Cruz: Chaplains Should Be Insensitive to Atheists

Ted Cruz continues his one-man crusade of absurdity, telling a group of homeschooling students that military chaplains should be insensitive to atheists in order to push them to believe in God. Oh, and it’s perfectly okay for them to lie about members of the military.

The possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate went on to cite a series of cases to assert that atheists were trying to destroy religious freedom in the United States.

“We have never seen an administration with such hostility to religious faith,” Cruz opined. “You know, last year, there was a chaplain in the Air Force up in Alaska who wrote in a blog post the phrase ‘There are no atheists in fox holes.’ He was ordered by his supervising officer to take it down.”

“I guess it was deemed insensitive to atheists. I kind of thought it was the job of a chaplain to be insensitive to atheists.”

After a round of applause, the senator added: “To welcome them into the forgiving arms of a loving god.”

A chaplain’s job is to support religious soldiers, not to lie about and attack non-religious ones. I can’t imagine how anyone could believe otherwise.

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  • Al Dente

    “I guess it was deemed insensitive to atheists. I kind of thought it was the job of a chaplain to be insensitive to atheists.”

    Actually, asshole Cruz, one of the jobs of chaplain’s is to improve unit morale. Being insensitive to certain members of a unit would decrease morale and not just among atheists. A theist soldier could easily think: “This Baptist chaplain has disdain for atheists, how will he treat Catholics like me?”

  • Al Dente

    Please ignore the grocer’s apostrophe in my post @1.

  • colnago80

    I suspect that this was just another case of Cruz pandering to his audience.

  • corwyn

    Re 2016: Is someone collecting (preferably video) evidence of him saying these things?

  • Abdul Alhazred

    Imagine the uproar if he’d said Christian chaplains should be insensitive to Jews to get them to believe in Jesus? Or if someone prominent in the Jewish community said that in the other direction?

    I won’t even get into the issue of {shudder} Muslim chaplains. Yes they exist in the US military.

    Is there such a thing as a non-denominational (not atheist as such) chaplain?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Come on, people! Don’t let Ed Brayton tear America apart with his divisive speech! Listen instead to Ted Cruz, because we’re all in this together, and us Real Americans are glad to have you work with us in making America a better place for us all, except you non-believers. And also, get out.

  • TxSkeptic

    Silly corwyn @ #4. Even if someone were collecting evidence of all of Cruz’s ridiculous statements, do you really think the Democrats would actually use these relevant criticisms against him? As much as it pains me to say, the Dems (leadership) have turned into a bunch of pansies afraid to make strong relevant criticism of anyone.

  • TxSkeptic

    Abdul @ #5, The AHA has been trying to get Humanist chaplains approved for some time now. Best I know it hasn’t happened yet.

    http://americanhumanist.org/news/details/upportumanisthaplainsnheilitary

    http://www.religionnews.com/2013/07/22/humanists-want-a-military-chaplain-to-call-their-own/

  • Akira MacKenzie

    Al Dente @ 1

    Chances are, a Catholic soldier wom’t give two shits about how they are treated since Catholic chaplins are in abundance. As long as the Baptist hates atheists as much as the Catholic, it’s all good.

  • bahrfeldt

    Now, it has been over forty years since I got off active duty, so I do not imagine that I have a good idea about what is going on there today. Then again, neither Cruz nor his daddy ever served in the military. Both my parents served in the Army in WWII and I still have my mother’s ETO ribbon with combat star (I agree, that is significant only to me and my family).

    .

    After boot camp, I cannot recall ever seeing let alone interacting with any chaplain. No one was proselytizing or criticizing anyone’s beliefs or lack thereof. No enlisted man went to Sunday services except a few on some holidays. There was no chaplain and no weekly services on any destroyer on which I served.

    .

    It is possible that Cruz believes he is a Christian, although I doubt it. He says anything to further his ambitions, whatever they actually are. Including trying to dictate everyone’s every word, deed and thought.

  • Al Dente

    Akira MacKenzie @9

    Quite often large units have only one or two chaplains. When I was on Submarine Group TWO staff we had sixteen submarines in the command and only one chaplain assigned to the staff (about halfway through my tour the Baptist chaplain was relieved by a Methodist chaplain). If someone wanted a Catholic chaplain they had to go somewhere else.

  • comfychair

    “It’s only hypocrisy when people I disagree with do it, because I am good and they are evil”? Sounds exactly like the kind of guy that could finally Turn This Country Around once and for all (and then Canada & Mexico can divide up the smoldering remnants however they see fit, I guess).

  • Michael Heath

    After a round of applause, the senator added: “To welcome them into the forgiving arms of a loving god.”

    The level of denialism required by Hell-believing Christians to falsely claim their god is loving continues to astound.

  • Synfandel

    Once again, a prominent Republican can’t tell the difference between “religious freedom” and “religious faith”.

