mass messaging etc. I think is entirely possible. In a one on one situation (especially if you know the individual) you tailor the message / how you say it ... I think you could get more specific on personal belief / faiths etc.
    Well, sure, it's entirely possible that another message can be also effective. If we could perfectly study this though, one would be MORE effective than the other...of course, we can't perfectly study stuff like this and every group and every individual is different, but if we tried to find the most effective solution to the majority of populations and majority of individuals under the majority of situations...it's still not a perfect solution, but one could be seen as tending to be more effective in more situations in more populations.

    I would think that anyone who believes in God...would tend also to believe that a unit getting more godly with that god would be good for the unit. That is, I suppose, especially if you believe that God intervenes in the world. In that case, one might tend to think that only getting right with the right God would be beneficial.

    If it's not so much that the actual God is right...but, as FLAPS suggested, it doesn't matter what you believe in, so long as you believe in something...then I think your approach might be appropriate and effective.

    OTOH, for the message to be effective, is has to resonate with the receiver...and since the majority of us have some type of Christian background, might not a Christian message have a better chance of resonating with that suicidal person?

    Even if someone, say, no longer counts themselves as a believer, but grew up with some Churchin'....and now they are hurting and desperate...would that Christian message have a better chance of connecting with them than, say, a bland generic one that says find your spiritual readiness or whatever?

    We can guess all day long...what I'm hypothetically suggesting is let's pretend the data proves out the effectiveness of inappropriately religious messages from commanders. So, yeah, it's possible that another message is effective...but, the question is: what if, all of our data shows that a Christian message coming from the commander is an effective tool to reduce suicide and more effective than any other commander message?

    Would we say....that's too bad, because our policy is nondenominational spiritual readiness messaging. Or would we allow and encourage it. Do we care more about our appropriate policy or that person? Will we be inappropriate if we learned that it actually helps?

    What do you say to this well-meaning commander who probably knows he's not allowed to say this stuff, but he said to himself, 'The hell with it' in a sincere and honest belief that he is helping someone out there avoid suicide. What if he's right?
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 06-12-2019 at 01:23 PM.
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    The Colonel's mistake was addressing only the religious aspect of suicide prevention instead of including other options. As an atheist, had I read his email I would have been immediately turned-off of his message because, IMO, he was proselytizing when he wrote "... attend a religious service — more than once” and to read scripture." He's directly imply that only religious activity is the key to suicide prevention. While religious activities/counseling can be effective it isn't the only option available.

    It would have been better received if he had instead said to contact the Chaplin's Office, your local church/temple leader, Mental Health, speaking with supervisors/commanders, friends or others you feel you can confide in to help steer you to the help you may need and that doing so will not stigmatize the individual or their career. Identifying all the avenues to suicide prevention gives the individual the choice of the best option(s) suited to them and it gives them ownership of their problem and treatment.

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LogDog View Post
    The Colonel's mistake was addressing only the religious aspect of suicide prevention instead of including other options. As an atheist, had I read his email I would have been immediately turned-off of his message because, IMO, he was proselytizing when he wrote "... attend a religious service — more than once” and to read scripture." He's directly imply that only religious activity is the key to suicide prevention. While religious activities/counseling can be effective it isn't the only option available.
    So, don't try to help a few a little if you can't help all with everything?

    It would have been better received if he had instead said to contact the Chaplin's Office, your local church/temple leader, Mental Health, speaking with supervisors/commanders, friends or others you feel you can confide in to help steer you to the help you may need and that doing so will not stigmatize the individual or their career. Identifying all the avenues to suicide prevention gives the individual the choice of the best option(s) suited to them and it gives them ownership of their problem and treatment.
    While it's true we have all this stuff...I thinks what the Col. is saying is that it's not working, but he has an idea of what would work.
    Last edited by Bos Mutus; 06-13-2019 at 12:52 PM.
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