AHA News |  

Atheist Group Educates Congress about Humanist Chaplains in the Military

For Immediate Release

Contact:

Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

Matthew Bulger, 202-238-9088 ext. 104, mbulger@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., July 22, 2014)—Today the American Humanist Association hosted a congressional briefing to educate U.S. Representatives and their staff members on the growing number of nontheistic soldiers in the military and the crucial need for a humanist chaplain to be included in the armed services.

Expert speakers at the event included Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and board treasurer of the American Humanist Association; Rev. Stephen Boyd, a retired colonel and military chaplain from the United Church of Christ; and Major Ryan Jean, an active service member and humanist.

“We are focusing on humanism and the positive beliefs it encompasses to ensure chaplains can provide for theists as well as nontheists,” said Jason Torpy. “We need a chaplaincy that is willing and able to support nontheistic belief.”

Stated Major Ryan Jean, “I am living proof that there is an active population of humanists in the service now. The chaplaincy corps’ purpose is to facilitate the free exercise of all military members.”  

With over 13,000 active duty personnel identifying as atheists or agnostics, nontheist soldiers outnumber all non-Christian faiths in the military. Over 276,000 service members also identify as having no religious preference. Despite the growing number of nontheists in the military, all applications for humanist chaplains have so far been rejected.

“It is imperative that Congress address the unmet needs of humanist soldiers, who endure the stresses of combat and sacrifice so much for their country,” said Maggie Ardiente, director of communications for the American Humanist Association and moderator for the briefing. “These service members would benefit greatly from the confidential guidance and comfort provided by a chaplain who understands humanism and shares their belief.”

Last year, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced an amendment that would have required the military to provide for the needs of humanist soldiers by allowing for the appointment of humanist chaplains. However, the measure failed to pass. Speakers at the briefing educated staffers about humanist chaplains and the amendment so that if similar legislation is introduced in the future, Congress would be more likely to support its passage.

More information about the American Humanist Association’s network of humanist chaplaincies can be found here.

###

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

American Humanist Association

Who is ready for Skepticon 2014?! If you are attending the event, make sure to s...

1 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Today is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today we remember transgenders...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a...

4 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Many people don't believe that a person can be good without a god. What are thos...

6 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Yesterday, AHA's David Niose presented his argument that the phrase "under God"...

8 hours ago

American Humanist Association

A Congressional hearing on religious accommodations in the armed services is hap...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today a judge will hear the arguments of Dave Niose, representing the AHA, in a...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Last week Indra Zuno delivered her secular invocation at the LA County Board mee...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The United Coalition of Reason is crushing the billboard game with billboards up...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham was so entertaining and informative, who...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Following on from last week's spectacular launch of 2 CoRs in the beautiful stat...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Will Kirk Cameron save Christmas and Christianity from the evil, putrid creature...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

The secular community seems torn in their opinion of Dan Brown. Although you may...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would give Margaret Atwood faith to keep going during a zombie apocalypse?...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

If you have seen Interstellar you will know what Neil is talking about.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Release date for Fighting Back the Right, from the AHA's David Niose, is just a...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our Pledge Boycott page has a form for sharing stories with us of your experienc...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our friends at the Institute for Humanist Studies, a humanist think tank, are ho...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The 13th episode of The Cartoon History of Humanism is out! Farewell, the Soul I...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Problem: Arizona teachers and school board members don't like the content about...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Bishop McNeill, political coordinator for the Freethought Equality Fund, shows u...

7 days ago