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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  The Lobby  |  Topic: US Navy Says No to Atheist Chaplains; Members of Congress 'Relieved' by Decision
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 390
Unit: TBKS

« on: March 23, 2018, 11:30:42 PM »

https://www.christianpost.com/news/us-navy-says-no-to-atheist-chaplains-members-of-congress-relieved-by-decision-221962/

The U.S. Navy turned down the application of an atheist chaplain to serve in the Navy Chaplain Corps. The move comes after 43 members of Congress signed a letter warning that the very definition of what it means to be a chaplain is at stake.

Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) and Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) explained in a joint statement on Wednesday that the Navy made the right call in turning down the appointment of Dr. Jason Heap, the national coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason based in Washington, D.C., who first made the attempt under the Obama administration.

"The very definition of the chaplaincy was at stake here, so I am relieved to see the Navy's response," Lamborn said.

"Appointing a secular-humanist or atheist chaplain would have gone against everything the chaplaincy was created to do. I applaud the Navy for upholding a traditional definition of the chaplaincy, which has been repeatedly confirmed by Congress and the Department of Defense," he added.

"The installment of an atheist chaplain would inevitably open the door to a host of chaplains representing many other philosophical worldviews, thus eroding the distinct religious function of the chaplain corps to the detriment of service members."

Hartzler pointed out that the chaplaincy "is older than our country and was instituted by General Washington to meet the religious needs of his troops."

"This historic institution serves a vital purpose for today's service members, ensuring the free exercise of religion for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. I am pleased to hear that Navy has upheld the integrity of the chaplaincy," she said.

Over three dozen members of Congress had warned in their letter that if the chaplaincy were to be expanded to philosophical beliefs, rather than only religious faith, it would "not only undermine the very constitutional purpose of the chaplaincy," but it would create many additional application and administrative questions.

"Marxism, for example, is a philosophy that takes a position on religious issues, but is not itself a religious worldview," they noted.

"Allowing Dr. Heap to act as a chaplain would thus open the door to a host of chaplains representing many other philosophical worldviews, complicating the chaplaincy application process, and, over time, eroding the distinct religious function of the corps to the detriment of service members."

In an article in TheHumanist.com in March 2015, Heap argued that atheist chaplains are not an "oxymoron."

"Most English dictionaries recognize that, traditionally, a chaplain was equated with a religious minister who was attached to a secular institutional setting, though some dictionaries are slow and perhaps loathe to accept the inevitable sociolinguistic evolution of how context changes definitions," he argued at the time.

"The greater and more diversified work of nontheistic chaplains across the United States as well as around the world challenges the notion of any one particular, sincerely held belief having a monopoly on morality."

Conservative group Family Research Council said atheists should find other ways to serve rather than through the Chaplain Corps.

FRC President Tony Perkins wrote in a statement on Tuesday: "If the military wants to create specific programs for atheists or humanists, it can. There's no need to hijack the Chaplain Corps to serve them unless, as I suspect, the real goal had nothing to do with service to begin with. Either way, we salute the Navy for protecting the integrity of the chaplaincy, 'For God and Country.'"
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,610

« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 11:59:55 PM »

Atheism isn't a religion, it's simply the absence of belief, people get that wrong all the time,
primarily because most of the time the only atheists you see are the ones in the news advocating
removing a symbol from a water tower or a city insignia.

The majority generally don't care what other people believe or don't, any more then they
care if someone thinks they can fly like Superman, or that PayDay Loans are a good way
to manage personal debt.  It's irrelevant to them and not worth the time arguing.

So I can't begin to imagine how or why someone who is an atheist would or could serve
in the role as a "Chaplain" per se other then as some sort of misguided attempt at a political stance.

There's no reason atheists with the proper training and temperament can't serve as counselors
to help people with emotional issues, family troubles, etc., but "spiritual matters"?
They don't recognize those as a concept, so how can they be involved with them on any level?
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 390
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2018, 12:08:48 AM »

Atheism isn't a religion, it's simply the absence of belief, people get that wrong all the time,
primarily because most of the time the only atheists you see are the ones in the news advocating
removing a symbol from a water tower or a city insignia.

The majority generally don't care what other people believe or don't, any more then they
care if someone thinks they can fly like Superman, or that PayDay Loans are a good way
to manage personal debt.  It's irrelevant to them and not worth the time arguing.

So I can't begin to imagine how or why someone who is an atheist would or could serve
in the role as a "Chaplain" per se other then as some sort of misguided attempt at a political stance.

There's no reason atheists with the proper training and temperament can't serve as counselors
to help people with emotional issues, family troubles, etc., but "spiritual matters"?
They don't recognize those as a concept, so how can they be involved with them on any level?
I agree. More important, it appears that the DOD agrees.
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Fester
Forum Regular

Posts: 171

« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2018, 04:14:57 AM »

I don't agree that Atheists don't have a place in a Chaplain Corps. 

For the US Navy Chaplain Corps, "their principal purpose is to "promote the spiritual, religious, moral, and personal well-being of the members of the Department of the Navy," which includes the Navy and the United States Marine Corps." There are 4 facets of Military Personnel that the Chaplain Corps is meant to provide guidance and assistance for.  Only one is "religion."  If a Sailor is an Atheist and desires to have guidance for his spiritual, moral or personal well-being, he should be able to approach someone who believes the same as he does.... Atheist.

Beyond that, I wonder how they will address the violation of the 1st Amendment in the court cases that are surely to follow.
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abdsp51
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,547
Unit: Classified

« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2018, 06:12:42 AM »

I don't agree that Atheists don't have a place in a Chaplain Corps. 

For the US Navy Chaplain Corps, "their principal purpose is to "promote the spiritual, religious, moral, and personal well-being of the members of the Department of the Navy," which includes the Navy and the United States Marine Corps." There are 4 facets of Military Personnel that the Chaplain Corps is meant to provide guidance and assistance for.  Only one is "religion."  If a Sailor is an Atheist and desires to have guidance for his spiritual, moral or personal well-being, he should be able to approach someone who believes the same as he does.... Atheist.

Beyond that, I wonder how they will address the violation of the 1st Amendment in the court cases that are surely to follow.

No such thing as an Aethist in combat.  The Navy made the right call on this especially considering that the chaplains corp is there for all not just those of specific beliefs.  But then again you iberals have a hard time with reality.  There is no right to serve as a chaplain or even in the military.  There is no violation of the 1st amendment and in fact atheist violate the first amendment in regards to religion more than the government and orher groups.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 06:17:57 AM by abdsp51 » Logged
LSThiker
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,807
Unit: Earth

« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 08:29:05 AM »


No such thing as an Aethist in combat. 

Apparently I missed a memo
-Your fellow Combat Veteran Atheist

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Pace
CAPTalk Moderator
Dark S'Member Lord
*
Posts: 715

« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2018, 08:45:58 AM »

I'm just gonna stop this one now. Stop posting things on CAPTalk that are politically/religiously charged and have no direct involvement with CAP.
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Lt Col, CAP
Former C/Lt Col
Former this & that
Squadron guy
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