graeme's picture

graeme

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The CIA has chaplains.

I discovered the CIA chaplaincy service while doing research on a human right case the CIA (and the US) lost. It seems the CIA had arrested a "suspect:" and, for four months, beat him, tortured him and sodomized him - only to discover it was a case of mistaken identity. So they shackled him, blindfolded him, then took him to another country, and dumped him by a roadside.

So how do you feel about the CIA having chaplains? I can see the case for it. a tired agent after a day of beating, torturing and sodomizing could well benefit from a few words of comfort, and some reflection.

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Poguru's picture

Poguru

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Hi Graeme,

 

It is fortunate that people reap what they sow.  From a Buddhist perspective this is known as the law of karma.  People who engage in inducing misery will themslves be made miserable until such time as they learn the lesson, rue their actions, obtain forgiveness and atone.

 

If those chaplins that the CIA allegedly has can assist in correcting bad behavior, then I am all for them.

 

Your Buddy on the Path - Poguru

not4prophet's picture

not4prophet

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graeme's picture

graeme

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poguru - chaplains that the CIA allegedly has? Check CIA chaplains on google. The CIA says it has them. Do you think the CIA is lying?

Can anyone seriously suggest that the CIA has brought in chaplains to correct bad behaviour by its torturers and assassins?

Anyone who could say that would have advocated chaplains to serve the guards and executioners in Nazi death camps.

In fact, I rather suspect that chaplains were there.

Poguru's picture

Poguru

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Hi Graeme,

 

Those who cause misery to others shall themselves be made miserable.  I have great faith in this law.

 

Of course, it is horrible that anyone should suffer torture or assassination.  Those who commit such deeds are mentally aberant.  They will be required to correct their thinking time and time again until they learn the lesson.   This law applies to CIA chaplins and everyone else. 

 

However, the fact of the matter is that this whole samsaric existence is one of suffering.  We are all suffering.  Your CIA example is another instance. 

 

You should do your best to try and ensure that the CIA does not continue in the fashion you have indicated they do.  You will find that more you think about the well being of others and the less you concern yourself with your own well being, the closer you will be to achieving enlightenement.

 

Plainlly, you are on the right path inasmuch as you think torture and assissination is unethical.  I applaud your movement upon the Path.

 

Your Buddy on the Path - Poguru 

 

 

InannaWhimsey's picture

InannaWhimsey

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Jason Bourne est therapy?

 

oh, and btw, this thread is the #1 hit on google search of "CIA chaplains"

WaterBuoy's picture

WaterBuoy

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Would Bonhoffer and the present pontiff bridge this RIFF?

 

Gotta admit to what stretches the imagination of what people believe , or don't believe.

 

There is a huge gap between those two parts and no thinking mediums allowed ...

 

Creates fabrications ... truth could humiliate the powers on either side of that flimsy pall ...

 

Such study of complications therof could be the deathe of meis .. and someone said death shoul be not proud ... considering the work Gabriel does ... that's humbling, turning up ends ... "Y"!

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi graeme,

 

graeme wrote:

So how do you feel about the CIA having chaplains?

 

I would imagine that working for the CIA would be fairly numbing.  Sure there is the tedium and monotony of any desk job shuffling papers.  What if you miss something critical and people die because of that?

 

How would you feel if you lent your car to the neighbours and told them that you had just had the car checked and it is okay and then a brake failure led to one or all of them dying in an automobile accident?

 

Sure you can blame the mechanic who checked your car and put the blame on them but would you feel absolutely no responsibility whatsoever?

 

graeme wrote:

I can see the case for it. a tired agent after a day of beating, torturing and sodomizing could well benefit from a few words of comfort, and some reflection.

 

Is this typical of every CIA agent's day graeme?  I'm not excusing it, I'm wondering if this is more deviation from the norm than it represents the norm.

 

At any rate, what do we know of what the Chaplain does for those who engage in this particular work?  Do we know that they provide moral justification for this work or do we assume they must because it continues?  Do we know that they don't ask penetrating questions which lead agents away from this particular bit of intel gathering?

