Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) on Atheist Chaplains in the Military: ‘That Was a Dumb Idea’

Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) — the guy who believes fetuses can masturbate — is one of the representatives who voted (twice) to deny non-religious people like Jason Heap from joining the military chaplaincy.

Daniel Moran attended a town hall event with Burgess yesterday and asked him about those votes.

Instead of offering a rational explanation as to why he voted that way, Burgess essentially dismissed the idea of non-religious chaplains, showing in the process a complete lack of understanding as to why they’re needed:

Daniel Moran: Good evening, Rep. Burgess. My name is Daniel Moran. I’m a junior at the University of North Texas. I’m a political science major.

Rep. Michael Burgess: Good for you.

Daniel Moran: I hope one day to possibly be in politics…

Rep. Michael Burgess: You have my deepest sympathy.

[Laughter]

Daniel Moran: Sorry?

Rep. Michael Burgess: I said you have my deepest sympathy. I hope you get help with that compulsion.

[Laughter]

Daniel Moran: I love politics; that’s why I’m a major… but, anyway, I’m an atheist and I was wondering how you plan to represent your secular, atheist, Humanist, and non-religious constituents.

Rep. Michael Burgess: Well, you may have heard my comment a moment ago. I mean, I’m in Washington, D.C. fighting for you every day of the week, whether you vote for me or not, whether you believe as I do or not.

Daniel Moran: Well, I know I don’t believe as you, but I do know that you recently voted against — twice! — to include atheist and Humanist chaplains into the armed services.

Rep. Michael Burgess: Yeah, I thought that was a dumb idea. I’ll do it again.

[Cheers and applause]

Someone in crowd: There are no atheists in foxholes.

Daniel Moran (to crowd member): Actually, there are many [atheists] in foxholes. Some of them are my best friends. Some of them work, or not work, but go to school at the Air Force ROTC at the University of North Texas. So there are atheists in foxholes.

Rep. Michael Burgess: Well, good for them. I appreciate their willingness to serve the country. Look, I mean, if you’re going to have a chaplain, you gotta start somewhere. And that starts at the top with a belief in God.

[Cheers and applause]

Daniel Moran: Why does it require a belief in God?

Rep. Michael Burgess: That every chaplain I’ve ever had has started with that point.

Daniel Moran: I… simply fail to see why it requires a belief in God. It’s basically being a friend… to your…

Someone in crowd: Throw him out! Throw him out!

Rep. Michael Burgess: Let’s not… I will just say that, you know… I’m open to all… anyone who wants to come and talk with me about any issue at any time as you’re doing now is fine to do that, but when I go put [in] that voting card, if someone says to vote against your fundamental core beliefs, you got the wrong kid…

[Applause]

What Burgess doesn’t understand is that atheist soldiers struggle just as religious soldiers do, but there’s no outlet for non-religious people to get the sort of counseling and help they need. The only options available, including seeing a psychiatrist, comes with its own stigma.

Atheist chaplains would go through the same sort of training as religious ones, but they would be able to speak in the same godless language as those atheists in foxholes, something that’s not happening right now.

It was a bad vote, and Burgess’ quick dismissal of the concept just shows his lack of sympathy for and understanding of an entire class of soldiers.

If you’d like to contact Burgess, especially if you live in his district, you can do so here. If you’re an atheist in the military, it would be great if you could schedule an in-person meeting with him to explain why a like-minded chaplain would be helpful to you and your colleagues.

(Thanks to Shayrah for the link)

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.

  • Daniel Moran

    Thank you, Hemant. It was very nerve racking going up there to ask that question in front of that crowd.
    The best part of this event was off-camera. When I walked away, someone, who I’m guessing was about 15, came up to me and fist-bumped me.

    • Octoberfurst

      You’re a brave man Daniel. If you had stayed longer they probably would have wanted to burn you on a stake. It’s not easy having to deal with a hostile crowd of morons.

    • RobertoTheChi

      You did a great job, Daniel. You came off as intelligent and reasonable. I can’t say the same thing for the others…not even close.

    • Smiles

      Balls. Of. Steel.

      Patient, respectful, outnumbered…well done Sir.

