Chaplains
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13-09-2010, 04:16 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
Insofar as I could see during my time in the Army (in the late 60s and early 70s), the chaplains were there to reinforce the message that god is on our side and that our wars were justified because we were doing the deity's work. If they served in any other role, I wasn't aware of it ... I was already an atheist at that time, so I have to say I didn't see very much of what they did, other than to reinforce the Army line.

Things might have changed in 40+ years ...
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13-09-2010, 04:48 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
(13-09-2010 04:16 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  Insofar as I could see during my time in the Army (in the late 60s and early 70s), the chaplains were there to reinforce the message that god is on our side and that our wars were justified because we were doing the deity's work. If they served in any other role, I wasn't aware of it ... I was already an atheist at that time, so I have to say I didn't see very much of what they did, other than to reinforce the Army line.

Things might have changed in 40+ years ...

Well, I am not sure that too much really has changed. But the Chaplain holds a lot of sway in unit matters, and I think that an Atheist chaplain would go a long way to getting free thinkers equal treatment in the military.

Maybe it would also stop the prayers before every major event (changes of commands and such).

One can hope.
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13-09-2010, 08:21 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2010 08:25 PM by sosa.)
RE: Chaplains
Actually, I just read an article the other day about an atheist chaplain in the military. I'll try to find it and post.


EDIT: Here it is - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...55248.html
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14-09-2010, 02:22 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
(13-09-2010 08:21 PM)sosa Wrote:  Actually, I just read an article the other day about an atheist chaplain in the military. I'll try to find it and post.
EDIT: Here it is - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...55248.html

The story says the chaplain (an officer) isn't an atheist ... the enlisted man who is the atheist is a chaplain's assistant who guards the officer. The atheist seems to take his assignment quite seriously ... I suppose it would make him look bad if he let the chaplain get blown away.

The comments made by the chaplain are almost hilarious in their stupidity.
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14-09-2010, 02:28 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
(13-09-2010 08:21 PM)sosa Wrote:  Actually, I just read an article the other day about an atheist chaplain in the military. I'll try to find it and post.


EDIT: Here it is - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...55248.html

I'm sorry, but no. The atheist in that article is the chaplains assistant. and he is a junior enlisted (younger) soldier in charge of keeping the chaplain safe. Chaplains are officers.

Thanks, but I already know a couple of chhaplains assistants who are atheist or agnostic
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22-09-2010, 06:37 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
So I posted the atheist chaplains issue on my blog, and i got an interesting comment about the persecution of Christians. I am not asking anyone to go there (not intentionally directing traffic to my site, neglected as it may be), I will instead post the comments here, and see what you guys think.

TheMysteryOf:
Quote:portableatheist, and Tim,

I’m sorry for the bad experiences you’ve had with people who are supposed to be representing Jesus. Sometimes well-meaning people only add to our suffering. I’m sure these people wanted to help, but they were as clumsy as the doctors. Job, in the Bible, called his “friends” who made such comments “miserable comforters.”

I’ve been careless sometimes too, but it wasn’t because I didn’t care. I’ve been on the other end also. Sooner or later we all encounter such things in life, regardless of what we believe in. I no longer blame these things on God, nor do I think we bring it all on ourselves. I don’t believe suffering would exist if Adam and Eve had not aspired to become “like gods” though.

My comment may offend you, but I really don’t intend to. I think we need to get to the bottom of things. If we can set things in true perspective, I think life can at least be made better.

My Reply:
Quote:I believe that you are entitled to your beliefs. I also believe that you are entitled to representation by a minister of your faith when dealing with the chain of command.

Since I have no faith in a higher power, I do not receive that right. My post does not stem from my dealings with the chaplain, but from the dealings I see others having with the Chaplains. I work in a training room, you see. Memorandums form the Chaplain asking for a compassionate reassignment, or a tour curtailment are fairly regular. I am entitled to these actions, but don’t see why I, as a person without faith should have to see a Christian or Jewish chaplain to have an outside person place extra emphasis on my case. The only reason that they see a chaplain and not a mental health professional is because of their faith.

In other words, I want the same rights afforded to me.

I want equal representation.

his reply:
Quote:Those who don’t believe in the higher power of evolution would like their interpretation of scientific facts to be represented in the public schools also. As a matter of fact, I would trade with you on that. Let children learn the creationist interpretation of the facts, and not only the evolutionary-atheistic viewpoint, and you would have a much better case.

It is my understanding that Chaplains are already encountering a great deal of censorship if they use the name of Jesus. I think the movement is to get rid of them altogether, and replace them with Atheistic counselors.

I agree with you that you should not be discriminated against because of your beliefs. Christians are subjected to discrimination on a daily basis. We know how it feels, so we shouldn’t treat others in the same manner. That doesn’t help us in our efforts to persuade others of the truth.

