He Makes Sense To Us Because We Don’t Dare Question Religious Authority

Capt. Ryan Jean is the atheist who’s trying to become a “Humanist lay leader” in the Army. It’s not quite the role an official Chaplain would have — he wouldn’t even get paid — but it’d give him the opportunity to facilitate discussions about religion with Foxhole Atheists who aren’t being serviced by religious chaplains.

Father Jonathan Morris knows nothing about that distinction. Hell, he doesn’t even know what this story is about. He keeps complaining about how atheists want to become chaplains — something Capt. Jean’s story isn’t even about — and completely ignores the real reasons we want someone in that position: Religious chaplains don’t understand how to reach out to people like us. They do a piss-poor job of addressing our needs because they always invoke the supernatural.

Craig James, on the other hand, knows exactly why we need atheist chaplains:

On the face of it, an atheist chaplain does seem a bit odd. But the truth is that chaplains provide a wide array of spiritual, emotional, philosophical, psychological and social services to our men and women in arms. The military is a place where men and women are taken from normal society, taught how to shoot guns and drop bombs, and then sent off to foreign countries to kill and injure other human beings. They’re separated from parents, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives and even their own newborn babies. These soldiers, some still teenagers, are ill-equipped to handle the moral, psychological and social traumas that they’ll face while serving our country.

The Chaplains in our military are the first and best resource that these young soldiers turn to for help when faced with the awful reality of war. Yet Father Jonathan Morris seems to think that atheist and agnostic soldiers don’t deserve the critical services of a chaplain.

None of that matters to Father Morris. He can’t get over why these atheists want a chaplain! And he appeared on Fox & Friends to complain about it:

It’s amazing how the folks at FOX News couldn’t even bring themselves to invite Capt. Jean or a Foxhole Atheist to represent the other side of the story… nope. Just a one-sided discussion and an awful one at that. The hosts’ reaction to Morris is just a sad sight to behold.

It doesn’t matter to me if you call them Chaplains or not, but there’s no reason to deny atheist soldiers a service that every other soldier has access to. The more we fight for one, the quicker we’ll get one.

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.

  • Anonymous

    I forget where I read this but another thing worth noting is the matter of privacy, which applies to chaplains (not sure about lay leaders). Apparently in the military you are not afforded the right of confidentiality by mental health professionals. So depending on what you tell them, it could affect your job. Chaplains on the other hand do have to keep your interactions with them to themselves. This provides a vital venting mechanism for soldiers, since they know they can go to someone to tell them what is tormenting them without having to fear it will get to their superiors.

    Nonreligious soldiers on the other hand are denied even this basic service, since they have no guarantee that the chaplain will tend to their needs responsibly, instead of adding to their woes by condemning them for their nonbelief.

    • Anonymous

      The problem with strictly atheist – or more correctly: humanist – chaplains is that they’d still have to minister to everyone. Would every humanist really be comfortable with holding a very religious ceremony and discussing spiritual topics with a strong Christian? Would an evangelical Christian be comfortable with such a chaplain? It goes both ways. UU chaplains may be a compromise and there are some, but not many.

      But this is a different issue altogether. Having atheist lay leaders would mean getting some official support and being able to meet on base. That would be huge progress already

      • Lisa Chan

        You mean like the Christian chaplains who must address Wiccan issues? Yet do not hold their beliefs and are directed to send notice to an injured soldier’s coven in the event of a serious injury so the coven members can send ‘healing energy’?

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_usbk.htm

        • Anonymous

          Christian vs Wiccan is maybe an extreme case, but with most belief system – especially monotheistic ones – they at least share a belief in the supernatural and a god that’s very similar. The specifics differ, but their outlook on spiritual things is similar on a very basic level. I think that can go a long way to find some common ground.

          And make no mistake. There would be some friction between a good number of Christian chaplains and Wiccans.

          These problems arise on smaller bases or on deployment where there is only one chaplain around and literally no one else to refer to someone to

  • http://twitter.com/fester60613 I May Be Crazy

    Father Morris is a fatuous prick who makes a fortune from his book and whoring himself to news outlets. He has the smarmy “poor you” attitude worn so easily by the holier-than-thou citizens of the Vatican. He’s a mouthpiece, a tool, a soft-spoken intellectually challenged goon with a million dollar smile, a pretty face and excellent teeth.

  • Len

    The number of factual errors in the story is surprising to me, though it shouldn’t be really.

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

    there’s no reason to deny atheist soldiers a service that every other soldier has access to.

