Atheist Chaplain Analyzes USAFA Whiteboards, Freethinkers

Chris Stedman, the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, took to the Religion News Service to express his view on recent events at the US Air Force Academy. Specifically, he addressed Todd Starnes’ comparison of how USAFA took down a Bible verse recently and censored Christian cadets in the past — but allowed atheists to advertise their beliefs. Stedman said:

The stated reason for removing the Bible verse—attempting to ensure that no person, perhaps particularly religious minorities, feels coerced or discriminated against—is a good one…Thus, Starnes has the comparison between that incident and “Ask an Atheist Day” backwards: they were both attempts to encourage a more inclusive environment, not to encourage atheism or silence the voices of others.

This is similar to the argument other atheists and even Mikey Weinstein have made: In essence, muzzling or restricting Christians is good, because doing so creates an “inclusive” environment.  Similarly, supporting or promoting atheists — but not Christians — is good, because it is “inclusive.”

The claim is ludicrous. It reflects bias and prejudice rather than principle. Religious freedom and “inclusiveness” is promoted not by silencing one and supporting another, but by allowing all. Naturally, the simple question becomes how does the government create an “inclusive” environment — one that would include Christians — by restricting some religious expression but promoting others? The fact is, you can’t. Stedman’s assertion that such an environment is “inclusive” is asinine.

As a “humanist chaplain,” one would hope Stedman would be more open minded to equally supporting all beliefs, rather than encouraging a government entity to promote the one with which he aligns and restrict the one he doesn’t like.