    • Chadwick Pendragon

      Daniel, you are a great human being. I served in the service for 6 years. I call myself a Anti-Theist now, but at the time, I had claimed a self proclaimed title of “Realist” when asked what my religious preference was. When asked, what is that or what does that mean, i replied,

      “I believe in reality, not fictional characters like Gods, Demons and Devils.”

      They wanted to put Atheist on my dog tags, and i said,

      “Absolutely not. I will not be labeled something so other religious groups can use that title against me. Atheist i may be, but that title to christians is just as frequently used as calling anyone of an old Pagan belief as Satan Worshiping. Heck, in their eyes, its the same thing. Call me Buddhist, if you want to place a title on my dog tags.”

      And so they did. I think i was the only Buddhist in my whole platoon (When I was a Marine) and in my whole Division, (When I was in the Navy). I hate war, hate killing, but understand that sometimes one has to defend themselves. I was a very high ranking individual for someone of my age, and scored 98% both times on the Asvab. I was frequently, and I MEAN frequently, consulted by officers and enlisted alike, as a counselor all my time in the service. Mainly for my demeanor, not due to my job or rate. I was an MP, in the marines, and a Logistic Specialist in the Navy, on a Fast attack Submarine. I have been in action, and have had to kill, in order to defend myself. And no-where in all of that did i ever look to a God. If anything, it has driven me, and MANY of the soldiers I know away from the idea of a God. Why on Earth are we here dieing, when there is this all power OZ in the sky, that does nothing.

      Anyways, there were many times that i desired a timeout, or a bit of personal counseling for myself, as time progressed, and I was so pissed that there was not a SINGLE chaplin for ANY OTHER religious mythology, other than christian ones. I had even gone to a church, JUST to get away from all the killing machine brainwashing they do to us, and here you sit, in a church, with crosses at the front, and paintings of soldiers, and aircraft carriers, and jets, all with ONE purpose in design. TO KILL SOMETHING. I often laughed, thinking that if this fictional character existed, the one I was raised to believe in, this God and Jesus thing, that they would find it all rather insulting to come into a place of worship and find weapons of mass destruction, painted on the walls of their temples. I have held many debates with Chaplains, and told them to try counseling me without referring to one god, or quoting to me scripture. If they could do this, then we would get along just fine, and perhaps I could have what I was looking for to begin with, a logical conversation about why in the HELL we are here killing a bunch of 3rd world Arabs to begin with. I never bought the whole 9/11 thing. I was there, not in New York, I was in Iraq before Bush declared war, to FIND these weapons, let alone ANY proof to start a war. We never found ONE thing, not even a hint. My Platoon KNEW this was going to be a set up, and when we got home, and 9/11 came around, we all called each other and said, WTF? We have seen first hand our homeland security at the time, we lived and breathed it. We had seen first hand how poor and broken up THEY were over there. There was NO way this attack could take place without our help. Then the tower 7 collapsed, and we all knew for certain that this was from the inside. Now, I am not going into conspiracy theories here, although i opened that can of worms, my point is, I get the feeling that keeping people that show no signs of common sense, or logic, like people who literally believe that some drunk guy named Noah actually built a boat the “logical” size of the Earth itself to save a pair of each animal, is all true and historical. I have the feeling, that the Military endorses this control of counseling to keep soldiers, or screen them, to see who is easy to manipulate, and who might be trouble, if placed in areas of power. But, conspiracies aside, I think it is wrong, and downright unintelligent to not allow other religious sectors of “chaplains” or counselors to work in the armed forces. And to be even more direct, as i said, there is no other form of counsel BUT Christian/Catholic mythologies. No pagans, no buddhist, no muslims, no church of satan’s. if you are in these sections of ideals, well then you have to go to group meetings hosted and organized by your fellow peers. The military will not endorse nor classify these groups as a “leagal” for of counsol.

      • Tom

        Your post apparently bespeaks a thoughtful, intelligent person, and I can agree, or at least empathise, with a lot of what you say.

        One thing, however, is glaringly amiss – you remark that you were in Iraq prior to 9/11, and your evaluation of “3rd world” Iraqi capabilities led you to believe that they couldn’t have done it.

