(RNS) On a Veterans Day broadcast program, televangelist Kenneth Copeland and controversial historian David Barton told listeners that soldiers should never experience guilt or post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from military service.

Reading from Numbers 32: 20-22, Copeland said, “So this is a promise — if you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war … you shall return, you’re coming back, and be guiltless before the Lord and before the nation.”

“Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” Copeland said as Barton affirmed him. “You get rid of that right now. You don’t take drugs to get rid of it. It doesn’t take psychology. That promise right there will get rid of it.”

Barton added that many biblical warriors “took so many people out in battle,” but did so in the name of God.

“You’re on an elevated platform up here. You’re a hero, you’re put in the faith hall of fame,” Barton said. “… When you do it God’s way, not only are you guiltless for having done that, you’re esteemed.”

U.S. Soldiers photo

U.S. Soldiers photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

PTSD has been a recurring issue among military veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs classifies PTSD as a mental health problem that can occur after a traumatic event like war, assault or disaster. In 2011, 476,515 veterans who were diagnosed with PTSD received treatment at VA medical centers and clinics.

“It is obvious that they do not have knowledge of the condition,” said Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor who has written on Barton. “Copeland and Barton err theologically as well by taking specific Scriptures written in relationship to Israel and apply them to American armies.”

This isn’t the first time Copeland and Barton have been “profoundly ignorant about theology and history,” said Joe Carter, an editor and communications director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

“But for them to denigrate the suffering of men and women traumatized by war — and to claim biblical support for their callow and doltish views —  is both shocking and unconscionable,” Carter said. “Rather than downplaying the pain of PTSD, they should be asking God to heal our brothers and sisters.”

Barton has been a controversial figure in some circles. Texas tea partiers recently launched a movement to draft him to mount a primary challenge to Texas Sen. John Cornyn next year. Barton recently linked legal abortion to climate change.

In a recent program, Barton said half of students in Christian colleges leave church due to pagan professors. Last year, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson, citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, ended the publication and distribution of Barton’s best-seller, “The Jefferson Lies.”

A church led by Copeland’s daughter was recently linked to a measles outbreak. Terri Copeland Pearsons and her father have preached against vaccines.

 

 


YS/MG END BAILEY

74 Comments

  1. Why does anyone take these two charlatans seriously? PTSD is a very serious problem. Yes, prayer can help. However, it still needs to be dealt with by professionals. Obviously, these two are not going to help.

    • “This isn’t the first time Copeland and Barton have been “profoundly ignorant about theology and history,””

      I would be surprised if either of them said ANYTHING which was knowledgeable on any given subject. Both have become very successful in making up crap and sounding authoritative to the lazy and moronic.

    • Steve D, First, these two “Christians” are seriously deluded, and potentially dangerous to anyone desperate and trying to get help for their mental issues that actually believe them.
      Also, why does anyone take prayer seriously? Thinking you can talk to a being that is supreme to everything through thoughts, or even speaking out loud, and what you ask is given to you by that being is a very serious mental problem itself.
      No, prayer can’t help, in all reality. It may temporarily make you feel better that you think God will take care of things, but then if what you’ve asked doesn’t happen, by happenstance not by an act of God, you may feel even worse.

      I agree though, it needs to be dealt with by professionals. Treatments like E.M.D.R., although somewhat controversial, have helped people with P.T.S.D., depending on which mental health professional you speak with; helped me.

      However, you can prove me completely wrong. Please pray to your God and ask him to grow back all the limbs of people who have lost them. If he is the creator of all he already has enabled that to happen with reptiles, and he doesn’t even consider them his sheep.

      As soon as this happens, just once, please contact the media and have it publicized. Also, post it on R.N.S. as I will have a long list of other wishes for your genie to grant.
      Until it really does help, you stating “prayer can help” is as harmful as the statements made by the two deluded “Christians”.

  2. This makes me levitate off of my chair. PTSD isn’t about guilt or self condemnation. It’s a natural reaction that anyone goes through after experiencing something that could take their life or the life of someone nearby. I was never in the direct line of fire when I was deployed, and I have issues with loud noises or fireworks. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with guilt, but everything to do with wanting to make sure the loud thud was a door slamming and not a mortar round.

    Biblical warfare and modern warfare are two very, very different situations. While I’m a believing Christian, I refuse to believe that my (minor) PTSD is because of a lack of faith. I am no less of a Christian for having nightmares or not being able to sleep through thunderstorms after returning from Afghanistan.

