In early November Jason Torpy posted a profile on Jared Anderson, a man who presents himself as a chaplain endorsed by the Humanist Society. A former Mormon (Latter Day Saint) — or a current LDS who doesn’t follow LDS theology, depending on how you look at it — Anderson advocates “religious humanism.”
The nice thing about the United States of America is you can call yourself whatever you want. However, that does not mean you get to do whatever you want, nor that the government or society are required to support your choice (gender and pronouns notwithstanding, apparently).
That’s something Anderson apparently doesn’t understand, as he claims he wants to be a military chaplain (and the US military doesn’t have non-religious religious leaders) [emphasis added]: Read more
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists sent a letter (PDF) yesterday to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling on him to act to end “coerced religious observances” within the military. Alison Gill and Rebecca Markert write that
The complainants allege, among other things, that facility organizers regularly include scheduled prayer in graduation ceremonies, cadets who opt not to attend worship services on Sundays are instead given menial tasks to perform, and instructors regularly lead recruits in prayers prior to administering tests.
The letter provides no examples. It appears to Read more
In a revealing outcry, many “non-religious” persons have criticized the vote by the US House to prevent non-religious personnel from becoming chaplains.
In that vein, atheist Jason Torpy has tried to promote the premise that the Defense Appropriations amendment proposed by US Rep John Fleming (R-La) didn’t actually do anything, demonstrating the “ignorance” of the Congressman.
“The [amendment] only requires adherence to the applicable instruction, which in no way restricts chaplains to only those who believe in some higher power,” he said. “Their amendment does nothing…It just shows their ignorance about atheists, humanists, and military regulations.”
Actually, Torpy’s statement demonstrates his ignorance. The clear language of the amendment indicates it wasn’t written to restrict chaplains to “those who believe in a higher power.” Torpy simply erected a straw man. What it was intended to do was prevent non-religious personnel from entering the religious field of the chaplaincy — and that it clearly does. The amendment simply requires the DoD to continue Read more
Most popular press covered the religious freedom portions of the controversies surrounding the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Another interesting conversation, though, occurred with an official attempt by Congress to mandate atheist chaplains.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) offered the amendment to the [NDAA]. The amendment would have allowed humanists and other nonbelievers join the Chaplain Corps.
(The topic of atheist chaplains has come up many times before.) Polis said atheists were “denied” a “right” because they could not “confide in an adviser who is not a mental health professional.” The amendment was defeated, according to some reports, because it was “absurd.” (This was actually the second Read more