NPR did a story about Rock Beyond Belief that featured an interview with Justin Griffith and with Rachel Medley, the atheist member of the Golden Knights that parachuted in to the event (she was awesome, I got a chance to talk to her for a while backstage).
The story also talks about the issue of having an atheist chaplain. I had a talk with Justin about this and I think it’s a good idea, though I would make it a humanist chaplain. They aren’t actually looking to have unit-level atheist chaplains, but to have one higher up in the chain of command to give atheists a seat at the table and to allow them to hold meetings on base, something Griffith’s group at Ft. Bragg continue to be denied. The Pentagon says all chaplains must be sponsored by a “qualified religious organization,” which is what prevents it from happening. But I wonder if maybe they could get the UU church to sponsor a humanist chaplain who is an atheist? Maybe it’s been tried.
Notice in the video below how completely irrelevant the response is from the spokesman for the National Association of Evangelicals. When asked about the idea of an atheist chaplain, he says nothing at all about the merits of the idea. He only says that evangelicals support the troops and that most of them wouldn’t understand the need for an atheist chaplain. As if either of those things had anything to do with the question. Maybe that’s just bad editing on the part of NPR, but if that’s the full answer he gave I don’t understand why it was even quoted. He might as well have said, “I like french toast.”