Arthur, an Australian, comments on the National School Chaplaincy Programme which will support chaplains who help with students’ “spiritual and emotional wellbeing.” There are chaplains for just about every religious faith, and as it turns out, there are Humanist chaplains as well.
Arthur then talks about a Humanist chaplain that’s been in the news quite a bit lately: Greg Epstein of Harvard University. He draws some information from an interview Greg did with Humanist Network News.
He then writes the following which (I hesitate to say) had me laughing. Take a guess why that is:
[Epstein] sees humanist chaplains as part of a larger project to build a humanist community and institutions, and he also thinks humanists should get together and sing.
We also need to sing. We need to make the experience of being part of the humanist community sing, on a metaphorical level, to be able to read poetry together, and to sort of see the emotional side of life. But we also need to sing literally. Like you said, with Julia, to have those choruses. A song like John Lennon’s “Imagine,” great example.In short, Epstein seems like a really, really annoying person. But perhaps he serves as a model for the kind of chaplain that those “values neutral” humanist and atheist students in high schools should, by rights, be granted access to under the Howard Government’s chaplaincy programme.
Let me just add that I like Greg Epstein and respect what he’s been able to do at Harvard. Hell, putting together a conference of the caliber he did, with the speakers he had, was just incredible. Even if the singing is a bit hokey, it’s nice to know there’s someone you can talk to when you need some help– someone who’s not going to invoke God as a remedy for your problems.