What Face To Face Communication Can Do
Today many are seeking spiritual comfort as they try to hold onto hope that things will improve in their lives. Or as they face challenges in war and military service. For some, hope is all they have to make it through one more day.
Sometimes a person simply wants someone to listen. Often a simple phone call can get them through to the next week. But for some a face to face moment of communication, where compassion can be seen, can go a long way to helping them make it through yet another day of despair. It’s amazing how much a kind word or simple smile can lift someone out of their fear and hopelessness.
Let me preface the rest of this section by explaining that no one here is suggesting that the U.S. Military block anyone from practicing their chosen religion during service. That’s not what this is about. We want to shine a light on the issues Pagan Soldiers and their families face and how hard it is for them to reach out for spiritual help.
To my knowledge, there are NO pagan clergy men or women actively serving in the military. The last military officer that tried to provide Pagan spiritual service was Don Larsen, a Pentecostal Christian minister at Camp Anaconda. Larson, a serving Chaplin had seen the scars of war too many times. He began questioning his own faith and eventually transitioned his beliefs away from Christianity to paganism. He then tried to change his Chaplin status from Pentecostal to Wiccan. He was forced out of the Chaplaincy and the Army in 2007. If this can occur to a Pagan Minister, how can pagan soldiers find spiritual comfort when they need or want it?
Every soldier is required to attend an indoctrination of “spiritual training”. The military claims this training is designed to expose soldiers to a variety of religions that they may encounter in their service and emphasize that “all training is mandatory“. But many question the validity of this claim. The New York Times reported on this story and the proliferation of intolerance in 2009: Questions Raised Anew About Religion in Military
These issues abound in all walks of life and not simply in the Military. Pagan practitioners face Religious Discrimination on a daily basis.
The Army’s top chaplain discussed the importance of spiritual fitness to servicemembers’ overall well-being and its potentially “life-changing” benefits..
What if those spiritual values are not supported by the very military a pagan soldier is trying to serve in?
Sadly I hear about these kinds of frustrations all the time. Soldiers who are serving in harms way, who want to speak with someone who believes in the same things they do, but who feel ostracized or segregated from their own clergy. Like many others spiritual people they too want to “lighten the load” and find solace in talking to one of their “chaplains”.
They turn to the internet for help and communication, because they cannot find this support at their duty station. They want to see a smile or the compassion in someone’s face and hear the caring in someone’s voice in order to renew their strength and dedication to their mission. There are many more “Robert and Stefani” stories out there. And you can help them find someone to talk to.
Creating A Place For Hope
Helping those in need is fulfilling for sure. But knowing you helped someone get through one more day, feeling empowered or left with a sense of renewed purpose is truly a blessing. We want to reach out to those who have asked us for this type of communication, help and support. But we need your help!
These stories and those similar to the one we shared in “A Story of Hope“, inspired our recent campaign to Help Others and Keep Hope Alive. If these stories have touched you in some way, if you gain empowerment into your own life from the articles and daily messages here on Springwolf Reflections, consider helping those who may not be as fortunate as you right now.
It may not seem like much, but every bit counts and helps. Your contribution can be made securely through PayPal! And we do offer something in return. Click here to view all our perks and select the one that you’d like to receive! Won’t you help us, help others in our community who need it most?
Resources & News:
- The Pagan Institute – Military Pagans
- Pagans In The Military – Know Your Rights
- Religion and Politics – The Plight Of Pagans In The Military
- Military Pagans In Baghdad – WitchVox Story
© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.