Baltimore Sun Supports Humanist Lay Leaders in the MIlitary

The Baltimore Sun has a wonderful editorial in support of “humanist lay leaders in the military, a position Capt. Ryan Jean is trying to obtain:

What’s certain, however, is that the military needs to be accepting of those who do not believe, and that apparently hasn’t always been the case at Fort Meade and other military bases. Chaplains and religious lay leaders have been accused of treating atheists either as moral pariahs unfit to wear the uniform or trying to convert them to their personal religious beliefs regarding God and salvation. Service members who describe themselves as atheists have complained of religious bias against nonbelievers and a lack of sensitivity to their needs for affirmation and a sense of connectedness to a community of like-minded individuals.

That’s no more acceptable for a chaplain or lay religious leader than refusing to respect the beliefs of the service’s other recognized religions or denominations. Commanders must demand that those entrusted with caring for the spiritual needs of troops refrain from proselytizing their personal religious convictions.

If today’s chaplains and lay religious leaders can’t bring themselves to respect the beliefs of such men, both of whom performed courageously in battle, the fault lies not in their faith, whatever it may be, but in the narrow, intolerant way they — and the armed forces — have chosen to interpret it.

The military needs to act swiftly on this. There’s no reason to deny Humanists the title they want, especially after so many religious leaders have screwed this up so badly.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/blog JD

    The military needs to act swiftly on this.

    No, they need to think it through, as you obviously haven’t.  Notably, you add three sentences to the quoted article without directly addressing any of it.

    Simply put, how can the military run a program for which there are no criteria?

    There’s no reason to deny Humanists the title they want…

    You mean non-organized individuals should be able to demand the military create a system to recognize their non-organization and assign them titles for which they don’t qualify?  That makes sense.

    so many religious leaders have screwed this up so badly.

    Screwed what up?  “Religious leaders” generally have little to no say in what “title” humanists get.  You provide no other antecedent to “this,” neutering your accusation.

    • Renshia

      “Simply put, how can the military run a program for which there are no criteria?”

      It is statements like this that completely negate anything you have to say. It is obvious that you know nothing about humanism and what it stands for.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism

      Look into it when you are not so ignorant of  what you are talking about then come back and have a rational conversation.

      • http://www.christianfighterpilot.com/blog JD

        Your reply indicates you know nothing about what you just read.  The comment was about the military, not humanism.

  • dauntless

    How can a Humanist justify joining the military? I consider myself a Humanist and I could never justify killing or belonging to a group that endorses killing.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    Christians just love to get non-Christians on a CQ or guard duty roster for holidays.  Because we couldn’t possibly have families we want to spend time with, right?  We have nothing to celebrate, and would just go crack a can of Spam, right?

    And I know all these Christians are  spending these sacred days kneeling in front of an altar,  just like right-wing CEOs are beginning each board room meeting with a reading of the beatitudes.


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