Christian Democrat calls on Congress to respect atheists in the military


Rep. Robert Andrews on Friday (D-NJ) implored his fellow lawmakers to support an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would allow nontheistic chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Nothing in this amendment in any way impairs the relationship between a Christian or Jewish or other soldier or service member and his or her faith leader,” Andrews, an Episcopalian, said on the House floor. “Nothing.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) offered the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. The amendment would have allowed humanists and other nonbelievers join the Chaplain Corps. Polis noted that Buddhists were already allowed to become chaplains, though Buddhism was generally considered a nontheistic religion.

“What this amendment does is to show respect to the choices made by our service members,” Andrews continued.

Written By: Eric W. Dolan
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  1. The headline seems to be incorrect.

    It should read that an amendment to allow respect for atheist soldiers has been overwhelmingly rejected by the USA’s wisest politicians. Status quo will prevail and atheism among soldiers will continue to be regarded as a form of mental illness.

  2. Pete is correct. This amendment failed to pass. I just wanted to add that while one third of US Representatives voted ‘yes’ on this, exactly zero of them were Republicans. Yep, they’re not just the pro-Christian party in the US, they’re the anti-atheist party as well.

  3. From your response PeteH. I would suggest that yours is the mental health problem. You can test your delusion easily: Just say or write “Napoleon” as a substitute for “God” or “Jesus ” next time you are composing a Trollism.

  4. Well then I suppose if there is a draft then atheist can say “sorry mate I can’t fight for you because I don’t believe in god.” Then we will see how fast the congress change their minds.

  5. “Republican lawmakers, however, balked at the notion of atheist chaplains.”

    Call them Advisors, problem solved.

  6. There is nobody lower on my totem pole than a soldier, unless it is a chaplain whose job it is to destroy the emerging conscience of any soldier. From a purely practical point of view, an atheist is even more likely to develop a conscience than a Christian, so you need a “chaplain” to turn him back into a killer sheep. It has nothing to do with deities.

  7. In reply to #8 by Roedy:

    There is nobody lower on my totem pole than a soldier, unless it is a chaplain whose job it is to destroy the emerging conscience of any soldier…

    Doesn’t the chaplain’s function depend, at least partly, on what the soldier is actually doing? What if the soldier is a peace-keeper? What if they’ve just seen the aftermath of an enemy’s excesses and need someone to talk to? I don’t think chaplains are there just to say “you did good killing that civilian today, Jimmy”, and nor do I think soldiers are by virtue of their occupation necessarily without conscience – given that conscience, let’s hope soldiers who don’t believe in god will soon have equivalent advisers of their own.

    As for the story itself, it’s good to see the non-theism of Buddhism pointed out (even if it’s a bit of a technicality, given the superstitious elements of many forms of Buddhism).

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