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Televangelist Tells Veterans to Seek Bible, Not Meds to Treat PTSD

Just months after televangelist Kenneth Copeland prescribed prayer instead of vaccinations to prevent disease in his followers’ children leading to a measles outbreak, the mega-church leader instructed injured veterans to stop taking medication for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Citing Numbers 32: 20-22, Copeland told his congregation in a taped broadcast, “Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” he preached. “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.”

Copeland was joined in the special Veteran’s Day message by David Barton, a self-taught Christian historian who affirmed that combat veteran should seek out the Bible instead of conventional treatment.

“You’re on an elevated platform up here you’re a hero,” Barton told the suffering veterans. “… When you do it God’s way, not only are you guiltless for having done that, you’re esteemed.”

PTSD impacts nearly one-half a million veterans who have returned from active combat.  The condition is characterized by depression, intense emotional pain and flashbacks of traumatic events.  The Veterans Administration estimates 22 former soldiers take their lives each day due to PTSD.

According to Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor, teaching that this serious mental injury can be cured by a bible verse is dangerous and could lead veteran’s to not seek the help they need, resulting in worsening conditions or even higher suicide rates among the wounded warriors.

“It is obvious that they do not have knowledge of the condition,” he said. He added that the duo also has also tried to apply a passage describing ancient Israelite armies and used it to justify their position for modern warriors.

“Copeland and Barton err theologically as well by taking specific Scriptures written in relationship to Israel and apply them to American armies,” he pointed out.

Even the decidedly conservative Southern Baptist Convention spoke out against Barton and Copeland calling them “profoundly ignorant about theology and history.”

“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,” Joe Carter, an editor and communications director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said. “Rather than downplaying the pain of PTSD, they should be asking God to heal our brothers and sisters.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot/Believer’s Voice of Victory Broadcast

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.