What is an atheist chaplains anyway? I have no idea but 150 congress critters, Democrats all, think that the military needs them. Now.
Two House Democrats – Colorado’s Jared Polis and New Jersey’s Robert Andrews – recently attempted to attach an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow atheists and agnostics to serve as “nonreligious” military chaplains.
The amendment was turned away by a wide margin as 230 Republicans and 44 Democrats voted no. All “ayes” were Democrats. Ten House members did not vote.
Col. Ron Crews (USA-Ret.) served as a chaplain for 28 years and now serves as executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “There is no such thing as an ‘atheist chaplain’ because chaplain means a person of faith, someone who brings faith to our military personnel,” he explains. “So we’re hoping that Congress will stand firm and that the Department of Defense will stand firm to maintain that chaplains must be persons of faith.”
The retired chaplain says while opposition to the idea still won out, he remains concerned that 150 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment. “They’ve gotten more votes this time than ever before – and that’s a concern,” he admits. “Plus the Department of Defense could enact having atheist chaplains if they so choose. This amendment would have required the Department of Defense to do that. But we are hoping the Department of the Defense will stand firm.”
Look. I’m sure there’s folks in the military who are atheists and need someone to talk to. It’s a pretty stressful life they lead. It seems to me that there are probably psychologists, psychiatrists, or just plain ol’ counselors they can access.
It’s just a bastardization of the term “chaplain” to have an atheist chaplain. It’s not the same. A counselor and a chaplain aren’t the same. They do different things. If it’s not different, then why do the atheists want their own chaplains. Here’s the thing – if they feel that atheists require different kinds of help and services that religious chaplains can’t offer why call them the same thing if they’re so different?