For the second time, the US Navy has denied the application of Dr. Jason Heap to become a “humanist chaplain” in the sea service. A Navy board had supported his appointment; when word of that decision leaked, members of both the House and Senate wrote the Navy in protest. Those congressmen have now revealed that the Navy has rejected Heap’s application, again.
Heap’s application as been widely opposed by religious liberty groups, largely because humanism isn’t a religion — and the chaplaincy is religious.
On that point, Hemant Mehta, the poorly Read more
Though not officially announced, a few websites and organizations have revealed that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility (CARE) Advisory Group has recommended that Jason Heap, an atheist, be appointed a US Navy chaplain. (The official silence may be because CARE’s decision was leaked in violation of Navy policy, which dictates the sessions be “closed” with members forbidden from “discussing deliberations or recommendations”.)
Heap had previously sued the Navy over its denial of his application to become a chaplain. The lawsuit was largely dismissed, though some claims proceeded. One site claimed the suit was subsequently “settled” under unpublicized terms.
Navy regulations say the CARE group is primarily composed of senior chaplains and other senior leaders. CARE ensures the “full spectrum” of professional qualifications is considered when someone applies to be a chaplain. The objective, in context, is to prevent people from becoming chaplains just because they meet the bare minimum requirements.
CARE’s role is to validate Read more
An anonymous US Air Force officer recently published an article on the Family Research Council’s blog entitled “Unmasking the DOD’s Endorsement of the Humanism Religion.”
When you hear the word “religion,” does Humanism immediately come to mind? Probably not. However, pragmatically and legally, Humanism is just as much of a religion as Christianity and Islam. This article articulates the claim that the DOD has endorsed the religion of Humanism by promoting the LGBT movement.
It’s a bold statement — and one that might make sense. In its basic form, humanism simply replaces the deity of religious mantra with humanity; that is, rather than believing God is the ultimate source of truth, humanists believe the source of truth is man. Thus, it is from man humanists derive their moral authority.
From this the author derives the position that the LGBT movement relies Read more
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is billed as the world’s largest workplace charitable campaign. It allows federal employees, including members of the US military, to allot donations from their paychecks to a variety of non-profit organizations. While “charity” can sometimes be stereotypically religious, the CFC allows government workers to donate to everything from the Family Research Council to Planned Parenthood.
One regional campaign chose an interesting set of artwork for the cover of their listing pamphlet:
Those who keep up with religious issues in the culture will immediately recognize the symbol of secular humanism, as epitomized Read more
Along with Sikhs, Humanists, homosexuals, and transgenders, another group seeking “official” US military recognition is heathens. Writing at Religion News Service, Kimberly Winston — normally RNS’s atheist hired writer — recounts the stories of self-described military heathens who want to put “heathen” on their dog tags:
Jeremiah McIntyre wants to be called a Heathen.
The 38-year-old Army sergeant follows the old Norse religion Asatru, in which the god Thor swings his hammer in the sky and Odin rules a heavenly place called Valhalla. Should McIntyre die, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would allow a hammer of Thor on his tombstone.
But the Army does not otherwise currently recognize the active-duty soldier’s faith…
That much is true, as has been previously discussed more than once. Winston then digresses into what she perceives as affronts to the unrecognized heathen masses: Read more
Jason Heap, a humanist who applied to become a US Navy Chaplain, has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination over his rejection:
Religion scholar and former youth minister Jason Heap filed suit Wednesday along with the organization backing him, the Humanist Society, alleging that the military unfairly passed him over earlier this year not because he lacked qualifications, but because he doesn’t believe in a traditional religion.
There are a few high hurdles Heap has to overcome. First, he has to prove the Navy “passed him over…because he doesn’t believe…” Remember, the Navy previously said less than 50% of the Chaplain applicants were approved. Heap has to prove that he was rejected because of his non-theistic beliefs, and not for any reason similar to Read more
In an ongoing lawsuit involving a self-described humanist inmate in Oregon, a Federal district court held that “Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”
Interesting to see how this will be received on both sides — particularly since being lumped with religion might bring “baggage” as well as benefits.
Via the Religion Clause.
Update: Jason Torpy, UCC endorser Stephen Boyd, and US Army Major Ryan Jean have announced their intentions to provide a briefing to Congress on the need for a humanist/atheist chaplain. Their announcement repeats the misleading fact that many in the military declare “no religious preference.”
US Rep John Fleming (R-La) again added an amendment to the annual Defense Appropriations bill that would prevent chaplains from being commissioned in the US military if they don’t have a proper endorsing agency. Because non-theists don’t have a religious endorsing agency required by military regulations, his bill has the effect of preventing atheists or humanists from becoming chaplains; Read more