I don’t envy the military’s difficult position in upcoming decisions that will invariably need to be made as a result of the petition from the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers (MAAF).
MAAF is petitioning the Defense Department to allow Humanist Chaplains. The military has guidelines that a chaplain must have an “endorsing agency” which implies organized religion.
There are definitely different groups that fall under the general category of atheist and the term itself allows for individual freedom to choose what to believe regarding matters of a spiritual (or non-spiritual) nature. Organized religion is pretty much the exact opposite of atheism. And most atheists I’ve spoken with will fight tooth and nail to make it perfectly clear that atheism is NOT A RELIGION.
So my question then would be… why does a NON-religion need or want a chaplain? They don’t need someone to attend to spiritual matters. They don’t hold religious services. Counseling concerns can be handled by medical personnel. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see the point. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.
You can read more about the MAAF’s petition here.
And you can read the US Army’s Chaplain job description and requirements here.
Photo credit UK Ministry of Defence