        You are surely aware that it was neither Iraqis nor the state of Iraq, but Afghanistan-based Al-Quaeda, with largely Saudi hijackers, that carried out the 9/11 attacks, right? Moreover, Iraq is not a 3rd world nation (or at least, it wasn’t until we invaded, tore apart its economy, infrastructure and administration, created a power vacuum, outstayed our welcome and turned from uninvited liberators into outright occupiers, and then acted all surprised as it spiralled into chaos) – it was educated, rich, prosperous, stable (albeit as a result of despotism) and in possession of advanced technology. My last boss but one was an Iraqi; an engineering professor. Heck, the big lie about WMDs would never have flown otherwise – only prosperous, technologically advanced countries with strong economies can make WMDs, that’s why Al Qaeda hijacked airliners instead.

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          More evidence that just because one is an atheist doesn’t mean that they’re rational about all issues.

        • Chadwick Pendragon

          I am completely aware of Iraq’s position in the war. No relation at all. I am wondering if you remember how the events rolled out? Twins get hit, and we are invading Iraq. I was sent out to Iraq months before 9/11. We were not part of an invasion, we were part of an investigation. As to them being a 3rd world nation, my apologies. A very tactless way of comparing the two nations.

          I really do not want to open this can of worms.

          On all airliners throughout the US, it is and has been a corporate policy to have an armed member on board all planes at all times. They are “under cover.” This was even predating 9/11. The cover story is that hijackers with box cutters hijacked the planes. However, they somehow scared even the armed secret service agents into not shooting them. Then you have another policy that has been practiced by US airlines, about the security and procedure of the COCKPIT on an airliner. NO ONE is allowed into the cockpit that is not authorized. My grandfather is a retired American Airlines pilot. Retired before 9/11 even happened. The door is locked, and bullet proof. The pilots have strict rules and procedures during a hijacking. Even if hostages are taken, no pilot can be negotiated to open that door. Yet, flawlessly and magically, 3 planes broke regulations, and allowed the planes to be hijacked. My grandfather explained to me the reason that no negotiations, even in a case of hostages being killed, can take place is that one, If that plane is hijacked, well they are all dead in the long run anyways. 2 if that plane is hijacked, then other lives could be lost due to the lack of the hijackers flight capabilities. and 3 it is a policy for insurance on on levels that these procedures take place. 2 friends of mine are armed security men that work for several airlines. One is my age, the other is close to retirement. So, the administration lied over and over that planes being hijacked and used as missiles, was never a contemplated issue to our government, is a complete smoke screen lie. This goes back to WW2 where japanese bombers used planes as missiles, a thousand times over. So, unless the Bush admin. never read history books, then the Japanese never used planes as missiles.

          Anyways, the point I was making is that I had the idea that perhaps the military was using a kind of screening to see who is gullible enough to carry out orders that would be seen by a free thinker as, “Rather illegal and unethical”. I mean, if you can believe that some guy built a boat for a pair of 8.7 million different critters, then surely, you’ll buy into men in caves bombing 3 US Government buildings.

          If the so called terrorists wanted to hit a real target to create terror, then why not hit the building that stands for the US, why not hit the White House? And if you think “Well, that is just impossible, it would have been shot out of the sky.” then you are missing the fact that the Pentagon is perhaps THE most secure building in the world. Home to the CIA, and many many other very important operations. And then we have the pentagon, which has more cameras than Kodak has produced to date, watching every corner of the building, but they only released ONE video? One that is so shoddy, that no one can see what hit it? And the fact no pilot, not even Maverick from Top Gun, could pull off that maneuver.

          There is so much more facts of the flaws of 9/11, that one has to say, “This is just crap”.

          Now, none of this has anything to do with chaplains in the service, and i am so sorry I brought it up. Honestly.