And finally (if you've read this far), my final reply. I have received no response to this. I think he might be delusional.
Quote:I don’t understand your comment that Christians are subject to discrimination on a daily basis when they make up the majority of believers in the country. Rather, I think that you are referring to the rise of secularism and seeing it as a threat to the institution of Christianity. other faiths fighting for equal treatment in society and pushing religion out of school is not discrimination, but the fight for real equality. I may, however, be misunderstanding you.

Can you provide a better example of discrimination so that I can ensure I am judging your comment fairly?

Thoughts? Anyone?

Preferably any thoughts as to the validity of Christians being persecuted, or the removal of Chaplains in the military (which I have not heard a WHIFF of, and I work here).
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22-09-2010, 06:49 AM
RE: Chaplains
Quote:Those who don’t believe in the higher power of evolution would like their interpretation of scientific facts to be represented in the public schools also. As a matter of fact, I would trade with you on that. Let children learn the creationist interpretation of the facts, and not only the evolutionary-atheistic viewpoint, and you would have a much better case.

I am in 100% agreement with this. As soon as creationists can provide some actual facts to back up their point of view, I absolutely agree those facts should be presented to students on equal footing in schools. Can someone please remember to wake me when those facts get here?

Quote:I agree with you that you should not be discriminated against because of your beliefs. Christians are subjected to discrimination on a daily basis. We know how it feels, so we shouldn’t treat others in the same manner. That doesn’t help us in our efforts to persuade others of the truth.

This is my favorite line by Christians. "Woe is us, things are so unfair for poor us". This bullshit line is a combination, I believe, of the realization that it's easier to rally people who feel they are underdogs, the realization that society is becoming more secular which leads to the realization that they are not always able to use elections to instill their grotesque will on the ignorant masses. Christians are being "oppressed" because other holidays are recognized in December, because people are pushing for treating gays as people with equal rights, because their mythology is not being taught as scientific fact, and because every day our understanding of nature and the universe eradicates more and more of their archaic beliefs. The poor, poor Christians. Let's shed a tear for them.

Finally, I don't think chaplains in the military are going away any time soon because no one would have the balls to take on the issue, but I do think that there is perhaps a First Amendment issue here and a potential violation of the Establishment Clause. The argument the army would make is that employing clergy does not violate the Establishment Clause because they are employing them from all faiths for the benefit of soldiers, not the benefit of the military (which are obviously one and the same, but I can see how they can split that hair). The problem, however, is from your point of view they are giving religion a preferential place in a government institution and I think that crosses the threshold.

I think you've got the basis for a good law suit, as well as an opportunity to become infamous and one of the least popular people in the US military.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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22-09-2010, 08:11 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
Contending with "TheMysteryOf" has proven to be a waste of time - s/he never provides anything more than the standard christian apologetics, which contain no substance.

BnW said:
Quote:The argument the army would make is that employing clergy does not violate the Establishment Clause because they are employing them from all faiths for the benefit of soldiers, not the benefit of the military (which are obviously one and the same, but I can see how they can split that hair).
From my time in the military, I dispute that the benefit of soldiers is coincident with the benefit of the military. Many things that were of zero benefit (or negative benefit) to me as a soldier were justified on the basis of the "needs of the military".

This likely is a case that could be made in a suit against the military, but I think any arm of the government can only be brought to trial when they agree to allow it to be brought to trial. That might prove difficult.

There clearly is religious discrimination at work here and I'd be very happy to see someone bring this to public attention. Clearly, anyone doing so from within would do their military career irreparable damage, and there probably would be widespread denunciation of anyone bringing this up, complete with death threats, etc. It would require a great deal of courage and determination to endure what would follow ... and there's no guarantee that such a suit would be successful, after all.
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22-09-2010, 08:36 AM
RE: Chaplains
Quote:This likely is a case that could be made in a suit against the military, but I think any arm of the government can only be brought to trial when they agree to allow it to be brought to trial. That might prove difficult.

Not really. The Congress of the United States, in its infinite wisdom and a rare moment of clarity, has proffered over the years several statutes, all signed into law, that basically waive sovereign immunity and provide citizens recourse against the government. There are statutes covering things like suing the government for personal injury, for negligence and, as luck would have it, for civil rights violations. There are even laws setting forth the right to sue the military, including procedures as to how to do this.

Not really relevant, but moderately interesting (to me at least), a very long time ago, when I first started out, I had a client who was a foreign citizen in South America (I forget where now) who was hurt in a car crash caused by a military vehicle. My firm picked up the case through a referral process and I filed a law suit against the Army on her behalf. The process to do it was very complicated, especially as she was not a citizen and suing from outside the US. I actually called the army for advice and they were extremely helpful in guiding me through the machinations of filing a suit against them. They did not concede anything but the very people who had to defend the suit took me step by step as to how to ensure it was properly filed and recognized by the government. I'd never experienced anything like that before or since (although I long ago left that type of work)

Anyway, of all the many hurdles in place here, that is not one of them.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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23-09-2010, 02:21 AM
 
RE: Chaplains
Thanks for the clarification! I'm glad to know it.
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