House Nixes 'Non-Religious' Military Chaplains

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 12:23 PM

By Dan Weil

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The House has approved a Republican proposal that would forbid the Pentagon from deploying non-religious chaplains.

The amendment, attached to the fiscal 2014 defense spending bill, passed 253 to 173 Tuesday night, The Hill reports.

Louisiana Republican John Fleming sponsored the legislation to keep out what he and other lawmakers called atheist chaplains.

"By definition, chaplains minister to the spiritual needs of our men and women in the armed services, a vital function that an individual without any inclination towards spirituality would not be able to perform," he said during debate on the proposal, according to The Hill.

Republicans who supported the amendment said people who don't believe in God don't want spiritual counseling. Some Republicans accused Democrats of wanting to install non-religious chaplains as part of an attempt to remove God from public life.

"My constituents back in Oklahoma are shaking their heads," said GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine, according to The Hill.

"The secular left is so invested in ripping God from everything, that I must stand here with my friend Dr. Fleming to prohibit Obama's Department of Defense from establishing an oxymoron — atheist chaplains," Bridenstine added. "Why does the secular left insist on ruining the integrity of the chaplaincy to serve their agenda of institutionalized godlessness?"

Democrats said atheist or "humanistic" chaplains are necessary for non-religious military personnel who want counseling.

"Over 20 percent of the members of our military identify as non-believers, and while of course their needs should be catered to by members of the chaplaincy from diverse faiths, it is only fair to have their humanism or outlook represented," said Colorado Democrat Jared Polis.

Atheists in the military "wrestle with those same existential questions as those of us with faith," he said.

Georgia Republican Doug Collins, an Air Force chaplain, said he often counsels atheists who just want to talk about their problems, Fox News reported.

Atheists in the military don't have a need for atheist chaplains, given the other counselors available to them, including psychologists and psychiatrists, he said.

"They need to come at it differently instead of just saying we want an atheist chaplain. I think there's plenty of opportunities for them to talk."

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Matt Towery: Give Thanks - the Nation Is on the Rebound

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 10:43 AM

Most of us haven't felt any personal "economic recovery" in our own pockets. But contrary to my often doom-and-gloom out . . .

GOP's Tom Cotton Thanks Troops for Sacrifices on Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 09:22 AM

Senator-elect Tom Cotton delivered the GOP's weekly address on Thanksgiving Day, thanking the military for its sacrifice . . .

Gallup: Only 27% of Working-Class Whites Support Obama

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 08:33 AM

And 41 percent of white college graduates approve of President Obama's job performance , the largest gap between working . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved