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
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 Army recently decided to add “humanist” to the list of options that Soldiers could declare as their religious preference. From the LA Times (also repeated in the Stars and Stripes):
There may be no atheists in foxholes, but there soon will be a few humanists. The U.S. Army has heeded the plea of Maj. Ray Bradley that he (and others of his kind) receive a “preference code” similar to those accorded to members of traditional religions.
Much has been made of the change and, granted, humanist “adherents” have been calling for the change for some time. In the end, though, even advocates admit the addition really does little other than changing a moniker in a file, despite other declarations:
In practical terms, the change means Read more
Despite Chris Rodda’s claim that highlighting the US military’s support for all of its troops — including atheists — is somehow bad, Jason Torpy of the one-man Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers recently praised Fort Bragg for doing just that:
Ft Bragg chaplains showed openness to nontheists in allowing the [Niose] event at Watters Family Life Center on Ft Bragg. This is a positive step forward, showing openness from the chaplaincy and community-building by the local humanist community.
While it undermines the MRFF narrative that the US military is a coercive Christian complex, it remains true that the military supports all of its servicemembers, without regard to religious belief, to the extent the mission and resources allow.
Unfortunately, Torpy went beyond that topic and attempted Read more
The article below is a guest submission from NoKoolAidZone:
Central North Carolina Atheists and Humanists, a Fayetteville, North Carolina based secular organization that is a chapter of the American Humanist Association, have laid the groundwork for a speaking engagement on Fort Bragg. David Niose, the president of American Humanist Association will be speaking in support of his current book, Non-Believer Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans. Mr. Niose will be speaking at the Watters Family Life Center on September 22nd, at 12 PM, or to the military members who will show up 1200 hours. This speaking engagement, while organized by CNCAH was given life with the approval of the Fort Bragg Chaplaincy since the Watters center is Read more
US Army Major Ray Bradley wants military records to be altered so he can express his religion as “humanist,” which is not currently an option.
[Bradley] can’t be designated as a humanist on his official records or dog tags, although he can be classified as an atheist.
The distinction may not seem like a large one to those unfamiliar with humanism, but the Fort Bragg-based officer says it’s the equivalent of being told that “Christian” is an acceptable designation, but not “Catholic.”
“Humanism is a philosophy that guides a person,” Bradley said. “It’s more than just a stamp of what you’re not.”
As to the confusion about whether atheists are humanists, or vice versa: Read more