 

Do we know that perhaps they aren't required when an agent undertakes such measures to extract information and then, finally understanding that the person tortured is not the person they thought they were, feels remorse and needs to confess?

 

Police Officers have chaplains.  Are they on call to smooth jittery nerves after a protest kettleing or are they available for officers experiencing some kind of spiritual crisis for whatever reason?

 

With respect to CIA chaplains.  I have no idea what kind of work they are actually called upon to do.  I suspect most of it is for agents in spiritual crisis.  How they come to be in that crisis is no doubt varied.

 

The history of chaplaincy, like the history of any office, is checkered.  I have no doubt when the world was a simpler place that it was easy for chaplains to appeal to God and country and smooth things over for people of conscienve who hadn't had theirs seared to numbness.

 

Most chaplaincy training is independant of the intstituional setting and so the emphasis is not on party lines so much as it actually is about helping those in crisis.

 

If the CIA has them it obviously believes that it needs them.  And perhaps, given the nature of their work, they have a heavy need for them.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

jamesk's picture

jamesk

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Poguru wrote:

Those who cause misery to others shall themselves be made miserable.  I have great faith in this law - Karma.

In my early days of believing in reincarnation I was also a firm believer in Karma and pay-back and getting even. While I still believe in reincarnation, as do you, I have let go of the idea of an "eye for an eye". At some point in some life the individual will understand how wrong that was but if another was to get even with you later then that person is as bad as the first. The first individual may even understand before beginning the next life, which would make the second act uneccessary.

---------------

As for the CIA and their chaplains. It does demonstrate a distorted belief system, but it is the same as each side in a war believing that God is on their side and that might is right. But if the chaplains can help, good for them.

graeme's picture

graeme

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United Church chaplains provide blessings on war. We discussed a case of this about a year ago. And, certainly, I've heard it often enough.

Ii cannot recall ever hearing a sermon that was critical of our side - not matter what the act.

I'm not at all sure the church can have a role in the CIA - any more than it was able to have a Christian role in Hitler's armies.

I don't suggst this as a criticism of the church, but as a suggestion that it has to get its head around this question.

graeme's picture

graeme

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Did any clergy reading this ever do a sermon critical of torture? Of Canada shipping out Canadian citizens to be tortured?

not4prophet's picture

not4prophet

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How many would have taught the slaves back in the day that their reward would be in heaven rather than teaching loving neighbour as self... where they would have had to then set the slaves free? The same train of thought applies whenever mankind uses God for it's own purpose as governments tend to do. A figurehead of righteousness is designed to hide what lies within. A common trait of mankind.

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi graeme,

 

graeme wrote:

United Church chaplains provide blessings on war. We discussed a case of this about a year ago. And, certainly, I've heard it often enough.

 

If we operate only on the anecdotal I've never heard a military chaplain at work so I have no idea who or what they bless.  That is the most informed I can be on the subject.

 

I expect that just like there are duds in any given pulpit there are duds in any given chaplaincy.  Are the duds the norm or are they an abberation?  I only have anecdotal evidence to go on for this so I expect it to carry very little weight, compared to the anecdotes you have.

 

Of all the clergy colleagues that I have had oversight for I can count, on one hand, the number that I was asked to approve ministry reviews for.  I know of half a dozen others that I do not have oversight for whom have had their ministry reviewed.  Such reviews do not prove that these colleagues are duds, by the way.  At the very least it is proof that somebody, somewhere thinks so.

 

While the military does provide some training to Chaplains in the armed forces (I suspect it is something basic around lines of command as well as ensuring that basic physical requirements are met) most of the theological training comes out of the seminaries that serve the Church.

 

My first hand experience with Seminary is 15 years ago.  At the time we were not instructed to bless wars, nor were we ever encouraged to look at war in a positive light.  Pastorally we might be ministering to soldiers, such ministry didn't include helpful proof texts that prove the enemy is Satan's foot-soldier.