    This video makes me completely sick.

  3. Check on http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com
    and I think you will find that both David Barton and Kenneth Copeland are associated with the New Apostolic Reformation. I think that is all that should have to be said.
    Maybe they should spend their working a legitimate job and donating those funds to help pay for counseling for the damage done by pastors who are spiritually abusive and their congregants subsequently suffer from PTSD from their actions.

    • “I think you will find that both David Barton and Kenneth Copeland are associated with the New Apostolic Reformation. I think that is all that should have to be said.”

      That and they both make a living by lying through their teeth and pandering to anti-democratic political movements.

      • These two and their flakey reading of scripture will drive more people away from Christ because they make Christians look like self righteous fools! God preserve us from such delusion and the false prophets that spread it!

        • If you don’t want them to drive people away from Christ, don’t give the impression that they speak on Christ’s behalf. If more Christians were willing to step up and call these nabobs out on their nonsense, they wouldn’t be able to do so much damage. It can’t just be the job of atheists, secularists, members of minority religions and academic professionals.

          I find Christians tend to be more defensive and anticritical, saying “we aren’t like THOSE guys”. Rather than “Those guys are full of it”.

  4. I rarely comment on such outrageous and blatant misuse of the Holy Scriptures, not misinterpretation. God is clearly telling the soldiers He will not hold them guilty. PDST is not so much a guilt, but terror from seeing things no human should see. I know many men and women of strong faith who suffer from PTSD, including myself. These two “ministers” appear to be self serving frauds.

  5. While the comments have been rightly outraged at these two guys, I would like to remark on a different aspect of the article. The links to stats for hurricanes and murder rates are very good. Is there reliable data available for these two categories worldwide? It would be interesting to see them for say the past 100 years or so with a breakdown by region or country. As we all know, we are currently witnessing the brutal treatment of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ globally. Can we just draw a circle around the U.S.A.? And if our soldiers are justly helping the persecuted and defenseless, are they not doing the Lord’s. Maybe this can be of help to some of those suffering from PTSD.

  6. While the comments have been rightly outraged at these two guys, I would like to remark on a different aspect of the article. The links to stats for hurricanes and murder rates are very good. Is there reliable data available for these two categories worldwide? It would be interesting to see them for say the past 100 years or so with a breakdown by region or country. As we all know, we are currently witnessing the brutal treatment of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ globally. Can we just draw a circle around the U.S.A.? And if our soldiers are justly helping the persecuted and defenseless, are they not doing the Lord’s work? Maybe this can be of help to some of those suffering from PTSD.

  7. It’s strange that the author doesn’t mention this, but the thing they had done in that part of numbers, which Yahweh venerated for and which Barton said was an example of “just war”, was to go murder every man, woman and child in the nation of Midian, except for the virgin girls, which they enslaved. On the same page, Numbers records that 32,000 girls were taken as sex slaves by the Hebrews, and their families were all exterminated. Barton said this is an example of “just war” and I guess the author of this piece doesn’t have any issues with that claim.

    • “Barton said this is an example of “just war” and I guess the author of this piece doesn’t have any issues with that claim.”

      Nobody in their right mind, not even the author, ever takes what David Barton says at face value. The man is a professional liar. There is not enough space in any given article to list all issues people have with Barton’s nonsense.

  8. The two individuals who co-wrote this article are BAT CRAP CRAZY!!
    I’m beginning to think that they have endured too many shots to the head, or their parents saw the future and dropped them on their heads!

    This is got to be the second biggest load of crap, only second to Evolution, and just above satan trying to convince us he doesn’t exists .

  9. My thoughts are, I can’t believe that ANYONE would say what was said in the context it was said in. How dare someone, that has NEVER seen battle, war, death and destruction of a culture laid to waste, say what he and Barton said. My challenge to them both would be, go to Afghanistan, lie in the sand, ride in the vehicles onto IED’s and listen as bullets whistle overhead, near your person, watch as bomb strapped suicide bombers walk up into the middle of groups of children and LIVE humans as they lay waste to the “children of God”. Talk is really easy when you have never experienced the sights and sounds of war. If it all somehow relates to guilt, or to “arming yourself in God’s name”, how is it that the Christian soldiers that go to war are affected by PTSD? Is it because they’re less Christian? I think that Barton and Copeland are frauds and should be treated as such.

