The Republican led U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure that would discriminate against secular humanists and other freethinkers serving in the military by banning nontheists from serving as military chaplains.
In a vote taken Tuesday, July 23, the House voted 253-173 to approve an amendment to a House defense spending bill that prohibits the Department of Defense from “allowing non-believers to serve as chaplains.”
The amendment, sponsored by Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, passed along mainly party lines, with all but six Republican House members voting to support the amendment.
Critics claim the Republican sponsored amendment is a reaction to grass roots efforts to allow humanists and other nontheists to serve as military chaplains. For example, The Friendly Atheist reports that last month, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) suggested an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow Humanist, ethical culturist, or atheist chaplains in the Army Chaplains Corps:
The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.
Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, points out the importance of nontheist military chaplains:
“Chaplains for nontheistic military service members are absolutely crucial for so many men and women who are serving our country. Religious chaplains are ill equipped to handle the problems of nontheistic service members and unfortunately, seeking psychiatric help can stigmatize a service member for the rest of their career.”
Last month, House Republicans mocked and insulted atheists and other nontheists serving in the military while rejecting an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow humanists and others “ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions” to join the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces.
What do you think about House Republicans voting to prevent nontheists from serving as military chaplains? Leave a comment – express yourself.
For more political news, information and humor see Left Coast Lucy on Facebook. For more news, information and humor relevant to atheists, freethinkers, and secular humanists, see Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner on Facebook. On Twitter follow Progressive Examiner.