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Atheists, Humanists, Continue Push for Equality in Military E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Today's NYTimes reports on efforts by atheists and other nonbelievers serving in the military to have one of their own added to the chaplain corps. The move is part of a broader push for equal treatment in the armed services.

Chaplains at Fort Bragg...have seemed open to the idea, if somewhat perplexed by it.

“You’re not a faith group; you’re a lack-of-faith group,” First Lt. Samantha Nicoll, an active atheist at Fort Bragg, recalled a chaplain friend’s saying about the idea. “But I said, ‘What else is there for us?’ ”

Atheist leaders acknowledge the seeming contradiction of nonbelievers seeking to become chaplains or receive recognition from the chaplain corps. But they say they believe the imprimatur of the chaplaincy will embolden atheists who worry about being ostracized for their worldviews.

Atheists who risk their lives in service of the country should surely have the same access to military counselors that Christians or followers of other faiths have. If that support structure needs to be housed in the chaplain framework to avoid an unequal system, why not?

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