Update: Jason Torpy revived the issue enough to generate a Navy Times article, though it contained no new information. In fact, a Navy official reiterated a point made below — even humanists can’t really put bounds on a definition of “humanism:”
“Humanism’s not a defined term across the country,” the official said. “There’s a group of Jewish Humanists. The Humanist Society was once the Humanist Society of Friends, a Quaker organization.”
The official, referring to Heap, continued: “I don’t know that he represents a religious organization by any accepted definition.”
Tom Carpenter, a former Marine pilot and one of the founders of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — the homosexual advocacy group that lobbied for the repeal of DADT — has attacked the Navy chaplaincy for not approving the chaplaincy application of Jason Heap, a self-described non-theistic humanist. Tragically, if not predictably, Carpenter seems to base his attack on “evidence” that does not exist [emphasis added]:
…The Navy Chief of Chaplains rejected the application of Jason Heap, a highly qualified chaplain candidate who would have been the first Humanist military chaplain. All the evidence leads invariably to the conclusion this decision was based upon a Constitutionally prohibited “religious test.”
What public evidence is there the Navy rejected the application based on a “religious test?” None whatsoever.
Carpenter implies — repeatedly — the Navy Read more
The US Air Force Academy recently reminded its cadets and staff that they have access to free, confidential counseling virtually anytime they want it through the Military Family Life Consultants:
The four Academy MFLCs can meet with service members, their families, Defense Department civilians, or cadets on- or off-base to provide situational, problem-solving counseling support and Read more
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
Update: A broader official view of the Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) can be seen at the official website.
In addition to providing chaplains and psychologists, the US military is also making contract civilian clinical counselors available to those who want confidential counseling. From the Army National Guard site on the subject, the DoD provides Military Family Life Consultants (MFLCs) who
are licensed clinicians with a Masters Degree and at least five years of experience in social work, counseling, or a related clinical discipline.
While psychologists or visits to base Mental Health might generate attention, the MFLC program is specifically designed to be Read more
The Air Force assignments in Korea are generally one-year remotes, meaning Airmen are stationed in Korea for a year while their family waits back home. That doesn’t mean the Air Force stops supporting their families and helping them strengthen their marriages. In fact, the opposite is true:
A Marriage Care Retreat hosted by the Kunsan AB Chapel from Aug. 8-10 here gave them and 20 other couples the chance to work on their relationships.
The Kunsan Chapel intended the Marriage Care Retreat to be a means for those “physically separated from their spouses to still connect with them,” though it also Read more