 

I can well imagine a day when Crown, Country and Church were thought of as equals that we all bowed the knee to.  Speaking personally, I don't think that kind of thinking has existed openly to a very great extent.  It certainly is challenged openly should it ever rear its brutish head.

 

graeme wrote:

Ii cannot recall ever hearing a sermon that was critical of our side - not matter what the act.

 

You should have been present for the raking I recently recieved simply for suggesting that we failed to keep the promises we had made when we said never again.  Apparently it made some people feel guilty and they thought that wasn't appropriate.

 

I'll live.

 

When the subject of war is part of any sermon I deliver I refuse to pick sides and I damn the enterprise as unqualified human failure.

 

I can't say why others don't do the same.  I'm not alone in my sentiment or my commentary.

 

airclean33 wrote:

I'm not at all sure the church can have a role in the CIA - any more than it was able to have a Christian role in Hitler's armies.

 

Well, as far as generalizations go that is one.

 

I would think unless they can find somebody who buys into the whole God and country mentality (and they still exist) the only role the Church would have in the CIA would be a subversive one.  And if that was happening you'd know a lot more about the CIA now than any previous generation has ever known about how the CIA was operating at that point in time.

 

graeme wrote:

I don't suggst this as a criticism of the church, but as a suggestion that it has to get its head around this question.

 

I probably am not going to invest a lot of time addressing the issue of the CIA and how it operates.  Simply because it is a foreign entity (to Canada) and it would be a difficult connecting point. 

 

And there are multiple ways to address the problem of violence, whether it be institutionalized or random.  I'm confident that many of my colleagues and I do address that problem.  Do we do so persuasively?  Anecdotally, I haven't heard many here demand anyone's blood.  That strikes me as movement in a positive direction.  Can it be sustained in the midst of fear?  Depends on how well the lessons are learned.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi graeme,

 

graeme wrote:

Did any clergy reading this ever do a sermon critical of torture? Of Canada shipping out Canadian citizens to be tortured?

 

Sermon critical of torture, nope.  Mind you I have never preached a pro-torture sermon either.  Of course when I go a little over the hour reaction in some quarters would lead to the conclusion that the sermon was used as torture.

 

We have certainly included in our prayers individuals who have been subjected to torture.  I expect that lifting them up as victims of injustice is close enough to being critical of torture.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

SG's picture

SG

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Graeme,

 

Trying to follow your logic....

 

What do you think about the local hospital or nursing home or other institution having chaplians? There are people who abuse patients, verbally, physically, spiritually, sexually. There is abuse and rape in prisons. Do you think we should just outlaw chaplains, because those creeps must be in on the abuse? They must be ignoring it, encouraging it or absolving those who do it?

 

That is what  you seem to be suggesting except it is solely focused on the  CIA.

I do not think all orderlies are pigs. I do not think all prision employees are animals. When some may be or are, I do not think the chaplains are necessarily giving a stamp of approval just by presence or existence.

That extends to the CIA agents and the CIA chaplains.

 

We seem to differ in the regard.

WaterBuoy's picture

WaterBuoy

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Ever watch the Green Mile?

 

Is the dark soul the angel or the daemon?

 

For those without adequate knowledge would it be difficult to know for sure?

 

Could we have some non-emotional responses? Not likely ... we are only emotional creatures ... sort of spiritual they say ... perhaps because of what is missing in the satire ... collective ignorance! There are those that deny this form of psyche ... an unknowing collective ... sort of a myth to those within it ... and the creature moves on ... until the obtuse perspective from outside ... OBI?

 

I know a UCC minister that was a chaplain in the navy during WW II ... he said they had to say an oath to to be determined to kill the enemy ... leaves a lot to ponder eh-bye? Then perhaps an eye for an eye would give depth perception with the 11 pair down to nothing ... rye sol' ... stripped of the inner capacity ... nothing left but a hollow thought ... a beauty of a casket mon ... mere husk or chiva when you look down upon it ...