          • Chadwick Pendragon

            Better yet, if one really wanted terror, why not Hit Disney Land or World? The muslim faith has no codes on the death of children. I should know, I have seen, first hand, kids strapped with bombs in Iraq. We Americans would never do something like that. So, if you wanted real terror, and I know they all know about Mickey mouse. They don’t even have half the security the Government buildings have. Which then goes to show, they HAD to be government builds as targets, because WE wanted it to happen to begin with. We knew Japan was coming for pearl Harbor back in WW2, thats a fact to date. We allowed it to happen, for political reasons. It was christmas, the base was skeletonized, not a very big number of casualties. Let it happen, extend the war. War makes money, billions of dollars. The whole reason we stick our noses into issues that have no relation to us. However, here we are, even today fighting the perfect enemy. He has no country to bomb, to location to conquer, and has no face to assassinate. Its the war on terror. It can be so broad that even me writing this blog, can be labeled a terrorist. Even you who reply. A perfect war that can go on forever, as long as the “rational” people think there is really a enemy.

            You have more chances of dieing from a comet, or a plane falling from the sky, and landing just on you, than any of you have from a terrorist Jihad, attack. Far greater chances. And at those odds alone, you are one lucky son of a bitch! If you see a screaming Jihad, coming your way, you better shoot him, and then play the lottery, because you just became that dude or dudette that is 10000000 to one odds against.

            I am quite rational, my friend.

          • Tom

            I do remember the sequence (and, just to be sure, I checked). You, it seems, do not. We did not invade Iraq immediately after 9/11. We immediately invaded Afghanistan, then we did Iraq, for no good reason, a year or so later.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              Afghanistan was and is still not a full scale war. No president yet, has come on television, like a president is supposed to do and say, “My fellow Americans, the country is at war.” Its a campaign. Not an invasion. All four branches of service are not running a full out military operation there. Iraq was and is the last WAR invasion we have had.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              We are always doing campaigns in other countries. It’s the American way, to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. Half the reason we are so far in debt to begin with.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              Black Hawk down, for example, MOST american’s had no idea we were over there. Not until the God, Hollywood made a movie about it.

        • Chadwick Pendragon

          Try one little study, its easy and Google can do all the work. Look up every single plane crash in history, ones that do not include crashing into the ocean, and look for these 3 things. Bodies, 90% plane parts accounted for, and black boxes recovered. Then compare it to America’s History and Science breaking plane crashes, where all 3 planes disintegrated. Bodies and all, 2 of the black boxes, and very little plane debris. We should put those crashes in Guinness book of world records! They defy all logic! Crashes that burned so hot, that NO bodies are found, yet, a paper passport of each terrorist makes it out? If you think you are rational, and that makes complete sense, then please, I beg you, please enlighten me with your science.

          • Tom

            Most plane crashes do not take place at full thrust perpendicularly into a massive immovable surface, with deliberate intent to maximise impact energy. All non-deliberate crashes have the pilots doing everything they can to minimise the damage and actually land the plane somehow. Most crashed planes also don’t subsequently get a massive burning building dropped on them immediately after crashing.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              Tower 7, Tom, Tower 7. Cover that one up.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              Those buildings were designed to take several impacts from planes MUCH larger than a 767, and stand. Those towers were demolitioned. There are still fireman and policeman in New York that are demanding an investigation as to the pillars being cut, and the pools of molten steel in the basements of all 3 towers, one of which was not hit at all. Tower 7 was built as a command center for the New York Gov. in the case of war or natural disaster. Some, smoking debris, from a block away, set fire to it, and it collapsed in free fall. We can go on and on, because so many people think they have intelligent points on such matters, let alone, no one wants to think their government is incapable of such things. Which is why Bush and Cheney would never allow interviews or investigations in separate rooms. Buildings throughout the world, older than New York’s twins have burnt for days, floor after floor, and never collapsed. The twins, at worst, would have snapped where the planes hit, and cause a completely different, non-demolition style semi collapse.

              America’s been lied to, and they don’t even care. Not educated enough to challenge the facts.

    • A3Kr0n

      Awesome job!

    • the moother

      You let him off far too lightly.

    • Stephen Kipp

      Bro, reading the transcript of your chat with Mikey-boy Burgess absolutely made my Friday night. I can only imagine how challenging it was for you to stand up and speak your mind with such a level head even while the hostile crowd so easily resorted to illogical & idiotic tripe.

