A push has been on to get the military to allow the appointment of at least a handful of humanist chaplains to represent the needs of non-theistic members of the military. Naturally, the Republican party is totally against that idea and the House just voted for an amendment to forbid that from happening.
The effort to pass the ban was led by Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana. His arguments were predictably stupid and bigoted.
“The notion of an atheist chaplain is nonsensical; it’s an oxymoron,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, sponsor of the amendment to a House defense spending bill. He said it marks the third time the House has voted to insist the Pentagon appoint only chaplains certified by endorsing religious agencies…
“It is absurd to argue that someone with no spiritual inclination should fill that role, especially when it could well mean that such an individual would take the place of a true chaplain who has been endorsed by a religious organization,” Fleming said. “Opponents of my amendment make vastly exaggerated claims about the religious demographics of the military.”Fleming said less than one percent of service members identify themselves as atheists, “and all chaplains stand ready to serve any member of the Armed Forces, regardless of whether he or she shares the chaplain’s faith.”
Even if only one percent were atheists (and that isn’t accurate), so what? Make 1% of the chaplains humanist. It would hurt nothing and it would help those soldiers have some representation and someone they can talk to who isn’t going to tell them that God is looking out for them or wants them to do something. But when Republicans claim to “support the troops” they only mean the troops they approve of. Gay soldiers? They couldn’t care less. Atheist and humanist soldiers? Screw them.
Only two Republicans in the entire House voted against this amendment, one of which was Michigan’s Justin Amash.