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Groups protest televangelist Kenneth Copeland's Fort Jackson appearance over PTSD comments

SC Army National Guard unit deploys for 1 year to Kuwait (copy) (copy)

A televangelist who has drawn fire for his views on PTSD and the Bible will go forward with his appearance at a prayer breakfast Thursday at Fort Jackson in Columbia.

Several veteran groups have protested Kenneth Copeland's attendance at the event.

In 2013, Copeland said the Bible supports his contention that post-traumatic stress disorder does not affect true believers.

According to Newsweek, Copeland quoted the Book of Numbers 32:20-22, saying “So this is a promise — if you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war … you shall return, you’re coming back, and be guiltless before the Lord and before the nation.

“Any of you suffering from PTSD right now, you listen to me,” Copeland added. “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.”

Veterans groups say PTSD continues to affect thousands of soldiers who have served during conflict, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many have not received the full treatments they deserve.

Some say his invitation should be revoked.

"It is simply outrageous for the U.S. Army to give the stamp of approval to someone who tells our men and women in uniform to reject their doctors, and reject medicine, when they suffer from PTSD," votevets.org, a left-leaning advocacy group, said in a media statement.

"Men and women have taken their own lives because they have not gotten the proper treatment for the horrible mental wounds of war they suffered," the group added. "People like Copeland only make it harder on those suffering to seek out the help they need."

The opposition to Copeland's visit was arranged by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

The base released a statement saying Copeland's appearance was not an endorsement of him or any comments he may have made. Representantives of various faiths will be at the national prayer breakfast event.

"Fort Jackson respects and protects all individual's rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, including ensuring access to religious services and events for those who wish to participate and protecting the rights of those who do not," the statement read in part.

Copeland operates Kenneth Copeland Ministries on a 1,500-acre campus near Fort Worth, Texas.

His group issued a statement saying Copeland's position is to not discount the power or need for medicine in healing.

"God is not competing with doctors or medicine," their note said, adding, "... Brother Copeland is certainly not against doctors or medicine, and we thank God for the gifts and abilities He has placed in the medical profession." 

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Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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