  • http://blogingproject.blogspot.com/ Ingdigo Jump

    You know since part of military service is possibly quite literally trusting someone behind you holding a weapon, I’d be pretty pissed at any Chaplin that was making someone who might be in that position feel like “them” and not “one of us”

  • eric

    Once again, a prominent Republican can’t tell the difference between “religious freedom” and “religious faith”

    I think the more relevant point is that one again, a prominent Republican can’t tell the difference between “good thing to say on camera” and “bad thing to say on camera.” At least more than the Dems, they seem to be stuck with pre-internet habits; they play to the room but without considering how the millions of people outside the room will see it…because they will.

  • Anri

    A chaplain’s job is to support religious soldiers, not to lie about and attack non-religious ones. I can’t imagine how anyone could believe otherwise.

    But how exactly, do you support religious soldiers without attacking non-religious ones?

    I’m serious here.

    If your religion is true, then you believe that the non-religious are in for a bad turning, and that they brought it on themselves, and that they deserve it. How do you say “My god is a perfect, loving being who will sentence you to an eternity in the most unimaginably bad place ever unless you agree with him that you are horrid” and have that not be an attack?

    Unless, of course, you don’t actually believe it… in which case, you’re lying – the other side of the equation.

    Religion is inherently negative towards the non-religious. Not necessarily publicly, but I think unavoidably.

    What’s the point of being religious if you don’t think it’s superior to being non-religious?

  • eric

    But how exactly, do you support religious soldiers without attacking non-religious ones? If your religion is true, then you believe that the non-religious are in for a bad turning, and that they brought it on themselves, and that they deserve it.

    So what? If some idiot jumps off their roof and breaks their leg, I may think they deserve it, but I’m still going to help them out. Not be an a**hole who sits idly by, pointing at them and going “ha ha, you got what you deserved.” A chaiplain can likewise sincerely help a non-believer or believer in a different god/sect, when they are in psychological or spiritual pain. Willingness to help someone fix their immediate problems doesn’t require that one agree with them on every metaphysical or theological point. This is not a difficult concept – “that soldier may be going to hell but its still my moral and employment obligation to help him, right now.

    Now there may be some sects who claim that taking the a**hole role is religiously required. Those folks should frankly not be military chaplains at all. But if we are to be honest, that is not most sects by either number or population.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360322113 aaronbaker

    Well I’ve learned something valuable here: I like the phrase “grocer’s apostrophe.”

  • matty1

    @17 You assume that religious soldiers are best supported by having the chaplain recite what they think about non-believers. Maybe some people derive comfort from being told “God agrees with you about that guy over there” but I suspect most prefer that support be focussed on the one receiving it.

  • caseloweraz

    aaronbaker: Well I’ve learned something valuable here: I like the phrase “grocer’s apostrophe.”

    You would probably enjoy the 2003 book by Lynne Truss on this subject. Written with a tone of faux outrage, it became an instant best-seller in Britain. It is (AFAIK) the source of the phrase “greengrocer’s apostrophe.” The title is Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

  • caseloweraz

    Cruz: “You know, last year, there was a chaplain in the Air Force up in Alaska who wrote in a blog post the phrase ‘There are no atheists in fox holes.’ He was ordered by his supervising officer to take it down.”

    And rightly so — it was inaccurate. Here’s how that chaplain should have worded it:

    “There are no atheists in Fox [News] holes.”

  • gridlore

    The job of the Chaplin Corps is to both provide religious services and serve as a source of aid and counseling outside the normal chain of command. Any soldier should be able to go to the Chaplain, no matter what their respective faiths are, and get help.

    Possibly the greatest expression of what the Chaplains can do came during Desert Shield. Imagine being a Jewish soldier in Saudi Arabia. The network of chaplains in the Big Beach worked together to set up a way for us to celebrate Yom Kippur and other holidays right under the eyes of the Haia. My ver Southern Baptist Chaplain told me that working to let us worship in the face of oppression was the most humbling thing he had ever done.

    But yeah, chaplains are there for everyone, and they are actually forbidden from actively trying to convert people. So Ted I never served” Cruz needs to shut up.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    The question of how chaplains should deal with those of different faiths or atheists’agnostics is not, unfortunately, academic. As Ed has pointed out on numerous occasions, there are plenty of arrogant assholes like Gordon Klingstoshit who deliberately flout the rules and regulations in order to satisfy their LIVING GOD–even if he only lives in their fucking warped imaginations.

  • cjcolucci

    eric and gridlore have it exactly right. You may be an exemplary cleric in your own sect, but if you sign on to be a military chaplain, you do the job of a military chaplain. If your religious beliefs are such that you can’t minister to the spiritual needs of persons outside your own sect, or can’t refrain from trying to “convert” them to your sect, you have no business in the damn job. Maybe what you really want to do, what you think God wants you to do, is more important, on some scale, than that job. I’m not going to argue about that. But it’s not the job. If it doesn’t suit you, don’t take it; don’t take it and then do something else.