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Army Colonel Under Fire For Encouraging Troops To Improve Their ‘Spiritual Fitness’

Omar Sobhani/Reuters

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Army Col. Thomas Hundley has come under intense fire for writing a post on the Military Health System website encouraging servicemembers to pray.

For the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a group pushing for secular values in the armed forces, Hundley’s remarks constitute fundamentalist Christian bullying.

In a motivational message posted to Health.mil Jan. 4, Hundley, who serves as a fitness expert, encouraged servicemembers to “Improve your spiritual fitness through increased prayer.” He also included an anecdote from his grandfather with advice drawing from biblical stories.

Health.mil features a disclaimer at the bottom of each post, saying, “Individual contributor articles are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Defense Health Agency, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, or the Defense Department.”

That didn’t stop MRFF from immediately taking offense and filing a complaint with Regional Health Command. Hundley serves under Army Forces Central.

“Apparently, Colonel Thomas Hundley can’t figure out whether he’s an active duty senior Army officer or an evangelical Christian missionary?” Mikey Weinstein, president of MRFF, said in a statement.

“Col. Hundley has absolutely no business or authority under American law to be conflating his Army officer rank, title and position with his professed evangelical Christian faith,” Weinstein added.

Hundley has written at Health.mil since early last year at minimum. Mentions of religion are infrequent. He usually focuses on diet and exercise tips.

Kevin Dwyer, chief of media operations at the Defense Health Agency, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the agency is conducting a review into the complaint to determine whether it is legitimate.

“The Defense Health Agency, which maintains Health.mil, is aware of the questions that have been raised about the content of a recent post,” Dwyer said. “It is taking time to review the way ahead for the Monday Motivational Message to avoid similar issues in the future.”

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