      Keep on fighting the good fight, and let “sound” reason prevail (one of these days)

    • Randay

      My, Jesus freaks are so loving, tolerant, & understanding.

    • Michaela Samuels

      My husband currently attends UNT and I will after him. I find it so refreshing to see some of his classmates with a good head and strong conviction. I sincere thanks from your peers!

  • Lee Miller

    There’s really no reasoning with these people. They are dependent on an invisible higher authority and anything else might as well be in an exotic dialect of ancient Tibetan. They can’t hear the words, and they can’t respond to them.
    What’s truly alarming is how many people mindless buy into it, and are ready to physically throw someone out for expressing a reasoned opinion. NO DISAGREEMENT ALLOWED! NO DISCUSSION ALLOWED! ACCEPT THE TRUTH OR ELSE!
    You’ve got to hand it to the religious fundamentalists, they’ve done a hell of a job swaying people to their side.
    Barf.

  • Octoberfurst

    I just loved how this crowd of “loving Christians” so callously dismissed Daniel’s concerns. And the cries of “Throw him out!” were just swell too. No dissent is allowed! Yes just stay in your little bubble-world fundies where free-thought and differences of opinion are forbidden. Keep walking in lockstep. Idiots.

  • storm

    Why the hell would seeing a psychiatrist carry a stigma especially in the military?

    • Matt Potter

      As a veteran, just out 4 years now, the reason members don’t want to visit mental health is numerous. Mainly though, that visit(s) is not confidential and the members chain of command can be notified. That can and has resulted in negative results such as loss of promotion. A humanist chaplain on the other hand would be completely confidential, with minor exceptions like suicide or violence, and would give non-religious members the same privilege as religious members.

      • Stev84

        They should really reform the rules about confidentiality for counselors though. It would be a better solution than privileging untrained chaplains (no matter what organization they are from).

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      There’s a lot of machismo B.S. associated with seeking mental health too. That discourages people. I know it did so for me for a long time. Thankfully my chain of command to their credit were extremely supportive, and that helped me see somebody and get better.

  • Matt Potter

    I’m so glad Rep. Burgess represents ‘all’ of his constituents, so long as they believe the same way he does.

  • David Kopp

    The reason atheists need chaplains in the military is because they experience the same treatment Mr. Moran got from that crowd.

  • Matthew Baker

    Some people have this bad habit of assuming atheist are nihilists, amoralists, satanists, extreme solipsists or worse. I think a great many would benefit from Genis Carreras’ philosophy posters that express ideas with bold simple graphics and a one sentence description. http://www.geniscarreras.com/philosophy.html

  • JD

    Hemant said

    there’s no outlet for non-religious people to get the sort of counseling and help they need.

    Stating an untruth once can be forgiven as ignorance or an error. Start repeating it, and you start to sound like a liar.

    Try learning the truth rather than repeating canards.

    • tyler

      hummmm… you’re not thinking about this very hard. while this is certainly a boon to the service, i’d invite you to ask yourself: if counselors are now available to everyone, why are chaplains still needed at all?

      once you’ve come up with that answer, i’d ask you to realize that it is an answer that applies equally to people of all beliefs.

      • Stev84

        You’re talking to a theocratic nutjob, otherwise known as Jonathan Dowtry, aka “The Christian Fighter Pilot”.

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      I’m a commander in the Army currently, and I’ve gone through the Army’s mental health system. Do you know what happens when a Soldier wants to see behavioral health? They go to their supervisor and ask to be excused to go. It gets out. I track how many of my troops are seeking counseling.

      Accusing Hement of being a liar is really inaccurate. And I know this has been explained to you in the past. I know because I was the one doing the explaining.

      • JD

        Who said anything about behavioral health?
        If you are a commander and unaware of the DoD MFLC program, you are doing your unit a disservice. Educate yourself on the programs available to help your troops, then you can educate them.

