In 2012, then-US Army Major Ray Bradley complained that he was a humanist but was unable to put “humanist” in his military records as his “religion” in his military records (and reflected on his dog tags).
In 2014, the US Army added “humanist” to the list of faith codes.
In a new memo dated 27 March 2017 (PDF), the DoD Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs published a change that established standardized DoD-wide faith codes across the force — including “Humanist.”
For his part, Bradley had originally envisioned the recognition as the first step to achieving “lay leader” status as a humanist (with humanist “chaplain” to follow). That’s the same conclusion for which Jason Torpy pined when his MAAF reported on this new memo.
Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service — sitting 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
Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston* writes about Jason Heap, a humanist trying to become a chaplain in the US military.
Heap’s goal is not assured. He fits the requirements…The only thing he does not have is an endorsement from a religious organization approved by the Navy.
And there’s the rub: Heap is a Humanist…The Humanist Society — like all organizations that represent nonbelievers — is not among the Department of Defense’s list of approximately 200 groups allowed to endorse chaplains.
Ultimately, the article does little more than try to keep the concept of “atheist chaplains” (which have been discussed ad nauseum) in the media, and it says little new.
On the other hand, the article does include a fascinating response from DoD spokesman LtCmdr Nate Christensen on “why there are no nonbelievers Read more
Jason Torpy, former US Army Captain, atheist, and one-man band that is the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently commented on the study of religiosity and World War II veterans originally discussed here and announced back in May. (The article at Religion News Service was written by Kimberly Winston, whose reporting on atheism was apparently the product of a generous donation from an atheist benefactor, Todd Stiefel.)
Torpy said [emphasis his]
The research also found that 28% of Pacific Infantry never prayed, even during heavy combat, so the study proves more than disproves the service of atheists in combat.
Torpy then contacted an (atheist) doctoral student, with Read more
Writing at TheBlaze, Billy Hallowell raises questions about the ethics of the Religion News Service (RNS) after he describes their decision to accept funding from an activist atheist — without publicly acknowledging they had done so.
The Stiefel Freethought Foundation (SFF), a hub for the atheist movement, has given $65,000 [to the Religion News Service] over the past two years to help fund coverage of non-believers and the so-called “freethought” movement. The organization, run by atheist millionaire Todd Stiefel…, has a very clear goal of organizing atheists, while spreading and advancing non-belief.
Under a section entitled “Accomplishments in 2011,” the [SFF] site reads, “SFF donated $50,000 to Religion News Service to bolster its coverage of freethinkers with a series of news, investigations, feature stories and photos.”
Hallowell says “most” news organizations would find this relationships “suspect,” and questions if the donation might influence the tone of reporting:
Taking money from a special interest group in the faith sphere causes one to wonder how rigorously — or honestly — the subject of atheism was explored.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Hallowell is referring to the issue raised here regarding the RNS reporting of Kimberly Winston, who has written veritable “press releases” for atheists. These articles have included stories on the atheist counter-Christian “Rock Beyond Belief” organized by atheist Army SGT Justin Griffith, which was an event Read more
The atheist Rock Beyond Belief festival has received a fair amount of press recently, though it has mostly come through a variety of outlets repeating a single story originally written by the Religion News Service.
Kimberly Winston of RNS wrote “Military atheists get ready to ‘rock beyond belief,’” which, while a noble effort, still largely came across as a press release for the atheists. (By contrast, the ChristianPost had a somewhat more thorough article. In full disclosure, the ChristianPost article does cite ChristianFighterPilot.com extensively.)
What Winston failed to disclose in her original story is Read more
Not everyone can be right all the time, but when it comes to journalists, you think they’d at least try.
Reprinted at the Huffington Post, Religion News Service writer Kimberly Winston wrote on the recently approved “Rock Beyond Belief” to occur at Fort Bragg next spring. Her article reads like a press release, not a news report. Explaining the background of “Rock Beyond Belief,” she says
[Rock the Fort], staged by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, received more than $50,000 in financial support from the base, according to records obtained by local atheists through the Freedom of Information Act.
As the Army already pointed out, that’s a mischaracterization of the “records obtained.”
Winston then makes a statement that is known to be categorically untrue: Read more