David Barton And Kenneth Copeland: PTSD Can Be Cured By Bible Verses And Rebuking Satan

Last night, Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Religion News Service reported on statements made (video here) by David Barton and Kenneth Copeland about post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. I am cited in the article as is Joe Carter from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.  More about those comments shortly.
On Monday — Veteran’s Day — Barton and Copeland discussed what they believe the Bible has to say about service in the military.  At about 3:10 into the clip, Copeland expresses his thanks for those in the military and says he often ministers to them. Barton then says that being a soldier is a God-given gift. Copeland extends those remarks by saying that God told him to believe in war. At about 6 minutes in, Copeland says, “for over 200 years, we’ve (referring to the United States) been the judgment arm of God.” Copeland says the U.S. should get credit for stopping slavery in the world. He added that we are supposed to be acting as the judgment arm now, but we are not carrying it out. They take a side track into a discussion of “anointed police officers” but eventually get to the material on PTSD. This background is important because it demonstrates the belief of Barton and Copeland that soldiers act in God’s name.
At 9:44, Copeland claims that Numbers 32:20-22 (KJV) should be considered a “soldier’s promise.” He implies that the good soldier will come back from battle and be “guiltless before the Lord and before the nation.” Copeland, with Barton agreeing, then says (at 10:41):

Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me. 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 then exhorts PTSD sufferers to rebuke intrusive thoughts and other symptoms by attributing them to Satan. At 11:32, Copeland says, again with Barton agreeing:

In the name of Jesus, take your hands off my mind Satan! In Jesus name, Satan, you take your hands off of God’s property right now. You come out and come down, you stop it!

Before they go on to another set of verses, Barton interrupts, affirms Copeland’s words, and adds that many of the heroes of Hebrews 11 (Hall of Faith) were warriors. He adds that warriors who fight in a just war should be esteemed.
There is so much wrong in this broadcast, it is hard to know where to start and when to end. First, the verses are not general promises to those who fight in a just war. If Copeland would have read the entire chapter of Numbers 32, it would have been clear that these directives were issued to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Verse 23 reads: “But if you (adult males of the tribes of Reuben and Gad) will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” God gave a warning to the tribes of Reuben and Gad because of their initial unwillingness to fight with the rest of the tribes for the purpose of taking the Promised Land across the Jordan.
Furthermore, the word “guiltless” as translated in the KJV is misleading. In the NIV, verse 22 reads: “then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the LORD and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.” The KJV’s guiltless is better translated, “free from obligation.” In other words, God wouldn’t hold Reuben’s and Gad’s initial resistance against them if they agreed to go fight with the other tribes to take the land. However, if they didn’t fight, they would have been in obligation to God and their brethren. The word guiltless does not mean what Barton and Copeland apparently think it means.
Such constructions really annoy Southern Baptist ERLC communications director, Joe Carter. Carter told the Religious New Service:

This isn’t the first time Copeland and Barton have been “profoundly ignorant about theology and history,” said Joe Carter, an editor and communications director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
“But 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,” Carter said. “Rather than downplaying the pain of PTSD, they should be asking God to heal our brothers and sisters.”

As an aside, Carter’s reaction deserves a post of its own.
Back to the topic, even though I suspect that Copeland and Barton believe they are being helpful, I have to agree with Carter.  Barton’s and Copeland’s view of PTSD is dangerously naive.  A good quick resource on PTSD can be found on the NIH website.
Barton and Copeland should read it.
When I watched Copeland’s exhortation to “stop it!” I immediately thought of this skit, where the therapist is about as helpful as Barton and Copeland.

Abortion and David Barton’s Theometeorology

It is all over Twitter. Salon and Right Wing Watch have stories about David Barton’s claim that legal abortion has triggered climate change and all sorts of other weather problems. Barton’s theometeorological pronouncement came during an appearance on Kenneth Copeland’s television broadcast. You can watch the segment here where he begins talking about abortion and the weather at about 18:55. Watch until the end to get the context.
At that point, Kenneth Copeland says that storms and hurricanes and murders don’t just happen. Barton agrees and adds that since we (meaning the U.S. I suppose) have embraced a wicked policy (legalized abortion), then God will take away his hand of protection. Because of God’s absence, then Barton claims:

Whap! Here comes storms like we’ve never seen before, here comes floods like, and here comes climate stuff that we can’t explain, all the hot times and all the cold times. Too much rain and not enough rain; we’re flooding over here, and we got droughts over here. And you know back in the early America days, when something like that happened, first thing they did was issue a call for a national day of prayer, repentance, humiliation, fasting and prayer. We have screwed up somewhere. We gotta get God’s help to get blessings back on this nation. And today we’re saying ‘oh no, it’s global warming.” No, we opened a door that lost God’s protection over our environment and that’s our choice.

Even if there was some theological merit to this line of thinking, the facts don’t support the link made by Barton and Copeland, as far I can tell. Just looking at hurricanes (this seems fair since Copeland specifically mentioned hurricanes), the worst hurricane in the U.S. was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The National Weather Service ranks U.S. hurricanes by number of deaths, cost and intensity. Most of the deadliest hurricanes happened before Roe v. Wade.

In fact, Katrina is the only hurricane after Roe v. Wade in the top ten. I only count seven hurricanes which happened after Roe v. Wade in the top 52. When it comes to cost (see the NWS report for that), the most recent hurricanes top the list because the amount of the losses are not adjusted for inflation. However, in terms of intensity, only two of the top ten storms occurred after Roe v. Wade. In terms of numbers of hurricanes, there has not been an increase in recent years. In fact, the NWS report says: “Table 6, which lists hurricanes by decades since 1851, shows that during the 40-year period 1961-2000 both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply.”

No support for the thesis there.

The murder rate (also mentioned by Copeland) does not support the theory. As I pointed out in an earlier post, violent crime including the murder rate has been falling since the early 1990s. The murder rate now is lower than it was in 1961.

When it comes to floods, prior to the current Colorado floods, the worst flood in history is the 1927 Mississippi River flood, followed by the 1937 Ohio River flood (this flood is famous in my home town of Portsmouth, Ohio since flood walls were built in response). While climate change may indeed bring about long term weather changes, including increased flooding, it does not appear that one can accurately associate meaningful weather disasters with the Roe v. Wade decision.