    Atheist soldiers have the same access to chaplains as “every other soldier.”  Atheist soldiers have the same access to religious counseling or secular counseling as “every other soldier.”
    Disagree?  Prove it, rather than continuing to make unsupported accusations that are nothing more than empty canards.

    • Anonymous

      Christian soldiers have access to Christian chaplains. Jewish soldiers have access to Jewish chaplains. Muslim soldiers have access to Muslim chaplains. Hindu soldiers (fewer than 1000 total) have their own chaplain as well. Nonbeliever soldiers, who make up the second most numerous group after Christians, have no chaplains. How is that “the same access”?

      Saying that atheist soldiers have the same access to chaplains as every other soldier is like saying that gay people have the same access to marriage as straight people, because they are free to marry someone of the opposite sex.

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

        Statistically, you’re generally incorrect with regard to minority religions, as the faith of the chaplain is most likely to be Christian.  That said, they all have the same access to Chaplains, just like the atheist does.  There is never a guarantee the chaplain will be the same faith as the soldier seeking counselling.

        Nonbeliever soldiers, who make up the second most numerous group after Christians…

        That’s 0.5% of the military, for those who have bothered to look at the numbers

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          And yet, according to you, they get the EXACT SAME LEVEL of service that you do.

          Prove it. Links to publicly available independent studies that include raw source data, or you’re using anectdotes as data.

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

            according to you, they get…

            You read something into that comment that’s not there.  No such statement was made or implied.

            • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

              Ah, thank you so much for admitting that. So as it turns out, atheists don’t have the same level of access or guidance from (random faith) chaplains that you want us to think they d0, and there is in fact an actual need for atheist chaplains. 

              Good job doggie, you get a biscuit. Next: opposable thumbs.

    • Anonymous

      Every soldier should have the right to seek counsel from someone who holds similar metaphysical assumptions and not be berated by someone of another view (or faith). 

      When the chaplaincy is fixed, maybe we can talk…but the chaplains were deregulated so that all non-catholic/orthodox christians were lumped together as “Protestants” and the military has been flooded by extremely conservative sects. 80% of the MRFF’s tens of thousands of clients are mainline Protestant (Methodist, Episcopal, some liberal Lutheran sects, etc) or Catholic, mostly complaining about being preached at for not being “real Christians”. Is it really that unbelievable that proselytization goes on (which is against the Chaplaincy’s regulations) with atheists as well as these marginalized Christians?

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

        Contrary to your repetition of Weinstein’s talking point, it is he and his MRFF who demand the military filter the “right kind” of Christian — something even the media pointed out a few months ago.

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          Right. Because nothing that happened at the AFA actually happened. It was all made up. Including the USAF reports that say that happened. Nope, none of it was real. Mikey is evidently omnipresent.

    • Anonymous

      Speaking from my experience in the British forces the article is quite correct in its assertion that there is no support for atheists, the base chaplain where I spent most of my 15 years rotated between various christian ministers, there was no Humanist Officiant in office at any time.

      Yes counselling is available, but that is either through the medical  officer or as post traumatic support, or the families officer, but what about the single guys who didn’t want to put their anxieties on medical record, and didn’t have access to the families officer, and didn’t want to be told to pray as a way to overcome their problem. 

      For the religious the chance to talk to someone not part of the establishment is available, at least it might appear to be, but I had a non-christian friend who felt the same, he wasn’t going to go to a chaplain who didn’t have the same superstition has him.

    • Dmacabre

      This is a pretty ignorant reply that shows the poster has made no real attempt to even think about the question at hand.

    • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

      Oh JD aren’t you cute. So you’d have no problems with a PCS to a location where your only chaplain was a muslim, who invoked Allah constantly? 

      I think we all know that you’d be whining to the base commander and the IG really quick on that one claiming your “spiritual needs” weren’t being properly met. You’d be polite, because, well, you have to, (at least as much as you’re capable of. Pilots always had odd definitions of “polite” in my experience.)

      So just like our hypothetical muslim-only chaplain base, or a base without a jewish chaplain being rather unable to properly help an orthodox airman, we see there is a difference between access to A chaplain, and access to a chaplain who has the correct background and training to handle the needs of his/her specific group. 

      Pro Tip: When you’re going to be all accusatory?

      a) Don’t do it in a civilian forum where no one has to give a fuck about your grade.
      b) Don’t do it while playing stupid word games.

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

        Personal feelings are irrelevant, despite the fact yours are on full display.