 

Almost like a word hidden in a word, devil of a truth for the unknowing to deal with! Yet still ministers preach about leaving the knowledge behind in the swamp as good ... perhaps fecundity for the nextgeneration if not suffereing oppressive teaching from people who only believe their way is good foe all-that-is ... Godly Utilitarian Philosophy ... here? I just can't see it ... must be out there ... broad-base thing-heh as something to fall over ... foundation stone of knowledge?

 

Peculiar pain Gnoesticks ... the pain of not knowing the cane ... nothing learned without the experience of pain ... but it should be medium, moderate or mean on the bullying side ... sort of elite pain like the first screwup ... Jack 've all trades ... the dark side of the myth! Understanding an emotional world where most believe the winner takes all ... when what is left out there ... is certainly questionable philosophy ... none left to carry out your chit! You are deemed by fates to be burried there ... right up to your ears ... sort of a dunne can, or honij bucket ... to be added to the list ...

 

Hard to accept for those that care not for what's out there ... the other, oddly enough is part and parcel of the integral's elf ... a bugg'n thing that you should dig up ... lot of mire involved ...

SG's picture

SG

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Have I ever done a sermon critical of torture? Yes, numerous times. I have spoken about necklacing when speaking of Nelson Mandela and others. I am also aware torture may be in Abu Ghraib or it may be inside a home in Canada.

 

Have I ever done a sermon critical of Canadian citizens being tortured on foreign soil, whether they need sent there or simply find themselves there?

 

Yes. I am also critical of Canadians doing the torture, foreign or domestic.

 

I am critical of torture. I have never mentioned it and championed torture.

That extends to child abuse as torture. It extends to prison torture and denial of medical care as torture.

 

Nope, neven preached pro-torture not once.

not4prophet's picture

not4prophet

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Did Jesus come to be critical of wars or torture or the like or did He say that because of the traditional ways of mankind these things must be? Did He instead give an alternative, both in literal ways to act and a Kingdom which works and exists in opposition to worldly ideals created by man? Should a person of the cloth do any different? Those who combine God, economics and politics are not of the Kingdom but still of this world, the blind who lead the blind.

graeme's picture

graeme

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But choosy on picking which torture to talk about.

I don't think I have any fundamental disagreement with SG or revjohn. I certainly can't imagine either of them advocating either war or torture. What I'm trying ot get my head around (1970s lingo) is the function of a church in a society that is - even the best ones - immoral in basic structures.

How do you bring the congregation to an awareness of it? A sermon? As revJohn says, that can simply stir up anger and rejection. it's not enough to be right. We also have to be effective.

(By the way, I did not suggest chaplains should stay away from all places where pain might be inflicted - such as hospitals and prisons. I am speaking of the relationship to institutions that are designed soley to inflict suffering.

Nor do I restrict myself to the CIA. Torture has been a component of any army I have ever heard of. Britain has long used it - still does. Canada, both through CSIS and the government, has been complicit)

Just took a break, and discovered there were chaplain for the exterminators in the Nazi death camps. Chaplains also served the SS. That's surely not surprising. It is quite natural for us to look kindly or at least charitably on what our side is doing. Clergy are as prone to this as anyone else.

But there are many things in our society, things that we accept as normalcy, which are evil. And so you will find it in Moslem societies or Hindu societies or any other.

I don't thnk we can effectively preach about that. I think the congregation has to be involved. I think that the awareness has to grow not just in the congregation, but also in the clregyman. I won't even name what i think the evils are because I don't think I or anyone else can grasp them without thought and discussion.

But how to do it......

graeme's picture

graeme

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I just thought of another difficulty in sermonizing. Canada had an appalliing reputation for its brutal treatment of prisoners in World War One. But I can just imagine indignant congregants standiing up to shout -"My grandfather served in World War one. He did it so that people like you could could be free. And all you do is preach your insults and nonsense......"

No. There are insights that cannot be forced on people. They have to grow. And I'm not sure that the worship service as presently conceived, can do that.

