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Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military
The New York Times ^ | April 26, 2011 | James Dao

Posted on 04/27/2011 2:59:57 PM PDT by arderkrag

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — In the military, there are more than 3,000 chaplains who minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of active duty troops, regardless of their faiths. The vast majority are Christians, a few are Jews or Muslims, one is a Buddhist. A Hindu, possibly even a Wiccan may join their ranks soon.

But an atheist?

Strange as it sounds, groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military.

Joining the chaplain corps is part of a broader campaign by atheists to win official acceptance in the military. Such recognition would make it easier for them to raise money and meet on military bases. It would help ensure that chaplains, religious or atheist, would distribute their literature, advertise their events and advocate for them with commanders.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: atheist; chaplain; military
Here's my only issue with this: In my opinion, being told by an atheist "chaplain" that there's nothing after death is more likely to depress a soldier as opposed to firing him up.

Yes, I know this was printed yesterday - It somehow missed my notice.
1 posted on 04/27/2011 3:00:04 PM PDT by arderkrag
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To: arderkrag

chaplain comes from “chapel”

Do atheists have chapels?
Who knew? To do what? Talk to themselves?

Next they’ll want “holidays”


2 posted on 04/27/2011 3:03:32 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: arderkrag
At least the atheist chaplain won't be in any foxholes.

What's next, Jehovah's Witness chaplains who wander from foxhole to foxhole in pairs?

3 posted on 04/27/2011 3:05:16 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! Tea Party extremism is a badge of honor.)
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To: arderkrag

This would officially classify atheism as a religion, and then subjecting it to all of the scrutiny and issues of other religions.


4 posted on 04/27/2011 3:05:16 PM PDT by Suz in AZ
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To: arderkrag

Then atheism is a Religion if they want a chaplain.. does this mean it can’t be taught in schools?


5 posted on 04/27/2011 3:06:53 PM PDT by scbison
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To: arderkrag

BTW, let’s have a contest to design the collar insignia for an “officially recognized” atheist “chaplain”

I nominate a little smiley face with the motto “Don’t worry, be happy”


6 posted on 04/27/2011 3:07:35 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: arderkrag

Is this satire?? Instead of giving a dying soldier his last rites, they’ll tell him he’s just “dust in the wind”.


7 posted on 04/27/2011 3:08:42 PM PDT by rbg81
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To: KarlInOhio

Did you hear about the Jehovah’s Witness who married an atheist?

Their kid grew up going around knocking on doors every Saturday for no particular reason.


8 posted on 04/27/2011 3:09:45 PM PDT by silverleaf (All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing)
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To: KarlInOhio

You’re just opening things up for the Mormons on bicycles!


9 posted on 04/27/2011 3:13:37 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: rbg81


"All we are...is dust in the wind, dude."
10 posted on 04/27/2011 3:15:49 PM PDT by arderkrag (Georgia is God's Country.----------In the same way Rush is balance, I am consensus.)
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To: arderkrag

I’ve always said atheists have a religion, it’s called Humanism.


11 posted on 04/27/2011 3:23:41 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (Death to tyrants)
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To: silverleaf
"Did you hear about the Jehovah’s Witness who married an atheist?"

No, but I heard of the two atheists fishing in a leaky rowboat. They would stop fishing and bail occasionally. Soon he boat sprung a major leak. One atheist looks at the other and says, "We might drown. You'd better start praying." The other atheist says, "I don't know how to pray. I'm an atheist." The first atheist says, "Well, I once attended a Catholic function. I'll give it a try." He folds his hands, bows his head and intones, "Under the B-12. Under the O-64."

12 posted on 04/27/2011 3:27:46 PM PDT by davisfh (Islam is a mental illness with global social consequences)
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To: arderkrag

Why not? Atheism certainly requires as much faith as any other religion...


13 posted on 04/27/2011 3:28:49 PM PDT by EasySt (2012... Sometimes you have to flush twice.)
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To: arderkrag
What possible comfort can an atheist offer a dying soldier? "Uhh, well, it sucks that you're dying, but you've had a good life, and the worms will thank you?"

I swear, my country is going to hell.

14 posted on 04/27/2011 3:35:03 PM PDT by backwoods-engineer (Any politician who holds that the state accords rights is an oathbreaker and an "enemy... domestic.")
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To: arderkrag

Send them to the Unitarian chaplains: that’s close enough.


15 posted on 04/27/2011 3:36:29 PM PDT by MSF BU (YR'S Please Support our troops: JOIN THEM!)
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To: arderkrag

Soldier: I just don’t know, I am scared to the bone when we getinto a firefight...

Atheist Chaplain: Son, it doesn’t matter...

Soldier: But surely you might have some suggestions for me to control my fear...

Chaplain: It doesn’t matter son, think of your self as a dust mote in an impossibly large universe. Think of yourself as that mote just blowing in the wind...

Soldier: Uh...Is their nothing else you can give me. Is there no takeaway?

Chaplain: Think of the universe as a beach of sand and your job is to leave your footprints on that beach....

Soldier: Only to be washed away with the next tide?

