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Should Atheists Be Chaplains in Military?

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Mark
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« on: April 29, 2011, 08:01:28 am »

Should Atheists Be Chaplains in Military?

The head of the largest representative body of chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces and Veterans Administration doesn't think so.

A New York Times article this week highlighted the case made by humanist organizations and atheists that humanist chaplains are needed to serve nonbelievers in the military. One humanist group has asked for an audience with the chiefs of chaplains to discuss the proposal.

Weighing in on the issue, Paul Vicalvi, executive director of National Association of Evangelicals Chaplain Commission, which represents over 1,200 chaplains in the military, said he was "puzzled" when he heard of the request.

Speaking to The Christian Post, Vicalvi, a retired Army chaplain of over 30 years, said he doesn't see the logic behind humanist chaplains.

"Traditionally chaplains are seen as a person of a higher power faith. It would redefine the chaplaincy if a non-faith person becomes a chaplain," he said.

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nuclearnuttery
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2011, 10:57:19 am »

Vicalvi's puzzlement is understandable. What they are suggesting, although reasonable on the surface, carries with it the suggestion not only of humanism but actually of human worship, two different things.

If you guys are familiar with the "Primarch" and "Imperial Cult" from Warhammer 40k, this will sound very familiar.
He (the leader of the HUNDREDS of human-populated planets in the year "40,000"), is apparently the only entity recognized within his EMpire worthy of worship or mention as receiving such. He is the perfect picture of an "antichrist" figure, a Romanesque god-emperor who sends the scourge of the Space Marines to any planets which buck his authority.

Setting the precedent for "humanist chaplains" might also set the tone for literal "worship of our leaders".
Are the "humanist chaplains" going to be the "first sergeants" and "priests" for the O.W.L.?
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Mark
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 11:20:33 am »

Vicalvi's puzzlement is understandable. What they are suggesting, although reasonable on the surface, carries with it the suggestion not only of humanism but actually of human worship, two different things.

If you guys are familiar with the "Primarch" and "Imperial Cult" from Warhammer 40k, this will sound very familiar.
He (the leader of the HUNDREDS of human-populated planets in the year "40,000"), is apparently the only entity recognized within his EMpire worthy of worship or mention as receiving such. He is the perfect picture of an "antichrist" figure, a Romanesque god-emperor who sends the scourge of the Space Marines to any planets which buck his authority.

Setting the precedent for "humanist chaplains" might also set the tone for literal "worship of our leaders".
Are the "humanist chaplains" going to be the "first sergeants" and "priests" for the O.W.L.?

Hundreds? The God-Emperor of Mankind rules over a million worlds. Ill have to report you to the Ordo Hereticus.
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nuclearnuttery
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 01:05:23 pm »

Hey now for RR reading I did remember quite a lot!
It's my spouse's book XD.
The part about the Cult was scary! And the "gene seed" etc @@
Very "transhumanist" for sure! But strangely fascinating.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 06:45:00 am »

Group Claims Military Needs Atheist Chaplains

The president of American Atheists David Silverman says the U.S. military needs atheist chaplains.

Silverman acknowledges the claim may sound contradictory, but he insists atheist troops need chaplains they can turn to for counseling and moral support.

rest: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/July/Group-Claims-Military-Needs-Atheist-Chaplains-/

what??  Roll Eyes

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Kilika
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 01:26:40 pm »

Quote
atheist troops need chaplains they can turn to for counseling

Isn't that what humanists/atheists call a psychiatrist?
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 08:14:56 am »

Atheists in the Military Are Demanding Their Own Chaplains

Atheists and humanists serving in the U.S. military are leading an organized push for official recognition of their own chaplains, or something akin to chaplains. They contend that they are being left out, even though they say they outnumber participants in established religions.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis said he can see a case for accommodation if the numbers and organization justify it, but he believes there could be problems with a humanist chaplain who does not believe in life after death.

“A chaplain is providing encouragement to those who believe in the hereafter, primarily in the U.S. military to Christians,” Maginnis, a senior fellow for national security with the Family Research Council, told CNSNews.com. “If you get someone who says, ‘Sorry, if you get killed, you’re just going to become a potted plant. There’s no hereafter,’ that would not be terribly motivating, especially to a military that goes to war.”

There are as many as a dozen self-identified atheists or humanists in the military who are seeking status as a "humanist lay leader" equivalent to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim clerics who minister to troops, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, fewer than 10,000 of the 1.4 million active duty members identify themselves as atheists or agnostic.

Maginnis stressed that the military is an organization comprising all sorts of beliefs, adding that anyone who embraces the values of mutual respect and protecting the country should be allowed to serve and be promoted. Still, he said, there is a religious history to the U.S. military.

“You cannot teach just war theory without invoking the history of Christianity, because you go back to St. Augustine and others who have espoused just war theory, which is fundamental to how we fight wars in the United States,” Maginnis said.

“It has a very clear religious history. You can picture George Washington at Valley Forge for instance. The things described about Washington are that he was a Christian praying man. We just happen to have that as a history,” he added.

The Chaplain Corps goes back to the continental army. Also, service academies required cadets to attend chapel services until the 1970s.

