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

Did you know about the new social media site, Ello? Neither did we. But hey, we...

1 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Prisoners dodging the rules because of religious exception?

2 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Secular Americans are showing their political side!

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Celebrant Dan Moran had the honor of performing the first humanist bab...

24 hours ago

American Humanist Association

DC Metro area humanists! Join us this Wednesday for happy hour at Mai Thai in NW...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's David Niose in AlterNet today, explaining why rational public policy will...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

This full-page advertisement ran in the Denver Post newspaper this week in respo...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who caught the latest episode of The Good Wife? The most recent episode of the n...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with the saturation of religion in everyday life...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, an apology to a student in southern California will be delivered afte...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

School is a place where students should feel safe regardless of race, religion,...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

There are several volunteer regional grassroots coordinator positions available...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why don't we start the week off with a laugh? What's a post game interview like...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Perhaps this kid will go just one step further? #skeptic #humanist

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The number of "churchless" Americans is rising! It is now estimated that 38% of...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1946, the first images of Earth from outer space were captured!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA staffer Matthew Bulger talks about Gamergate. "It’s extremely important th...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday's Name that Humanist! Can you name the humanist on the Nove...

7 days ago