The Spectacle Blog

Atheist Chaplains? Seriously?

By on 7.24.13 | 4:10PM

Yesterday, Fox News reported on the ongoing "effort to create military chaplains for people who do not believe in God."

Without getting bogged down in the legislative details, I'd like to focus on the concept of a non-theistic "chaplain." 

Historically, a chaplain has always served as a minister of faith in an already-secular organization. And as ministers, chaplains have overseen sacraments, presided over services of worship, and provided support in matters of faith. These are all things inherent and exclusive to religious faiths, and therefore, to the purpose of the chaplaincy properly understood.

But what purpose does a non-theistic "chaplain" serve? According to supporters, "the point is to give atheists in the military someone who will pro-actively reach out to them and facilitate meetings." But reach out to them for what? Meetings about what?

A designated "chaplain" would be unnecessary both for the individual atheist seeking to talk through his or her issues (surely a psychologist would suffice) and for the group of atheists seeking to find a support group (surely there are other means). To install a non-theistic "chaplain" is to make the word meaningless and to render the chaplaincy pointless.

Next thing you know, there will be humanist prayers and atheist devotions and even secularist temples. None of it will be genuine, of course. Its real purpose will be the worship of political correctness.

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