AHA News |  

Atheist Group to Host Congressional Briefing on Humanist Chaplains


July 8, 2014


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

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

On July 22, 2014, the American Humanist Association will sponsor a Congressional briefing on the need for humanist chaplains’ inclusion in the U.S. military.  

WHO: Speakers for the briefing are: Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and endorsing agent for the Humanist Society; Stephen Boyd, a retired colonel and military chaplain and endorsing agent for the United Church of Christ; and Major Ryan Jean, a member of the U.S. military and active humanist. Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, and Maggie Ardiente, communications and development director of the American Humanist Association, will also be in attendance.

WHERE: The Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2103, 45 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20515

WHEN: July 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm-1:30 pm ET.

WHY: This briefing is intended to educate members of Congress about the importance of including humanist chaplains in the U.S. military. With over 13,000 active duty personnel identifying themselves as atheists or agnostics, nonbelievers outnumber all non-Christian faiths in the military. Additionally, 276,000 individuals in the military label themselves as having no religious preference. Since the defeat of the Polis Amendment last year, which would require the military to provide for the needs of humanist servicemembers, these soldiers are chronically underserved. Nonthesist military members can benefit from the confidential guidance and comfort provided by humanist chaplains as they endure the stresses of combat and separation from their families. However, all applicants to become humanist military chaplains have so far been rejected. This vital yet unmet need by humanist military personnel requires Congressional consideration and attention.

MORE INFORMATION: 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 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.