SG's picture

SG

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I believe that Jesus did not just say, "Ya'll do this in this human wold, but the Kingdom is different" I do not believe Jesus just said, "This must be this way to being about..."

 

I believe the Bible records Jesus as calling people hypocrites, fools, white washed tombs, serpents and broods of vipers.... He takes out a whip and throws people out of the Temple....That is a tad critical.

 

It's a tad more critical than I have been.

 

Jesus spoke all the time about God and economics. He was a radical economist. He had very strong opinions about wealth and property, about the relationship between the rich and the poor. He spoke about God and The Law and its application to everyday life

The frist Torah he read was from Isaiah - "“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. God has sent me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release of captives and liberty to the oppressed"

So, he spoke on God and politics.

 

That his economic plan and political views were radical, not the norm, on that I will agree. It turned everything they knew and thought upside down.

 

WaterBuoy's picture

WaterBuoy

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Sort of like looking thro' a pin hole camera right ...

 

This is a vacant spot in material that is small as possible to allow focus ... on a point ... humbling! God as a medium to pas is like that ... unseen ...

 

Gives some sense to worlds within ... or string theory for that matter as folded, mutilated and battered ...

 

 

Torture you say; consider underlying support systems ... like emotional intellect ... oppressed by people who say don't be cognizant of man's cruelty to man ... get over it. Is this insensitive ... thinking ...?

SG's picture

SG

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graeme,

 

That is good insight that to be effective at ministering to a congregation it requires a congregation and running everyone off won;t be very effective. .

 

 

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi graeme,

 

graeme wrote:

How do you bring the congregation to an awareness of it?

 

I think my Reformed Christianity has a distinct advantage there.  Total Depravity, pardon the saying, covers a multitude of sin.

 

There are two ways to level a mountain.  The first way is by explosives.  Make a mistake and it could be your last and a few innocents can be hurt at the same time.  The second way is to do it stone by stone which takes much longer but people tend not to mind you moving the odd stone every now and then.

 

And what is it precisely that we are trying to transform?  How the CIA operates?  Well, I'd need to have somebody from the CIA in my congregation for any sermon to work.  Or they'd have to log onto WonderCafe and read our stuff here.

 

If I'm trying to wake up my congregation to how the CIA operates I'd have to know more than I do now, which is squat.

 

graeme wrote:

A sermon? As revJohn says, that can simply stir up anger and rejection. it's not enough to be right. We also have to be effective.

 

I wasn't raked over the coals by everyone.  Some were very appreciative.  Like most congregations ours has fault lines.  I found one and was slightly roughed up doing so.  I've had worse.

 

graeme wrote:

But how to do it......

 

Through thought and discussion?

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

WaterBuoy's picture

WaterBuoy

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"Thought?" Omiga'd isn't that evillive 'n ... &ct?

graeme's picture

graeme

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discussion is tougher than preaching. But it's more effecitve. One difficulty, though, is setting a time. If it's not a part of the service, it's not likely to draw much of an audience. I did have such a group in Montreal that drew a large audience,  including many who were not members of the church, and filling the hall. But it took a month to prepare each of them, and often required an assortment of speakers of some repute to draw people, and to get discussion going.- and, of course, to keep people concious of the Christian perspective.

Later, when I tried a simpler format, I could rarely get more than a dozen.

Someday, I would like to try revisions to the service. I experimented with coming down from the pulpit during the sermon, and inviting questions and /or debate. that had some success. But it requires pretty delicate hancling. The preacher has to become a resource rathen than an authority.

I suppose more time could be found by cutting out parts that are normally wasted time - like the report on missions. (I don't criticize having a report. The problem is that they are usually listened to politely but without much communication being made.)

WaterBuoy's picture

WaterBuoy

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Perhaps the same reasoning that church-like discussions have been more favourable in tavern environments ... a littel whine for the bell lye ... Luçe'ns the tongue in a tough environment of stone-like leadership ... in-conservative flexability?

 

Other wise the oppressed recess ...  that's like psyche rite?

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