  10. I served my God, my country, my loved ones and would again if called on. I have tried to served The Lord by proclaiming His Holy Word. These two men claim to have a different take on The Gods Word. I pray for the men and women who have, do and will serve our country. Now we who can, need to pray for these two men, (not preachers).

  11. TOBY your comment was 110 percent correct and i couldnt agree with you more. Plus im a christian, but im also a soldier who suffers from PTSD and no matter how much i pray about it, it hasnt gotten better one single bit at all.

  12. Where did these guys get the idea that PTSD is linked to guilt? Trauma responses result from exposure to life-threatening situations or exposure to others trauma. Guilt can add to the trauma but people exposed to all kind of crisis, including war, can be traumatized. Trauma responses are a normal reaction to horrible, abnormal, violent situations. Prayer is always powerful. But it isn’t sufficient by itself. There are treatments that really help with PTSD and these fools shouldn’t discourage believers from getting the help they need.

  13. I weary of the cowardice of men like Copeland and Barton. Where are the men with the courage to petition the Father, like Christ in the garden, to take away the cup? To take away the nightmares, the pain, the terror? Where are the men with the courage to weep like Christ for Lazarus?

    They are buried beneath an avalanche of vapid popular theology and empty sound bites.

    As a Marine Corps veteran and devoted follower of Christ, this nonsense blows my mind. Where is the compassion for the distraught? Where is the love for the young men and women, who, trusting their elders, went to a war they knew nothing about and returned home with blood on their hands and in their dreams?

  14. I think all of you and me included should be praying instead of pointing fingers. God needs us united not divided. Let’s pray when we see our sisters or brothers wrong or right. We all need to pray and love and support one another. It is easy to point out what is wrong but how about pointing out what is right? God bless you all. I do hope that all of our eyes can be opened and we can understand what the purpose of our calling is. Having the eyes of our heart enlightened. Glory to God. He is so gracious to us in our shortcomings and so abundant to show us grace when we fall. Why not act like Him? Now there is an excellent idea.

  15. They are talking about believers not unbelievers. David Barton needs to stay away from him. Unbelievers wont experince God unless they put faith in Jesus and repent. Believers can experince healing from God if they submit to him. Again Copeland is a false prophet.

  16. Kenneth Copeland and David Barton do not know what they are talking about!!
    Going thru a divorce sill impacts you for the rest of your life and, its not even close to being as traumatic as being in a war. I have 2 cousins that do have PTSD. One is a MINISTER and one is a Christian. Faith in God does NOT take away PTSD. I hope and pray that everyone who reads their article will KNOW that these two are totally wrong,

  17. Copeland and Barton are being unfairly criticized. They are taking a radical stand for spiritual healing of our soldiers and vets. This is how Jesus healed too. Most folks won’t be able to hear it or demonstrate it, but some will, and they will be strengthened and healed by it. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” (Paul in Phil. 4:13) God bless our soldiers regardless how they obtain the support they deserve.

    • Bullcrap. They are talking out of their collective posteriors because that’s what keeps them employed. Both of them espouse a fact-free, pernicious, theocratic view of Christianity which is totally out of sync with modern democratic life.

      They deserve whatever scorn is heaped upon them for giving such horrific, ignorant advice. There is nothing Christian or Christlike about spreading ignorant nonsense for personal gratification as they do.

  18. It is this type of ignorance that gives Christianity a blackeye. Speaking as a pastor, and a father of a son that served in United States Marine Corps., who is an Iraq War Veteran and is 90% disabled, and mainly because of PTSD…their type of council kills and ailienates those who are struggling.
    They are already hurting and looking for hope, but your simplistic “get rid of it” council doesn’t cut it, and forces them away from the church.
    I know, many well meaning Christians who have given this same type of “encouragement” to our son, who does not take any drugs, just pushed our son further from teh church and the Lord because he already knows he’s “broken” and doesn’t need “well meaning” Christians rubbing his nose in his “lack of faith.”
    I pray that these men never have to deal with this in their families, and if they do, I hope the Lord will be gracious and not allow them to council them!

  19. Sometimes you have to call it what it is. For years I’ve listened to the scripture twisting machinations of Mr Copeland and his cult spewing ways on the “Believer’s Voice of Victory” (title?). Remember how Christ cast out the money changers for capitalizing and exploiting people in their search for holiness, piety and meaning? Mr. Copeland nearly caused me to abandon my own faith in God based on his abusive, callous, self serving manipulations of emotion that coincidentally keep him in a very comfortable lifestyle.