        • Chadwick Pendragon

          DoD MFLC is NOT even close to Chaplain standards I just read through their site. It is a post war, family bonding, alcohol abuse, etc. civilian group of certified, (Non-Medical means No Doctrine or PHD) people. Furthermore, this program can only be accessed on base. What in times of war, during deployment, does one for “chaplain-like” support from NON christian/muslim faith have, on site, to go to? What if one is dieing in a battle field, and wants some comfort not some jargon about “Heaven Awaits you”, or “do you know there are virgins waiting for you, for your service to Allah?” Then in employment, how can I be a Chaplain, with all the benefits of being an officer, and having the education, can I go, that does not require me to buy in or sell out to some Dogma? Why can’t I be a Buddhist Chaplain or Pagan Chaplain, or a Counselor Chaplain for those of no faith? Why am I limited to some second hand locations, ON BASE, because major, accepted and approved religions get privileges?

          • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

            Downrange is a perfect example. The mental health services are much more limited, and they’re usually in a general support role, which means they’re on major FOBs and service every single unit in the area. Because of that they often don’t travel. It’s hard to get a Soldier serving in isolated areas (Maiwand, Kamdesh, Korengal, et cetera) out to see them because it requires an airlift or a convoy. Each battalion has a chaplain who is direct support to that battalion and rotates out to see these isolated areas much more readily.

            Ideally mental health professionals would be everywhere and easily accessible. Practically that’s not the case. And the Chaplain Corps sells itself on that fact. It seems odd that suddenly they find themselves running from that fact now we’re using it to help non-theist SMs.

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          I’m fully aware of all the programs my Soldiers have access to, thank you very much. Thank you for jumping to broad conclusions.

          The fact remains that going to use these resources gets out. I know because I’ve seen it. And in a lot of cases, fairly or not, it tars the SM. Chaplains don’t typically have that stigma.

          Also, I’m bringing up behavioral health because, like it or not, because it’s the go-to organization for single SMs since MFLC is primarily focused on family issues. My issues were related to my combat deployment and I’m single. While there can be overlap in their missions, that’s not MFLCs primary role, and as such made behavioral health a much better option. And I was, at the time, incredibly nervous about going that route for the reasons discussed.

          To hand-wave the problem away by pointing to tangential resources does the problem a profound disservice. When you see mental health being discussed the chaplains are put in the forefront for a reason. To isolate a growing demographic from that resource is profoundly unwise.

          • JD

            MFLC is primarily focused on family issues

            An MFLC counselor is “focused” on whatever the counselee chooses to discuss. Your generalization is disingenuous.

            If chaplains don’t have a stigma, why not use them?

            There’s no handwaving. You’ve digressed from the point that Hemant’s statement is false — though you initially tried to defend it. Your reply seems to admit he erred, given that you’ve now discussed two “outlets for non-religious people to get the help they need.”

            • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

              First off, you’re using an equivocation fallacy. Hement was was clearly using it in a mental health context. You’re attempting to conflate it to be far more broad.

              Additionally, you’re correct, an MFLC will talk about anything during a session. But do you know what they do after that session? Refer that SM to a more relevant entity, specifically mental health.

              I find it interesting we’re drilling down on just that point and none other. I think that’s very telling about the flawed objections to humanist chaplains than it does this blog’s author.

            • Chadwick Pendragon

              Now this is proving to be a waste of time. I have no idea what you do for a living, but your attempt at using a AA support-like group as a “reasonable response” to non-religious military personnel requesting Chaplain Support without Dogma, is quite lame and tasteless. You either have no idea what a chaplain is, or you just enjoy sounding “intelligent”. As a pilot for christ, i do give you props for not flooding us with christian prescriptures, but lose points for not knowing what the fuck you are talking about. A chaplain, dogma aside, is off record, no paper trail, and ON SITE, no matter where you are. Very secret/private. A chaplain is oftentimes used, very frequently, as a guidance counselor to troubled personnel, by a superior. I have been requested to go to one several times, by my superior, as a safe way to get counseling, without staining my record. On my submarine, for instance. We do not HAVE a MFLC facility on board, that would be just silly, because its a submarine. You’re, I’m guessing, Air Force, which means you don’t do much as far as military goes. You live on base. So deployment has little to no meaning to you. Now Navy, and marines, even army, do a lot off base. So we really rely on Chaplains. It would be nice to have Chaplains that are not all preachers, or better yet, universally taught every form of religion, and non religious forms of counseling. That way they can appease all. That may lead to a lot of people becoming atheist, when they find out that all the religions they learn are all the same, and how some are just downright stupid, but hey. Welcome to the club.

