The military recently approved “humanist” as a religious preference, but a humanist chaplain’s application for the Navy was denied. Jason Heap was reportedly qualified for the job with master’s degrees from Brite Divinity School and Oxford University; he passed the test of physical requirements last year.
The Navy’s decision did not please nontheistic military members reports the Christian Examiner.
“The Humanist Society and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) have provided years of outreach and a great chaplain candidate to the military. We hope nonchaplain military leaders swiftly overturn this discriminatory decision, said Jason Torphy, MAAF president.
But others supported the call, citing that chaplains must be religious to serve.
“Chaplains, historically and by definition, are people of faith. You can’t have an ‘atheist chaplain’ any more than you can have a ‘tiny giant’ or a ‘poor millionaire,’” said Chaplain Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
Humanists argue that they are not atheists, because they do have a beliefs, but not in God.
“No one believes in a higher power like God. We believe in the power of human beings and their possibilities,” said Commander Erwin Kamp, a humanist chaplain in the Dutch military.
Publication date: June 4, 2014