Only Christians need apply….

Recently, I learned that Naval Academy’s beautiful chapel has one major flaw – if you aren’t Christian and want to use the facility for your wedding, that’s just too bad, because unless you are a Christian, this government owned and operated facility isn’t for you.

See here for details:

Naval Academy Refuses Use of Chapel for Non-Christian Wedding

There are plenty of atheists, humanists, and others of a secular bent who want to enjoy the formal trappings of a formal wedding without the religious stuff, and there are lots of humanist celebrants who are licensed in their states to perform such ceremonies.  Secular/civil ceremonies are legal in every state, and plenty of churches and other spaces have been used for such ceremonies.  What do they think is going to happen – that the facility will somehow become defiled if used for a (loving, respectful) non-Christian purpose?

The American Humanist Association and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is working on this matter and have requested the United States Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller and Senior Chaplain Commander Michael Gore reverse the decision and confirm whether or not non-Christians are truly banned from using the chapel, but as of this writing, had not received a response.

I wonder if a Jewish or Muslim sailor would also be banned from holding a wedding there or if this “policy” is something they made up on the spot specifically to discriminate the non-religious?

It saddens me to know that even in our modern, supposedly enlightened times, a loving couple wanting to get married in a beautiful, historic setting can be banned in America simply for not holding the correct faith.

 

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About Kathleen Johnson

Vice President and past military director for American Atheists

  • Cat

    what if it was a couple that wanted to be married there, are christian but gay? If not I guess they wouldn’t be the ‘right kind’ of christian.

  • No God Cast Podcast

    Wow. That’s something. This country is sliding backwards at a rapid velocity these days. It might be time to leave.

  • Rationalist1

    I wonder if they distinguish who is Christian and who isn’t. Are Mormons allowed, Jews for Jesus, Unitarians, etc.

    It is a beautiful chapel. It should be for all.

  • dagobarbz

    If they try to push this under the rug, we should take it to the next level with a petition and a bunch of bad publicity. Because since when did Christianity own anything on a military base?

    • Paul Loebe

      A petition is weak-sauce in this case. This is grounds for a lawsuit.

      • dagobarbz

        Oh absolutely. I see such things as a stepping up point; providing the media with numbers that show public interest. I never expect a petition to DO anything, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when they get results.

        Lawsuit, hellz yeah! But for those of us not directly affected, we want to play too and be heard.

        If we are to be banned from such places, may I suggest an infestation of Annoy-A-Trons?

        Google it. Genius! Gotta love it.

    • Stev84

      All the military academies are controlled by Christian fundamentalists and dominionists. The AF Academy is especially bad and West Point is not far behind. The Naval Academy seemed to be relatively sane compared to that so far, but clearly that was the wrong impression.

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

    A quick poke in Google Books suggests the Chapel was built as part of a general renovation authorized and funded by Congress, circa 1908.

    Additionally, the 2007 “A Walk in the Yard: A Self-guided Walking Tour of the U.S. Naval Academy” claims that the architect (Ernest Flagg)…

    built it as part memorial and part auditorium– to serve both religious and secular needs.

    At the very least, however, limiting the use to Christian ceremonies seems legally problematic, as the federal government retains title to the land it is on.

  • Bart Meltzer

    The chapel on Patuxant River NAS refused to allow me to use it in 1981 because I was Jewish marrying a Catholic and wanted a secular official. What a bunch of self righteous pricks.

    Now that I’m Atheist, they’ll really hate me.

    • Kathleen Duncan Johnson

      What’s damn sad is that it’s 30+ years later and nothing has effin changed..

      • Paul Loebe

        People are standing up and fighting these draconian policies. That’s a change.

      • Stev84

        Things have changed. Religious discrimination in the military has become a lot worse since then.


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