  • the moother

    It appears that this guy will say whatever he needs to to get votes… and it would appear that there are about 23 gazzillion fools that will vote for him.

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill

    • Chadwick Pendragon

      With a number like 23 gazzillion, how can they be wrong, let alone, fools?

      Man is really the most interesting jackass there is. It’s his idea, you see, that the Deity sits up nights and ad­mires him. He’s the Creator s pet… Now you might wonder why.

      Man is a reasoning animal..such as they claim, though I believe that’s open to dispute. I’ve been studying this “reasoning animal” for years now and I find the results to be humiliating. Well for example I experimented with a cat and a dog. Taught them to be friends and put them in a cage. I introduced a rabbit and in an hour they were friends. Then I added a fox, a goose, a squirrel…some doves…a kangaroo, and finally a monkey.
      They lived together in peace.
      Well next I captured an Irish Catholic and put him in a cage and just as soon as he seemed tame I added a Pres­byterian, then a Turk from Constantinople, a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, and finally a Salvation Army colonel. Why when I went back there wasn’t a single specimen alive.

      Mark Twain

  • Chadwick Pendragon

    And apparently some people like to argue just for the heck of it. Or feel attacked and offended when some facts are stated against their beliefs. This is not a case of asking the Military to BAN religious Chaplains. It is asking the Military to expand the JOB of chaplains to other beliefs that are not “GOD” oriented. Mr, JD, the Christian Fighter Pilot. (Funny in its own rights. I bomb you for Christ!) Has tried to offer a rebuttal to a bill that is real, by pointing to a counseling group for all military personnel that falls in the line of AAA, Career counseling, and PTSD Counseling. Here is that program, FRESH from THEIR site, and not from his,

    “this is what non-believers have at their disposal because they are not good enough to get the same treatment us children of God have.”

    (Through non-medical counseling, MFLCs support military families with a variety of common issues that occur within the military lifestyle, including3:

    Common stress reactions to deployment

    Reintegration and the transition from warrior to citizen

    Relocation adjustment

    Separation

    Homesickness

    Loss or grief

    Resiliency

    Anxiety, sadness or other common emotional concerns

    In addition, MFLCs are professionally trained to provide non-medical counseling for important life skills, such as:

    Personal financial management

    Productivity at work

    Parenting

    Anger management

    Conflict resolution

    Decision making

    Relationship issues)

    This is called COUNSELING, regular, every day counseling. Oh, and note, the repeated, Non-Medical point stated here. I am a Non-Medical Counselor myself. I have a certificate to teach and counsel under a program called WRAP, for anyone of any kind of problem. Non-Medical means I have no Doctrine in a field or have no real Qualifications. This whole program alone has nothing to do with Chaplin Counselling.

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      The whole crux of this line of discussion is that even if tar MFLC could do the same thing (which they can’t) they still have the same stigma as the behavioral health folks. As such, it makes people less apt to use them. Chaplains don’t have the same stigma.

      To focus on the “capabilities” of each, while relevant, doesn’t even come close to addressing Hement’s point. But what’s amazing is that argument is STILL inaccurate since the capabilities still don’t add up.

  • Chadwick Pendragon

    Chaplains are deployed with a platoon, in a time of war, which means commemorating while dieng. However, JD’s response says, that Atheists should wait till they are back at base to get counseling from a civilian Charity Workshop, Career and Relationship Counselor. Then finally, the point of this whole debate is, What if i want the same benefits of a Chaplin, AKA, Officers rank, Education Options, and pay grade, that some religious person has, but I do not, because I am not religious?

  • WingedBeast

    Mr. Burgess, the vote on whether or not to allow secular chaplains was not a vote on whether or not God exists, but whether or not nontheistic and nonreligious soldiers should have the same resources available to them as religious ones.

    Unless one of your core beliefs is that non-Christian, non-religious, and/or non-theistic people and soldiers are by nature lesser people and less deserving than the rest, then this was not about your core beliefs, but about your privilege. Please check it.