    I’m sure Mr Copeland would find a way to paint me as a demon possessed interloper due to his self appointed status as chief precipitator of God’s agenda.

  20. Marvin M. Brown Ph.D.

    I know little about the two TV speakers and their reputation, but speaking from 30 years professional V.A. experience working with men suffering from PTSD, guilt is often a very important part of the problem. A major part of therapy includes “reframing” so the veteran can learn to judge his combat actions from the moral perspective of the HELL of war, rather than making overly self -condemning judgements from a safe, peacetime perspective.

    The most charitable view of the two TV guys is that they were attempting to address one aspect of a quite large and complex psychophysiological response by the PTSD sufferer. They were inept, and if they thought theirs was the only response necessary, they were wrong. But they were not necessarily wrong in advising vets to not feel guilty about being a good soldier -which means “killing people and breaking things”! The speed with which a person is moved from main street to full combat often confuses the individual on what is morally acceptable. Add in the fear, stress, exhaustion, pain and the rest of it, and the result often is PTSD. And guilt is often a large part.

    The writer of the comment about them is also often superficial and careless in HER descriptive style. E.g., “shell shock” & “combat fatigue” were names for this condition used in previous wars, and it was not ignored as she says, but considered a legitimate and disabling problem by medical personnel. In reading her commentary about these guys she seems to be responding to much more than this one event, and is perhaps impelled by a stronger emotional response than would be expected from their short-sighted statement. Her style of respons is so over the top that one gets the sense of the pot calling the kettle black.

    • We need to clarify this “guilt” word that keeps being bandied about. The guilt refered to in discussion of PTSD is generally what is known as survivors guilt. NOT the guilt which follows an improper action. This phenomenon occurs when a person begins subconciously asking the “Why him and not me?” question. In other words, why did my squadmate get killed by that IED and yet I survived? Thank goodness the two charlatans who made those ridiculously ignorant statements are already well known for their propensity to use and abuse the faith of others to line their pockets or they might have done more damage.

  21. As a Christian counselor working at a Christian Counseling agency treating a high number of veterans, these comments are neither biblically sound nor valid therapeutically. It is a shame that these two men would prevent even one person from seeking the treatment that is needed and available.

  22. Re: “… controversial historian David Barton …”

    Please, have a care when using the word “historian” when describing David Barton. He is absolutely no such thing. Lots of militant Christianists think he’s one, but he’s not. He has no degree in history (just a BA from Oral Roberts University in religious education) and has never been published in a peer-reviewed history journal. He has no credentials whatsoever in the field of history. Not a single one.

    Just because lots of Rightists say Barton is a historian, and he carries himself as though he were one, cannot and will never actually make him one. The word has meaning, and he doesn’t come anywhere near living up to it. I say this as someone who does, in fact, have a degree in history, yet still doesn’t call himself a “historian.”

  23. I am in agreement with what PsiCop said. David Barton is not a “controversial historian.” He is not a historian period. His degree is a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University.

    • Well “famed bull[expletive deleted] artist” doesn’t read as well on the page. =)

      Its worse than not having the credentials. The guy makes crap up whole cloth and does so for the repugnant cause of creating a Christian theocracy.

  24. Any true believer would be praying for those soldiers’ well being, and not denying their pain. War is horrific and traumatizing for all involved. Also, to claim American military men and women are going to war on behalf of God is even more horrific and a completely unBiblical concept. Name calling these men won’t help, but they have been denounced by many in the Church for their unBiblical beliefs and pandering. Men like that are why many people think true Christians and believers are nuts, because those men spout complete and utter nonsense to the chagrin of those who understand and study the Bible.

  25. As a retired combat soldier and a Pastor and founder of Soldiers PTSD Ministry. I suffer from PTSD and believe me it is as real as it gets. The bible has many examples of those who suffer from PTSD King David suffered from PTSD.
    Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. . . . But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love. —Psalm 31:9,10,14-16

    Just one example.

  26. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. . . . But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love. —Psalm 31:9,10,14-16

  27. The church for the most part has turned into a bunch of talk a good game weaklings who are led by weak men like these two. I have PTS and I would survive in a war zone just fine along with other believers who were in combat. These two guys along with most of the American church would poop their pants.
    Men like this show how stupid the American church building has become. Putting leaders who have a degree and youth pastoring experience but have never really lead people and have them talk about something they know nothing about and people take these guys serious. I left the church 12 years ago because of men like this. This video reminds me why I don’t return. Thanks.

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