        The US military does an admirable job of providing for the spiritual needs of all of its servicemembers through the services of the chaplaincy, regardless of the religion of either the chaplain or the servicemember.

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          That’s irrelevant to my question. A baptist doing an “admirable job” of providing jewish rites and advice is not the same as a Rabbi doing it, just as a Rabbi is not going to really be able to properly minister to the spiritual needs of a Pentacostal AG. 

          That would be why the Military tries to get a wide variety of chaplains. If they agreed with your opinion that any chaplain is as good as another, why bother? Just grab christians and use them. 

          The fact that they do try to recruit rabbis, imams, and spiritual leaders for other faiths shows they understand, unlike you, that no, any old port in a storm is not good enough. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but whenever possible, the military tries to provide a relevant cross-section of faiths at their various installations.

          *By That Token*, there should be atheist chaplains. (spare me the word games, they’re as stupid coming from you as the atheists. In military terms chaplain is an AFSC/MOS as much as a religious title, and it is in that sense that an atheist ‘chaplain’ is needed.)

          You’re really not good with people who don’t have to care about your officerness, are you.

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

            A baptist doing an “admirable job” of providing jewish rites…

            That statement displays an immense amount of ignorance about the military and the chaplaincy. You might consider educating yourself about the topic you’re discussing so authoritatively.

            there should be atheist chaplains

            By your semantics, there ARE atheist chaplains. The field is called different things in the different services, like behavioral health, mental health, or psychiatry. They are specialists who provide non-religious counseling.

            If you’re going to assert that the military needs to provide positions for people who preach an ideology of atheism, then its a different story. To win that battle, you’ll have to convince the government atheism is a religious ideology. Not even atheists, as a group (if there is one), agree on that.

            • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

              Well, I was only in the USAF for seven years, from ’86 to ’93, B-1B DAS at GFAFB for almost all of that. 

              as far as the rest, there’s a critical difference between chaplains and the rest of the things you list, namely privileged communication. 

              I also love how you have now made chaplains naught but preachers. If that’s the case, then why allow them to perform any secular duties? As you point out, there are an adequate number of qualified mental health professionals in the military to handle any and all non-religious needs, such as non-religious counseling. 

              If there’s no need for chaplains to do this, why then would it be a critical part of their AFSC?

              You really do suck at arguing when you can’t force the other person to back down. But then, pilots always did suck at that.

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

                If privileged communication is what you want, any person who goes to a chaplain receives the same level of communication protection.  Likewise, any person who goes to a mental health specialist gets the same protection as any other who sees those specialists.  It does not matter whether the servicemember in either case is religious or not.

                To your point, a logical “freethinker” would be arguing for adding privilege to these other fields, not for adding non-religious positions to a religious field.  You apparently haven’t thought that through.

                The rest of your reply makes little sense.  You have a repeated tendency to read into a conversation dialogue that isn’t there.  If you want to have a conversation with your own assertions, feel free.

                • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

                  Nonsense. Logically, you would want to expand the ONE career field, chaplains to include atheists et al rather than trying to expand, in a rather significant manner, many career fields. Expanding the chaplaincy here is an order of magnitude simpler. But then you don’t feel all special about the sky god thing.

                  It’s also cute, Maj. Dowty, how you consistently vacillate between no, one size fits all is not good enough for the chaplaincy when it affects you, but it sure as shit’s good enough for atheists and the areligious. 

                  Make up your mind kiddo, you can’t have it both ways. If “one size fits all” doesn’t work for theists, then it doesn’t work for atheists either.

                • His Shadow

                  Hear Hear!

    • Parse

      Hey JD,
      Are you still bullying those who can’t respond?

      For those not in the know, Major Dowty  has attacked and defamed non-Christian military folk by name.   Since they’re below him in rank, it’s insubordinate for them to respond – if they do, it can lead to prosecution and punishment.

  • David McNerney

    Is it not that the title is a poor choice for an atheist role?  “Chaplain” implies a religious connotation.  It leaves it open for idiots like this to equivocate (what they do best).

    • Anonymous

      Hence his title of “Lay Leader”…which is an unpaid role within the chaplaincy corps…in any event, you’re still dealing with people who share your metaphysical assumptions…that’s closer to religion than to mental health.

    • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

      haters gonna hate. The role of the chaplain is a specific one in the military with certain unique features, (like privileged communication.) I get you hate the title, but really, an “atheist chaplain” post in the military is a very good thing.

