For Immediate Release
Patrick Hudson, Communications Assistant, (202) 238-9088 ext. 105, email@example.com
Maggie Ardiente, Communications Director, (202)-238-9088, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC, April 19, 2017)—Today, the American Humanist Association (AHA) applauds the Department of Defense (DoD) for recognizing Humanism as a belief system protected by the Department’s ethical standards.
In a memorandum released this month, on the recommendation of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board (AFCB), the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense stated that the expansion of religious groups identified will assist the department with “demographic data.” In addition, the DoD has changed the title from “Faith Group Code” to “Faith and Belief Code” to incorporate non-faith belief systems into its wider scope of recognition, after a recent boom in the “religiously unaffiliated” demographic.
President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, Jason Torpy, said “After a decade of our positive outreach and communication of the struggles humanists have faced in the military, we wish to convey our sincere appreciation for the chaplains and endorsers who recommended these changes and made this advance possible.”
“We thank the Department of Defense for recognizing the brave and dedicated humanists serving in our armed forces, who protect our constitutional freedom to believe and not believe,” added Roy Speckhardt, executive director at the American Humanist Association, “This is a step toward inclusiveness and respect for all Americans.”
The military chaplaincy-recommended changes also removed the more generic “no religious preference” and “not applicable” option in favor of more specific statements that say more about the viewpoints various non-theists actually hold, with additions like: Deist, No Religion, Humanist, No Response and others. These changes are consistent with the recommendations made by MAAF and others to Congress and the Department of Defense over the past several years. This opens the door to appropriate recognition and support of humanists and other non-theists in the military.
The full memorandum released by the Department of Defense can be found here.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic 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.