Ever since US Rep Jared Polis (D-Co) tried to specifically authorize atheist chaplains in the US military there has been one misrepresentation after another over what the government is “required” to do, or what atheist troops even want.
The most interesting argument is that Congress cannot require a Chaplain to be “religious” because of the Constitution’s prohibition on “no religious test” for public office. It’s a bit pedantic, but at least you can see the (attempted) logic of the argument. (Given the language and reasoning of George Washington’s creation of the military chaplaincy, and even Congress’s own centuries-old chaplaincy, it is unlikely that such semantic gymnastics were their intent.)
Another repeated but misrepresented claim has been that the Appropriations bill amendment sponsored by US Rep John Fleming (R-La) did “nothing” (according to atheist Jason Torpy) because the current regulations allow non-theistic chaplains, so long as their organization is endorsed by the IRS. A PhD writing a blog at the Huffington Read more
Update: The House passed the Appropriations bill along with the amendment referenced below requiring chaplains to have endorsers — effectively prohibiting non-theistic chaplains (along with any new endorsers). Rep Doug Collins (R-Ga) accused atheist activists of having the real goal of covertly undermining the entire institution of the military chaplaincy.
The Obama Administration has threatened to veto the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, saying it is too generous with military pay and too stingy with civilian pay.
As a point of clarification, the Defense Appropriations Act is a distinct entity from the Defense Authorization Act (or NDAA), which has been the point of focus for the past few months. The Authorization Act describes how the US DoD is “authorized” to organize and operate; the Appropriations Act “appropriates” the money to accomplish that end.
The appropriations bills were actually already passed by each house of Congress, but have yet to come out of conference committee.
Additionally, the recent push for atheist chaplains has now generated an official Congressional response — twice. First, US Rep Jared Polis (D-Co) offered an amendment (#295) to the authorization act that would have permitted 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
The Wall Street Journal noted President Barack Obama appointed openly homosexual Army veteran Brenda “Sue” Fulton to the US Military Academy (West Point) Advisory Board.
Fulton is USMA Class of 1980, the first West Point class to include women. She is also part of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, an activist organization toward DADT repeal. Another member of the “forum,” retired Navy Chaplain (CAPT) John Gundlach, recently called military members’ religious opposition to repeal “bigotry.”
The WSJ notes her appointment puts Read more