Pentagon Fitness blog author criticized for promoting Christianity

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A US Army logistics officer who writes a fitness blog for the Department of Defense health website has been criticized for plugging in Jesus and the Bible as a way to get healthy.

Colonel Thomas Hundley, who is the author of the Motivational Monday Message on Health.mil, the official website of the Defense Health Agency, urged readers of the January 4 column to “improve your spiritual form by praying more”.

The increase in prayer was the first of five recommendations Hundley suggested improving in 2016 in a blog entry that also referred to a Biblical story about Jesus feeding thousands of people with two fish and five loaves of bread.

“He just gave God a little something to work with,” Hundley wrote, linking story to fitness by challenging readers to “reach a ‘new you’ in 2016. All we have to do is give God and ourselves a little something with it. which one to work on. “

Mikey Weinstein, chairman of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which advocates for religious freedom in the military, said he filed a complaint with the Army Regional Health Command in Fort Belvoir, Va., After hearing from members of the service criticize the inclusion of religion by Hundley in an official site.

The command’s public affairs office did not immediately respond to Military.com’s request for comment.

Weinstein said Hundley’s use of an official blog to broadcast his religious views was proselytizing and unconstitutional.

“Apparently Colonel Thomas Hundley cannot know if he is a senior active-duty military officer or an evangelical Christian missionary,” Weinstein said Monday. “Colonel Hundley has absolutely no business or authority under US law to confuse his rank, title and position as an army officer with his professed evangelical Christian faith.”

In addition to writing a weekly fitness column, Hundley is also the founder of Fit for A King Fitness Ministries LLC, from North Carolina, and author of “Fit For a King: God’s Plan For Weight Loss And Total Health”, which he sells through his website.

More than 40 columns of Monday’s motivational posts appeared thanks to a search on Health.mil. Hundley’s advice to readers often begins with recalling an event or conversation with a family member early in life.

In a December column in which he urged readers to “go higher” in their “physical, spiritual and emotional form,” he recalled that his grandfather had told him that the eagle was mentioned more often in the Bible. than other birds because “God uses the eagle as an example of righteous living.”

In a June post, he recalled a conversation with his great-grandfather, in which the older man told him that God wants people to look more like a green tomato than a red, because a tomato green “still has room to grow.

“But as soon as you start to think of yourself as a red tomato, the only thing you have left is rot,” he wrote.

Weinstein said he now represents 18 clients who oppose the religious orientation of Hundley’s writings. Weinstein does not reveal the names of his clients because they fear reprisals from commanders, but most of the 18 are Christians. Others are atheists, Muslims and Jews, he said.

In a Jan. 8 letter to Weinstein, Gregory Hill, the command’s deputy inspector general, said after a thorough review of his complaint, the office determined that it would be dealt with by another agency.

Weinstein told Military.com the letter did not identify the other agency. He said Colonel Ivan Speights, the command’s inspector general, also refused to identify the agency to which the complaint was forwarded.

– Bryant Jordan can be contacted at bryant.jordan@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bryantjordan.

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