Former Army Capt. Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, contends the number of humanists in the military is between 10,000 and 40,000 and argues that many who do not claim a religious preference are likely atheists.

His organization, which he said has been a 501(c)(3) organization for five years, is leading the charge to install humanist clergy in the military.

Torpy said that under current rules, Catholic chaplains refer Muslims to Muslim military clergy, while a Muslim clergy is obligated to direct Jewish members of the military to a Jewish military clergy and so on. But, he said, humanists are left out when it comes to a support system.

“Those are all putting them in touch with their people,” Torpy told CNSNews.com. “So in that way, humanists can provide that same service and just as important, all the currently serving chaplains who are Jewish or Hindu or Muslim need to provide that connection and that support and that recognition and affirmation to humanists as well.”

Under the current practice, he said, the Department of Defense is using a religious test for public office, something that is specifically prohibited in the Constitution, and a standard that is biased toward theistic religions.

“The Department of Defense has kind of a definition of religion, but they only have one kind of religious test for public office,” Torpy said.

Torpy said it depends on how one defines religion.

“My organization also works with the humanist society and the American Ethical Union, both organizations that hold this church tax exemption, because the IRS does not discriminate on whether a church is monotheistic, or polytheistic or pantheistic or non-theistic,” Torpy continued.

“So the question is why the military having this test is not providing that same answer in the same way,” Torpy added. “The concern is that they have, they say, well, we only do our kind of religion. If you’re monotheistic, that’s OK. If you have many gods or maybe if you think the universe is God – polytheistic or pantheistic – that would be alright.

“But if you’re non-theistic, if you have your community, and your marriages and your deaths and your births and your values and your ethics, if you approach that in a non-theistic way, you don’t have God or the supernatural, then we’re going to reject support for you,” he said.

Torpy said the numbers are on their side.

“Self-identified atheists, which are a subset of the humanist population, that’s a larger [military] population than Jewish or Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims,” Torpy said. “So we are a significant minority that does need to be recognized.”

While Maginnis has a different world view, he sees some case for accommodation if the numbers are significant and they are organized like other religions.

“I can understand if you want to have psychological encouragement from someone that has a non-existent god view,” Maginnis said. “Maybe there is room for psychological counselors. That’s essentially what I would see an atheist chaplain doing. They are going to talk about life being where we are now and making it the best that it can be.”

“It seems to me if they have a large representation in the military and they see the chaplaincy as an encouraging mechanism, then there probably should be some sort of accommodation,” Maginnis added. “But they have to be organized just like any religious faith.”

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/atheists-military-are-demanding-their-own-chaplains
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2014, 09:17:15 am »

Christian Military Chaplain 'Condemned' for Telling Soldiers His Faith Helped Him Battle Depression

A military base in Georgia has been accused of unjustly punishing a Christian chaplain for sharing his faith during a training class on suicide prevention.

Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn was given a "letter of concern" from a superior at Fort Benning for explaining to the class about how his Christian faith helped him through his depression.

Colonel David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, delivered the punishment.

The Plano, Texas-based conservative law firm the Liberty Institute sent a letter on Tuesday to Col. Fivecoat regarding the matter, and has requested a response by later this month.

Mike Berry, director of Military Affairs at the Liberty Institute and author of the letter, told The Christian Post that Chaplain Lawhorn "retained Liberty Institute" on the weekend "after he received the letter of concern."

"We are still awaiting a response from the Army. We hope to receive a response by Dec. 15," Berry said.

Berry also told CP that there are many provisions in the laws of the United States that protect a person's right to express his or her religious beliefs while in uniform.

"The Constitution, federal law, and military regulations all make clear that religious expression in the military is not only permitted, but it's protected," he added.

"Congress recently strengthened religious freedom for service members in the FY13 and FY14 National Defense Authorization Acts (Sections 533 and 532, respectively)."

According to Fivecoat's letter of concern, the issue surrounding Lawhorn's actions during the suicide training class was that he was "perceived to advocate Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions."

"You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side," said the letter, courtesy the Army Times.

"This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information."

The letter, which Fivecoat said would be placed in Lawhorn's personnel file for at least three years or Fivecoat leaves the command, also stated that Lawhorn is "entrusted to care for the emotional wellbeing of all soldiers in the battalion."

"You, above all others, must be cognizant of the various beliefs held by diverse soldiers," continued the letter of concern. "During mandatory training briefings, it is imperative you are careful to avoid any perception you are advocating one system of beliefs over another."

Regarding what rights Lawhorn had to express his Christian faith, Berry of the Liberty Institute told CP that under the circumstances, Lawhorn's actions were not only acceptable but commendable.

"The Army also recognizes that suicide is a growing problem within its ranks, and it identified spiritual fitness as a key component to combatting soldier mental illness and suicide," Berry argued.

"Clearly, Chaplain Lawhorn's actions — trying to save the lives of his fellow soldiers — were protected under law and military regulations. In short, he should have been commended, not condemned."

http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-military-chaplain-condemned-for-telling-soldiers-his-faith-helped-him-battle-depression-131062/
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