Chaplain: Yes, you can recognize the beauty of that image?

Soldier: I think I’ll go see Father Mulhaney...

Chaplain: It doesn’t matter son.

Soldier: Yes, it does you moron....(mutters as he walks away...”God, he quotes Sartre to me when I need some support here.”


16 posted on 04/27/2011 3:41:01 PM PDT by texmexis best
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To: arderkrag

I don’t quite get this idea. Atheists do not believe in a higher, supreme being or consciousness. So what exactly would an atheist ‘chaplain’ preach? Is the rejection of all religions actually a religion?


17 posted on 04/27/2011 3:42:09 PM PDT by DesertSapper (God, Family, Country . . . . . . . . . . and dead terrorists!!!)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: silverleaf
Next they’ll want “holidays”
They just had one ...

19 posted on 04/27/2011 4:12:05 PM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: arderkrag

While this probably has ulterior motives, I can imagine one legitimate reason to have an atheist chaplain. Solely as an ombudsman for when atheists are being abused for not being religious.

The military has a problem with idle personnel. It is generally equated with mischief. This often meant that “You either go to church, or you get extra duty.” Slacking off is not seen as an option.

By having an atheist chaplain, there will at least be a supervised, dedicated area for atheists to hang out, while others are at church.

Likely the atheists will still be slacking off, but not in the barracks, and not running free. This is acceptable to NCOs.

More to the point is when soldiers are actively abused for not being religious. This is actually fairly *uncommon*, but when it does happen, there is a great hue and cry, so it gets noticed.

Oddly enough, the most common disputes are not between the religious and the atheist, but between sectarians, who confuse their particular sect’s doctrines as military policy; and those who get hung up on the “church and state” argument, who overstep on what is permitted in the military, usually over things like religious ornamentation, necklaces and prayer beads.

Likewise, there is much confusion over religious minorities.


20 posted on 04/27/2011 5:26:39 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: arderkrag

I’m not going to question the motivations of any atheist who serves our country honorably... I just, from a religious perspective, how you can “minister” to people who by their own admission are not religious?


21 posted on 04/27/2011 6:39:16 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: arderkrag

Someone needs to remind these atheists that dying soldiers beseech for two things: Mom and God. Both love the dying soldier, both will mourn their death and both would rejoice the eternal salvation if the dying soldier was committed to God before his passing.

Our enemies fanatically believe their death in combat is truly rewarded in Paradise. This is why they are so dangerous.


22 posted on 04/27/2011 7:54:36 PM PDT by Molon Labbie
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To: arderkrag
During my time in the Corps, the chaplains I knew could pinch hit for any other team in the League.

Remember the photo of the LT CMDR Joseph T. O'Callahan on board the USS Franklin, praying with the burned sailor?

Somehow, I can't see some half-assed Commie atheist giving the Last Rights to a Sailor with a shattered liver and then saying Kaddish over a Marine with both legs gone.

23 posted on 04/27/2011 10:26:41 PM PDT by jonascord (The Drug War Rapes the Constitution.)
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To: jonascord

Thanks for your service.


24 posted on 04/28/2011 5:50:17 AM PDT by onedoug (If)
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To: arderkrag; LiteKeeper; P-Marlowe; Kolokotronis; blue-duncan; wagglebee; wmfights; Lancey Howard
As a military chaplain (retired), I can see a few problems with this. First, Congress (via military regulations) has determined that any chaplain must be endorsed to the chaplaincy by an agency representing their denominational ministers. IOW, they have to have sufficient organization to agree on a review board that looks at both denominational qualifications and physical/mental qualifications of those fit to serve on active duty. The atheists would have to come up with such an agency and some review process about qualifications of a group that doesn't yet exist. (Not saying they can't get that together, but it could take some time.)

2. The atheist chaplain would have to provide general religious support to those not of his faith group. IOW, he'd have to help the catholic soldier get catholic help, and the baptist soldier get baptist help, etc., etc. He would NOT be permitted to tell them to take a hike.

3. He is also required by law to conduct worship for his faith group. I don't think there is any doctrinal consensus among atheists on what that would even begin to look like. Additionally, he'd have to arrange for such worship for those not in his faith group when in a job that requires him to be with soldiers.

4. He is to provide counsel to the commander on matters of morale as touched by religion. He is to provide/arrange counseling for families, individuals, etc. He is to conduct weddings, funerals, etc. All of these things would have to be redefined.

5. Finally, he is to be a symbol of hope in darkest hours that speak of death. His symbol would be "kiss your ass goodbye, 'cause once you bite the dust here, it's all over there, too."

25 posted on 04/28/2011 10:59:10 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain & proud of it: Truly Supporting the Troops means praying for their Victory!)
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26 posted on 04/28/2011 11:21:13 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: xzins

HOOAH!


27 posted on 04/28/2011 7:30:03 PM PDT by LiteKeeper ("Who is John Galt?")
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To: EasySt

er...not trying to start a Holy War but I completely disagree. Atheism is about not having enough proof to believe...nothing more.


28 posted on 05/24/2011 11:35:11 PM PDT by YoungBlackRepublican
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