Atheists Press to Get a Military Chaplain

Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011 11:09 AM

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Regardless of the truth of the old saw that there are no atheists in foxholes, atheist groups are lobbying for a chaplain in the U.S. military. The advocates hope to gain representation for what they say is a large population of nonbelievers in the military, The New York Times reports.

atheists, chaplains, militaryMore than 3,000 chaplains now minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of troops, regardless of faith, the Times reports, noting that the vast majority is Christian, a few are Jews or Muslims, and one is a Buddhist. A Hindu and possibly a Wiccan may join the corps soon.

The atheist population in the military is largely underground, according to the Times, which observes that joining the chaplain corps is part of a broader effort among atheists and secular humanists to gain official acceptance in the military. Official status would make it easier for them to raise money and meet on military bases, the Times reports.

However, getting an atheist chaplain would require the support of senior chaplains, who are skeptical — and even perplexed, the Times reports.


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