  • Johannsone

    I know this is a serious issue, but I May Be Crazy – your statement made me chuckle. Only idiots like the interviewer, the idiot and the crazy viewers fail to see the honesty in your statement. You must be crazy!
    On the other hand, technically they do have the same access to chaplains as believers. They are more than welcome to schedule an appointment with the chaplain at any time and talk about how their lack of faith has driven them to ask so many questions and wander the world so lost. The chaplain has a friend he’d like the atheist to meet, Jesus. Apparently he is life changing.
    The unfortunate truth is not that the soldier has no access to counseling, but that he has no access to counseling that maintains the barrier of privacy. The best chaplains will remain neutral, despite their beliefs, and will minister from a human level not a religious angle. Of course religion through the ages has taught us that it is anything but fair and or human. It is sad to me that we can’t retreat from the center of religion in the military. People are changing, learning, relishing their freedom to chose religion or not chose religion. The military is taking the road less travel by not setting a precedent against religious grouping/affiliation. I remember when my Dad served, you either were Catholic or Protestant, any thing else was considered odd and unnecessary and downright weird. If the military treated warfare with the same slow growth close mindedness, we’d still be fighting with bayonets. It will take time, but it will happen. Any long standing institution takes decades to shake the dust off its thought processes to make any remarkable changes. Generations from now, hopefully, we’ll shake our heads at the thought of non believers hiding in shame and fear of retribution. Kind of like I do today when I think of colored water fountains and segregation as a whole. What the hell were we thinking? Of course much like salves, soldiers are property. Once you sign up, you become property of the US Governemnt. As the old joke went when my Dad had trouble with a family issue “If the Army wanted you to have kids, we would have issued them to you”. Funny, but an unfortunate glimpse into the mentality of the military. Authoritative discipline. 
    Until you can affect change, seek outside counseling. Don’t sit alone and try to fend for yourself is the bigger message. Take up a cause, but make sure these soldiers are getting the help they need. I’ve seen first hand how war and the military lifestyle can destroy a man (or woman). Suicides, divorces, assault, murder. Not exclusive to military life, but a high enough occurrence to make sure everyone has equal access to confidential, safe & comfortable counseling. You shouldn’t have to suffer through prayer to get help, that just adds to the burden for a non believer.

  • Anonymous

    Problem 1: anything on Fox is biased and bigoted – not worth the time to watch it.

  • Benjamin Kay

    It’s amazing how the folks at FOX News couldn’t even bring themselves to
    invite Capt. Jean or a Foxhole Atheist to represent the other side of
    the story… nope.

    How could they? They don’t believe that foxhole atheists exist.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

      The military is a place where men and women are taken from normal society, taught how to shoot guns and drop bombs, and then sent off to foreign countries to kill and injure other human beings. They’re separated from parents, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives and even their own newborn babies.

    Oh for fuck’s sake, can people please bother to learn anything about the damned military? No, it is NOT a place where you’re “taken” from normal society. You volunteer. Really. No one “took” me away. I walked into the military of my own free will, a decision I’m STILL glad I made. Nor is the primary purpose of every military person to kill people. Or even a secondary one. I spent seven years fixing B-1B Avionics. In NORTH DAKOTA. This will come as a shock, but I wasn’t training to kill a commie for mommy, or even Saddam. I was training to…fix airplanes. That’s what I did. Not every branch of the service is the Marines or even the Army. The Coast Guard, as a rule, doesn’t do a lot of close-quarters combat.

    And, the military, far more than the civilian world, bends over backwards to avoid separating families unless necessary. Combat does queer that up a bit, duh, but when you’re not shooting at people, you aren’t casually separated from your family. It definitely happens, (as it does in the civlian world. I know a *lot* of people whose jobs require insane amounts of travel. They’re “separated from their families, even their own newborn babies, where’s the crying about that?)  but this doof is making it sound rather different than the reality. Maybe, and i know I’m being weird here, but maybe one should do some research on what one is talking about, and perhaps rely less on breathless hyperbole to make one’s point.

    Also, to be honest, the civilian world could learn a lot about leadership and morale from the military. There’s shit going on in civilian companies that would be outside the pale in the military, and ironically, the military has a *far* better infrastructure for dealing with fucked up situations than the civilian world does.

    • Dancer104

      Okay, rephrase.  For many people, the military is a place where men and women volunteer to leave normal
      society, many people taught how to shoot guns and drop bombs, and then many people sent off to
      foreign countries to kill and injure other human beings. Many soldiers are
      separated from parents, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives and
      even their own newborn babies.

