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Thread: Army adds Humanist as category, pointing toward eventually having humanist chaplains.

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  1. #1
    Nurture Phoenixes AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Army adds Humanist as category, pointing toward eventually having humanist chaplains.

    The US Army has, for the first time, approved a humanist chaplain, Major Ray Bradley.

    On the one hand I'm glad this has happened. Service in the armed forces can be trying for anyone and the existence of philosophical aid that is not tied to a religion is likely necessary for many struggling with those trials.

    On the other hand, have a look at the language used.

    Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, has been pushing for greater recognition of humanists in the armed services; in February, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Pentagon on Bradley’s behalf.
    "This is a big victory," Torpy said, who noted the decision was by the Army and not the other military services. "This is one part, and the easiest part, of a very long list of other reforms that have to happen before we have equality, not just belief or no belief but theistic belief and nontheistic belief like ours."
    The ACLU wrote in its letter that members of nontheistic faiths should have the option of describing themselves, just as members of theistic faiths do.
    "Given the wide range of religious-preference designations currently allowed by the armed forces," ACLU lawyers wrote, "there is no reason to deny humanism similar recognition."
    I find it frustrating that the discourse is still being put in the language of faith. The idea that a person might find humanism a proper way to live their lives and might need assistance with that in a situation that challenges humanism (like war) should not, to my mind, be shoehorned into the concept of faith.
    Last edited by RichardGarfinkle; 05-01-2014 at 03:54 PM.
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