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Act Now To Prevent Militant Atheist From Becoming Navy Chaplain

In a bizarre act straight out of the Obama playbook, the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory group is recommending that militant atheist Dr. Jason Heap be appointed to serve as a secular-humanist chaplain in the Navy.

As Eric Baxter, senior counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, noted in a July 09, 2015 column for Navy ChaplainsFox News, “The mission of the Humanist Society and American Humanist Association is to support atheism, not religion.”

Dr. Heap is part of the Humanist Society and American Humanist Association, and as Baxter noted, “They’ve sued over war memorials with religious symbols, calling them ‘foul’ and ‘sectarian.’ They want the phrase ‘under God’ out of the Pledge. They oppose the National Day of Prayer. They celebrate ‘Kids Without God,’ pushing public campaigns that mock teens of faith for having ‘imaginary friends.’ And they’ve even teamed up with folks like Mikey Weinstein at Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who accuses military chaplains expressing their faith of ‘spiritual rape,’ saying they ‘should be punished’ for ‘sedition and treason’.”

The courts have confirmed that denying service members access to chaplains would violate both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. For soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who need it, chaplains perform religious services, pray on the battlefield, ensure access to religious scripture, and provide religious comfort to the men and women in the field and to their families back at home.

How exactly is an atheist supposed to do that?

They can’t, and as Baxter told reporter Michael Cochrane when Dr. Heap sued back in 2015 to be admitted to the chaplaincy, “The purpose of the chaplaincy is to provide religious ministry… Atheists, militant atheists, they have the same right to be in the military as everyone else and we defend that. But that doesn’t mean they are qualified to serve in every position in the military, and especially as people who mock and reject and ridicule religion, they’re not qualified to provide religious ministry.”

“They want to define religion so broadly that, in their words, it includes anything that ‘contributes to human fulfillment,’” Baxter said, arguing that under such a scenario almost any activity could qualify as religious. “If the establishment clause and the free exercise clause are to mean anything, you have to defend the definition of religion.”

Fortunately, principled limited government constitutional conservative Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), a Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, has stepped up to oppose this travesty.

Rep. Lamborn has begun to circulate a letter to Members of Congress urging them to sign a letter to the Navy demanding that the service act to ensure the application and endorsement process is being followed with the utmost respect to law and precedent.

Rep. Lamborn’s letter reads in part:

It has come to our attention that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility Advisory group is recommending Dr. Jason Heap to serve as a secular-humanist chaplain in the Navy. However, the chaplaincy was designed to facilitate the exercise of religious belief, not philosophical belief.

The Supreme Court has stated that non-religious beliefs, “however virtuous and admirable” may not rely on the Religion Clauses for protection. Language in both the 2014 and 2016 NDAA have underscored the religious qualifications of a chaplain when serving, and the House has twice declined to affirmatively expand the role of the chaplain corps beyond the realm of its designed religious purpose. 

The military has the authority to determine unmet needs of humanist and philosophically atheist service members and to create programs that respond to those determined needs. However, the chaplain corps is not the appropriate place to accomplish this. While DoD has recognized chaplains for religious groups that are non-theist (for example, the Buddhist Churches of America is non-theistic, but does believe in a transcendent reality, which is a religious belief), it has not extended the chaplaincy to philosophical belief. The distinction between the two has already been drawn by federal courts, and it is the line that DoD must draw as well.

Without a belief in the transcendent, and with an avowed opposition to religion itself, an individual cannot fulfill the mission and duties of a chaplain, no matter how accomplished the candidate may be.

We urge CHQ readers to contact their Representatives to demand they sign the Lamborn letter on atheist chaplains and to let Members of Congress know you oppose using atheists as military “chaplains.” The toll-free Capitol Hill Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044) we urge you to call today, the deadline for signing the Lamborn letter is close of business Thursday, March 8.

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Chaplains and Atheist?

How does an Atheist become a Chaplain. If you don't believe in God, why become a Preacher? If you don't believe in property rights, you become a Real Estate Agent? If you don't follow the law, become a Police Officer?
Only in America I guess.

Horse pucky!

As a devout Tao-Buddhist, I defy the chaplaincy to meet my needs. If Christians can't stand the heat, get out of hell!

oUR fAULT?

See What We the Patrriots, Voters, and Christians have stood idly by and allowed to happen in America? We NOW have to ask that Someone Step Up To Start a Petition to Sign and Hand Over to Congress to stop this crazy Humanist from preaching to Our Military! Military Please Stand with Us and Let's Stop this from Happening in the Our Military! No Way but the Right Way for Our Troops laying their Lives on the Line for America...We have to Jump On this an dStop It from going on NOW! Everyone Please Help NOW!

Veteran and Atheist

So atheists and humanists should be denied the same rights as others in the military? As an atheist in the military, what if I wanted to talk to someone about the problems I'm having in my life without having to resort to a Christian chaplain? A Humanist chaplain I feel would have a better understanding of me as a person. I've spent over 15 years defending this country. To have you say that my way is not the 'Right Way', is insulting and demeaning, not only to me, but the thousands of military veterans who don't believe in god and have, do, and will, serve our secular country.

Naval Chaplan

Come on, how much lower are the liberals willing to strip common sense? And now our military!! The only thing between socialism & our American Republic is our President & our Military, don't allow this to happen!!