      Now, onto the same point that Hemant is making.  Does this change his argument in the slightest? Nope.  Also, this would go even further to improve that “far better infrastructure” that the military has going for it.  I don’t see how you can be against helping those who DON’T end up in technical jobs in the military. Not saying you are, just saying that supporting them is perhaps more important than angrily pointing out a generalization that ultimately doesn’t affect his point.

      • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

        No one is against helping anyone. But when you paint the military with broad strokes that aren’t even close to right, you’re trying to change something you fundamentally don’t understand and cannot understand because you don’t really know what it is. The thing you think you’re changing isn’t real.

        If you approach the military as something it is not, you’re going to have a really hard time getting anything done. Look at the HUGE misunderstanding about what the role of a chaplain is, and the people, because of that, who are getting twisted over the title “Chaplain” without realizing that they VERY much want atheist chaplains in the military. If you don’t understand what you’re trying to change, you’re going to fail.

    • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

      “I spent seven years fixing B-1B Avionics.”

      I’m going to derail just for a second. Don’t you ever think you have nothing to do with killing people. You fixed “Bombers” the key word being “Bomb.” I too was in the air force for a bit, I worked egress. But, I didn’t have any illusions what soever on what I was working on. Killing Machines.

      • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

        Good Job Grasshopper, you are now a master of the obvious. You mean all those systems devoted to rockets and bombs WEREN’T secretly for dispensing LOLCat photos? You mean things like ‘Red Flag’ and “Bomb Comp” were actually practicing to do VIOLENCE????

        Oh.
        My. 
        God.

        sigh. why is it that people think maintainers are stupid?

        ANYway, even worse, that point has nothing to do with what was *said*. Here, read it again:

          The military is a place where men and women are taken from normal society, taught how to shoot guns and drop bombs, and then sent off to foreign countries to kill and injure other human beings.

         

        what, pray tell, does pointing out that no, that statement does not apply to “the military” have to do with your assumption that I, working on a cold war weapon during the cold war standing *Nuclear* alert, somehow had NO idea what the real purpose of the planes were there for.

        Wait, I’ll answer this: not a goddamned thing. But you had to get your one little non-point in somehow, (still unsure if you’re assuming ignorance or stupidity, either way, you’re wrong), so congratulations. Mission Accomplished.

        (we’ll leave off that during my service, ’86 – ’93, B-1Bs flew zero combat missions, so actually, yeah, I had nothing to do with killing people. But I actually do understand your larger point, it’s just that your larger point kind of sucks.)

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

      That’s why there are so many soldier suicides,right?

      • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

        ooooh, a big non-sequiter kiss for you. Again, read. I am not saying this does not apply to ANYONE in the military. I am saying it does not apply to EVERYONE in the military. Well the “taken from normal society” bit is just stupid. They are not taken, they volunteer. Big difference. 

        Not EVERYONE in the military is a combat troop. The navy, as it turns out, didn’t have a lot of ship action from either Iraq or Afghanistan. Aviation, yes, but the great Iraqi sub fleet didn’t seem to show up. Coast Guard. Air Force.

        The military is not just the army, and it’s not just ground troops even when you ARE talking about the army. That’s why statements about “the military” are so inaccurate so much of the time, because “the military” is not just one thing.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    The worst thing seemed to be the way end where Morris tries to claim that Ryan Jean and similar people don’t “represent” the majority of agnostics and atheists. Yeah, because Morris gets to decide that…

  • http://thatweirdatheistgirl.wordpress.com That Weird Atheist Girl

    “Makes sense to us.” 
    What makes sense to you? The misinformation that you just let that guy push? They all knew that he wasn’t asking to be a “chaplain” and he wasn’t asking to get paid for it. It said that wanted to be a “lay leader” right on the scroll before the priest started talking.  

  • http://www.onewildbook.com Doug Philips

    Note to Hemant and other commenters: I suggest we all stop referring to people like Jonathan Morris using their made-up imaginary titles. I prefer something like this if we need to demonstrate someones hierarchy in a made up religion: Roman Catholic priest, Jonathan Morris, or, Protestant minister, Slev Flanders, etc.

    I understand we all operate with a certain level of decorum and manners, but I suspect that the use of these titles lends a tacit acceptance of a certain level of authority and even a certain level of validation for these people’s status in their made-up belief systems.

