Tell Marine Corps that Lack of Spiritual Faith is Not a Sign of Mental Instability


Target: Marine Corps Executive Director of Training and Education Command Jeffrey Bearor

Goal: Do not continue to consider lack of spiritual faith as a sign of instability

Recently, the United States Marine Corps faced a scandal after it was revealed that superiors have orders to scrutinize Marines if they show signs of mental instability—which include a lack or loss of spiritual faith. This lack of faith is one of the signs that superiors use to identify Marines as high risk. In other words, the official stance of the Marines is that those who are not religious are a risk to themselves and their peers. This stance is clearly unconstitutional, and discriminates against atheist or non-religious Marines. This official policy of scrutiny and discrimination must be changed.

The United States Marine Corps faced a similar scandal in 2011, when soldiers were required to face Spiritual Fitness testing. Those who failed were required to undergo religious counseling from chaplains. This testing was stopped after public backlash, but it is clear that the Marines are still discriminating against those without strong religious convictions. The current guidelines for ‘leaders at all levels’ to analyze which soldiers are at high risk include ‘lack or loss of spiritual faith’ as a ‘guidance/moral compass issue.’ This means that superiors are officially required to scrutinize and discriminate against atheist and non-religious Marines.

One of the key freedoms guaranteed to United States citizens is religious freedom. Those who are willing to serve for the country should not be forced to give up this freedom. However, those who normally enjoy the freedom to be atheist or non-religious are being discriminated against in the Marines. According to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Marines should be ‘free to serve without having their reliability brought into question through unconstitutional policies of religious testing.’ The United States Marine Corps has taken away this freedom that the Marines deserve. Demand that the Marines stop discriminating against any soldiers on the basis of religion.


Dear Director Bearor,

Recently, it was revealed that the United States Marine Corps requires superiors to scrutinize soldiers for mental instability on the basis of lack of spiritual faith. Lack or loss of spiritual faith is considered a ‘moral compass issue,’ and on official orders, soldiers with this ‘issue’ must face additional scrutiny. This means that soldiers who are atheist or non-religious must face officially ordered discrimination.

I ask you to remove the religious requirement from these guidelines. American citizens are guaranteed the right to religious freedom, and no one should have to give up that right when they choose to serve their country. Those who do not have strong religious convictions are still able soldiers and do not pose any risk to themselves or their peers. This guideline is unconstitutional, and it must be removed immediately.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Margaret Kennedy says:

    I have never heard anything like!! Because you do not have a religious faith – you have mental instability – how many religious fanatics have went mental and killed? Terrorists – come to mind! What of the parent that kill children because they claim their children would be better off in heaven??? You cannot get more mental instability than that – and all of this is brought on by severe spiritual faith – which are the first signs of mental instability – truly is bizarre!

  2. Mitchell Dormont says:

    It might just be that not believing in a particular religion, or being an atheist,, indicates considerable stability, as those with these outlooks may be more able to assess evidence rationally, rather than just buy into “received wisdom.”

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