Jason Heap, Atheist Candidate to Become a Chaplain in the U.S. Navy, Gets Rejected

Jason Heap wanted to become a chaplain in the U.S. Navy and seemed perfectly qualified for the position: He earned two master’s degrees (including one in divinity), passed his physicals, and completed the paperwork… but what he doesn’t have is the endorsement of a religious organization that’s currently approved by the Navy.

That’s because Heap is a Humanist whose endorsement comes from the Humanist Society.

Last month, the Navy rejected his application. They didn’t say why, only that a lot of people were rejected, but it’s not hard to connect the dots given Heap’s impeccable credentials.

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Canadian Reserve Army Chaplain Claims There Are No Atheists in Foxholes

Donald MacGillivray (below), a reserve army chaplain in Canada, made a ridiculous comment in an opinion piece for the Cape Breton Post:

War is about life and death and because it is so, it raises questions about meaning. All people search for meaning, as it is part of what it is to be human.

That old expression: “There are no atheists in foxholes,” I think really rings true because these big life questions are pondered perhaps a bit more by those involved in war.

Of course, there are plenty of atheists in foxholes. There are organizations dedicated to atheists in foxholes. There are intelligent atheists who think very deeply about the “big life questions” precisely because they serve in the military. It’s not just ignorance on MacGillivray’s part; it’s slander.

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Under Pressure from the Christian Right, the Air Force May Rescind Its Ban on Proselytizing

Earlier this year, United States Air Force Academy Brigadier General Andy Armacost (below) addressed the entire faculty and told them in no uncertain terms that they could not proselytize while on duty.

It’s a rule that made perfect sense. Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation explained that the regulation was “an umbrella in a tsunami of Christian fundamentalist extremism.” Just imagine you’re in the Air Force and your commanding officer began to preach the Gospel. Much like if s/he were a Christian football coach, your unofficial options would be to play along and just nod your head or disagree and prepare to be reprimanded.

Why would anyone want to rescind that rule and allow officers to proselytize to their inferiors?

Because Religious Freedom, say the people who have no idea what it’s like to be in the religious minority:

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A School-Sponsored Military Memorial Retreat Featured a Christian Prayer and Skeptics Are Pushing Back

Over the weekend, the University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus held a Memorial Retreat for its Corps of Cadets. While most of the retreat went well, one portion of the ceremony stood out to the skeptics in attendance.

When a chaplain delivered the invocation prayer, it was purely sectarian, made “in Jesus’ name.” This would be a problem if that happened at a city council meeting — the Supreme Court will be ruling on that very issue soon — and it’s a problem here, too. At a public university, any invocations must be offered in a non-denominational way.

Thankfully, Saara Wintersgill of the UNG Students for Secular Freedom was in attendance and shot this video of the prayer:



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U.S. Military Finally Approves “Humanism” as an Acceptable Religious Preference for Soldiers

When you join the U.S. military, you can choose to tell them your religious identification. There are more than 100 options — no problem if you’re some type of Christian, as you can see in a snippet of the list below — but the options for non-religious men and women are pretty minimal:

For the non-theists in the military, you can say Atheist, Agnostic, or various degrees of “Other.” If you prefer a label like “Humanist,” because it more appropriately describes what you do believe in rather than what you don’t, you’re out of luck.

Until now, that is.

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