    I recently went to a catholic church with visiting relatives and was introduced to the parish priest. I shook his hand and said pleased to meet you, John (instead of Father, or Father John). I wasn’t being rude; he was a friendly guy and I think he appreciated my friendly, “man-to-man” greeting. He also appreciated when I matter-of-factly stated that I was raised catholic but am now an Atheist (when asked what parish I attended). I suspect, like many of the priests in my High School, that John envies my path and would probably fancy a normal life that includes normal, un-closeted, sexuality with another human.

    Side-note: I couldn’t watch the video because Jonathan Morris is an ass-hat (sorry for the ad hominem) that makes my head explode.

    • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

      Why is “Priest” any more made up than “Doctor” as applied to non-MD’s? Pretty much every title is made up.

      • http://www.onewildbook.com Doug Philips

        Semantics. You know what I meant. Fine, titles are all made up. But medicine is a demonstrable scientific practice. Religions are make believe. I should have written, “stop using the formal titles that clerics use in their made up religions,” or something like that. Either way, my point was clear enough and you’re being overly technical.

        • http://twitter.com/nicoleglynn Nicole Glynn

          Priest do earn that title, though. Even if you don’t agree with the belief system, there are years of schooling involved in becoming a Catholic priest. 

          • http://www.onewildbook.com Doug Philips

            Nicole,
            That’s completely beside my point which seems fairly obvious. I could become the world’s foremost authority on astrology with a knowledge base that took 20 years to acquire and be dubbed, Doug, Universal Astrological Master First Class, but the underlying reality is that the subject matter that my title is based on is still make-believe. Where as if I become a Veterinarian and acquire the title of Dr., the subject matter is based in verifiable science and in my opinion, the use of the title as a matter of custom and politeness would be more deserving…though by no means required.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

            They call it “schooling”?

        • Bluebury

          I feel like you were referring to the “father” part of his title. as opposed to calling someone a reverend or pastor.  I don’t think I would feel comfortable calling someone “‘Father’ John” myself.   Is that what you were getting at? 

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          right. Because starting a stupid battle over titles will not become an inane distraction that people will focus on and stop doing any real work. That NEVER happens.

          Why are atheists so awful at “picking their battles”?

          • http://www.onewildbook.com Doug Philips

            dude, you have some serious issues.

            • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

              You’re the one wanting to start meaningless fights over titles that no one else really cares about, and *I* have issues. You need a mirror. Badly.

      • Rich Wilson

        It depends on whether you mean Doctor as in an earned PhD from an accredited institution, or Doctor as in honorary or degree mill.  And in THAT vein, I think ‘Priest’ is legitimate, since I don’t think seminary is any joke.  Might be all bullshit, but it’s a lot of bullshit.

        A title is always going to come down to an opinion, but at least some people do something substantial to earn theirs, rather than just having it bestowed.  Or in some cases, people get to the point that they self-bestow.

        You know the title that bugs me the most is “Mahatma” Gandhi, partly because most people now think that was his name.

  • Rich Wilson

    Fair and Balanced: http://www.atheistmedia.com/2011/09/fox-news-do-crime-pray-time.html

    Giving criminals the option of attending church for a year is controversial, but of course going to church is essential.  At least they agree on the important stuff.

  • Bluebury

    Anyone else want to make a drinking game for every time that idiot over-emphasized the word “CHAPLAINCY”?  Anyone?

  • Gus Snarp

    What I really wonder is whether this guy is really that stupid, or if he just has no respect for the audience’s intelligence and thinks they’ll automatically believe any stupid thing that comes out of his mouth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

      “they’ll automatically believe any stupid thing that comes out of his mouth.”

      You just described the fox news base.

  • Christi99100

    1. The military needs confidential counseling for reality-based servicemembers. 
    2. Confidential counseling is only provided by chaplains.
    Until #2 is changed, the only available course of action is to establish reality-based chaplains. Don’t like “atheist chaplain?” Fine…call them Humanist. 

    Better option: offer confidential reality-based counseling to all servicemembers in addition to the supernatural-based counseling religious members already have access to. That would eliminate the need for their precious chaplaincy to be infiltrated by godless heathens.

    Having atheist or humanist lay leaders is the first step in what will be a very long process. Hopefully the day will come when mental health professionals can provide confidential counseling instead of or in addition to chaplains.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-OLeary/1313741338 Mark O’Leary

    Father Morris laughably mis-defines “humanist,” and then demonstrates exactly the sort of lack of compassion for which his church is so justly famous. In my opinion, he is the perfect spokesman for all believers who will put the interests of their institution ahead of human beings.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

      Like Penn State.


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