  • Chadwick Pendragon

    There is one study i would like to see performed, some day, a poll as to the number of people that become war supporters to non war supporters and base it on religious and nonreligious standings. From my own personal and limited testing, most Atheists I know do not condone war at all. They would rather a UN convention to be held, over a military conflict. A global example is the Country of Sweden, which has been proven to being a dominantly Atheist country, has been labeled by UN’s “Top countries of the World to live in”, (based on Unemployment vs Employment, chance of war, homelessness, and economic stability,) set as number 7. America falls in at 13. In religious standpoints, America falls in at 65% for religion, 34.5% not important. Sweden, 83% against religion, 16.5% for.

    < taken from UN reports.

    I get the feeling that more logical and reasoning ideals from Atheists leans more towards peaceful and non-militant diplomacies, over religious mythological ideals. I am not stating that all religious support war, I am wondering why Atheist countries tend to be more peaceful, over religious ones?

    (PS, do not hit me with Nazi's being Athiests, because that's just an all out lie. Hitler used Religious texts, teachings, and techniques to seduce his people into becoming a Nazi Regime.)

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      You’d probably find Altemeyer’s work on authoritarianism and atheism of interest; it would seem to suggest the former is the more directly correlated, particularly given the authoritarian but atheist regime of the USSR, and that most of the more peaceful atheist countries appear to be relatively non-authoritarian.

  • SGHeathen

    Lol Christian persecution. Fuck offffff.

  • Tom

    So he starts out with bare-faced, boilerplate, bullshit blather about fighting for everyone, representing everyone, regardless of whether he shares their beliefs, then just instantly does a U-turn and says “No, you’re wrong, I won’t represent your position on that” as soon as he gets asked something specific. Why even bother to start out the way he did when he must surely have known that he’d wind up contradicting it within seconds? Is this some kind of politician’s instinct? Is it just “what you do” in these situations?

    And, oh lordy, those hooting, clapping tribalists when he just shoots down the outsider’s request out of hand – I feel ill.

  • Detroit City

    I found that Mr Heap has posted this page on his Facebook homepage and has felt it necessary to APOLOGIZE to his friends around the world for the audience. That seems sad to me that he is embarrassed with how some Americans behave and are viewed around the world. At least Mr Heap has had the decency to show that not all Americans, people from Thexas, Christians or even Republicans will be like what we’ve seen here.

    • Detroit City

      I think it is safe to say that Mr Heap holds this student’s public stand and Constitutional right to respectful free speech in high regards. Way to go, Daniel!

  • Muggsy

    “Throw him out! Throw him out!”

    Let’s hear it for practicing the Golden Rule.

    • 3lemenope

      And thirdly…

      Yes, I have actually been witness to a Christian who argued this in seriousness. Without doing a Geoffrey Rush impression, no less.

  • Pj Smith

    It doesn’t make sense an atheist chaplain.. Maybe what the atheist needs instead of a chaplain is a therapist, to help them deal with life and the trauma of war. A chaplain is a man of God not a man without any belief of deity.

    • Chadwick Pendragon

      Or a man of Allah. Not all chaplains are of a Christian denomination. And again, it is not a question of religion vs psychologists. The difference between a chaplain and a psychologist is that its off record, and is also as mobile as its troops. If you serve on a Submarine, and are deployed for 6 to 12 months, you have a Chaplain on board. You cannot ask a civilian psychologist to be deployed with troops. Hence, why chaplains need to expand beyond dogma, and include those of no “faith”. Quoting bible phrases to someone whom is asking for help, off records, a friend at a particular moment, is down right foolish. Quoting to me some bibble babble of what some dude from the bronze age had to say about a world that is long long gone, does nothing for me as to todays world. Gays are now allowed to enlist. Wonderful, and about time. America is on the back burners when it comes to moving forward, in the terms of ethics. We still push boobs and beer drinking men, or dudes chiseled out of stone, and call that The American Way. Its not even reality. But, we are moving forward. So, religion, just as it was INTENDED back when the forefathers made this country, is finally losing its hold on the New World. Praise God, for learning his place.


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