Defense Department expands its list of recognized religions

Apr 25, 2017

By Kimberly Winston

Humanist? Deist? No religion?

No problem.

The Department of Defense announced a near doubling of its list of recognized religions. It will now formally recognize humanism and other minority faiths among members of the armed forces.

The move, which came at the end of March but was made public this week, means servicemen and women who are adherents of small faith groups are now guaranteed the same rights, privileges and protections granted to their peers who are members of larger faith groups.

The move was lauded by humanist organizations, which have been pushing for full recognition, including their own chaplains, for 10 years.

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2 comments on “Defense Department expands its list of recognized religions

  • Anyone else uncomfortable with trying to define secularism and atheism as faiths and religions? By what definition of religion is atheism a religion? What purpose is served by putting forth the concept of “secular religion”? The problem: How can we have separation of church and state if church and religion are now defined in this New Age fashion? Watch out! We could be had.

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  • Clearly rationalism does not yet feature in military decision making or presidential leadership!
    Donald Trump has praised China’s President Xi Jinping for his handling of North Korea, calling him “a very good man” who loves his country.

    Apparently, anyone who is perceived to agree with Trump on anything, immediately becomes “a very good person” – for the present time at least!!! 🙂


    One of China’s best-known human rights lawyers has been given a three-year suspended jail term for subverting state power.

    Li Heping was sentenced in a closed-doors trial, Chinese state media said.

    He has defended other prominent lawyers, including Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng, as well as practitioners of the banned Falun Gong movement.

    Li was detained in 2015 as part of a wider government crackdown on dissent under President Xi Jinping.

    The lawyer’s trial took place on 25 April in the Tianjin City Number Two Intermediate People’s Court, and concerned state secrets, the court said on its Weibo social media account.

    His jail sentence has been suspended for four years, and he will be denied his political privileges, the court said.

    The suspension means Li could be released imminently, although it is unclear whether has has been. His time spent in detention should also count towards his jail sentence.

    However, Li’s wife, who lives in Beijing, told the BBC that she had briefly spoken to her husband over the phone on Friday, and he had asked her to come to the city of Tianjin where he is being held.

    Wang Qiaoling said she was being monitored by plain clothes policemen and therefore did not want to travel to Tianjin.

    Since 2008, Li had used social media and foreign media to “smear and attack state organs and the legal system” the court said in its ruling.

    It also said he had used foreign funds to “interfere in high-profile cases”, and colluded with several people “harbouring subversive ideas”, including lawyers and those “involved in illegal religious activities”.

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