Report: Group to press military for atheist chaplain - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Report: Group to press military for atheist chaplain

Posted: Updated:
Military News Military News
By FOX NEWS -

In what some might see as an oxymoron, an advocacy group apparently is preparing to ask the Defense Department to appoint a chaplain -- for atheists.

A source tells Fox News that the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers plans to make the request on Tuesday, floating its president Jason Torpy as the proposed chaplain.

Asked for comment, the association referred Fox News to its position in support of a prior bid to name a "humanist" chaplain. The Defense Department has not yet returned requests for comment.

But an aide to Rep. John Fleming, R-La., who last year opposed the creation of such a position, said Monday that the congressman is "aware" of the revived push and "very concerned."

The move would come after lawmakers, including Fleming, battled over the same issue last year.

Democrats tried, unsuccessfully, to pass legislation creating such a post in 2013. In response, Republicans offered up a measure of their own to prohibit the Pentagon from naming such a chaplain. The House approved the measure in July.

With Congress at odds, though, the Defense Department could decide on its own.

A separate organization, The Humanist Society, endorsed Oxford-educated religious scholar Jason Heap last year to be the first-ever humanist chaplain in the U.S. Navy.

The MAAF supported the application. All along, the group has argued that more people identify as atheists and humanists than any other non-Christian denomination.

But Republican lawmakers who have fought these efforts have described the push as nonsensical. The motto of the Army Chaplain Corps is, after all, "Pro Deo et Patria," or "For God and Country."

Fleming said last year that the idea of an atheist chaplain is "an oxymoron."

"It's self-contradictory -- what you're really doing is now saying that we're going to replace true chaplains with non-chaplain chaplains," he said.

But the MAAF argues that military chaplains are not providing enough outreach for those who do not believe in God.

According to research in 2009 by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, about a quarter of military servicemembers who participated in the study said they had "no religious preference." More than 3.6 percent identified as humanist, while a little over 1 percent identified as pagan.

Several organizations and religious scholars have pressed the U.S. military to consider naming chaplains for those servicemembers.

"Such broad-based and growing support of professionals and experts should make it easy for the Department of Defense and the Navy to open their doors to diversity of belief that includes humanists and other nontheists," the group said in a statement last year.

Read More

Fox News' Jim Angle and FoxNews.com's Judson Berger contributed to this report.

  • MilitaryMore>>

  • USS Saratoga heads to be scrapped

    USS Saratoga heads to be scrapped

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:47:03 GMT
    The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga left its port in Rhode Island on Thursday for its final journey to Texas, where it will be scrapped. The ship departed Naval Station Newport and made its way down Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. It is heading to the Esco Marine ship recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas.
    The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga left its port in Rhode Island on Thursday for its final journey to Texas, where it will be scrapped. The ship departed Naval Station Newport and made its way down Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. It is heading to the Esco Marine ship recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas.
  • Mission to save Foley, other hostages in Syria failed

    Mission to save Foley, other hostages in Syria failed

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-08-21 02:09:36 GMT
    President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, the administration disclosed Wednesday. Officials said the rescue mission was authorized after intelligence agencies believed they had identified the location inside Syria where the hostages were being held.
    President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, the administration disclosed Wednesday. Officials said the rescue mission was authorized after intelligence agencies believed they had identified the location inside Syria where the hostages were being held.
  • New York gives tuition break to veterans

    New York gives tuition break to veterans

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:44:17 GMT
    Education NewsEducation News
    New York is encouraging veterans to go back to school and making it easier for the families of service members who relocate to the state. A new state law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday will give veterans in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities even if they wouldn't otherwise qualify.
    New York is encouraging veterans to go back to school and making it easier for the families of service members who relocate to the state. A new state law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday will give veterans in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities even if they wouldn't otherwise qualify.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Garner's family meets U.S. attorney

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Staten Island stores worried about rally

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:01:16 GMT
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
    The Rev. Al Sharpton and family members of Eric Garner came from a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in which they asked for a federal civil rights investigation into his apparent chokehold death. Meantime, Staten Island businesses are bracing for the huge crowds expected at Saturday's march. Sharpton said he is estimating about 3,000 to 5,000 people to rally Saturday.
  • Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team auditions

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:26:39 GMT
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
    Out of over 500 hopefuls only a handful will join the Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team. The Nets held auditions this week at LIU Brooklyn. Adorable Bronx native Arielle was turned away last year but this time around she's made it through to the final round of the auditions. But even those who were on the team last year still have to try out.
  • Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Chris Rock gets foul ball at Yankees game

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:03:11 GMT
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
    Chris Rock almost made the play of the day at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the comedian wound up with a nice prize -- a foul ball that nearly landed in his lap during Thursday's game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
Powered by WorldNow

KTBC FOX 7
119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7777
Fax: (512) 495-7001

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices