Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Clarification

From CNS News:
The man pushing to get the military to install "atheist chaplains" in the armed forces told government-subsidized National Public Radio that military officers should not be praying with their men before going out on missions.
As a non-evangelical atheist, I'd like to take this opportunity to distance myself from this thin-skulled pantswetter. He does not speak for me.

Don't believe if you don't believe, but there's no excuse for not showing courtesy to those who do.

13 comments:

  1. I would personally favor disbanding military chaplains altogether.

    As an alternative, open the military to free and voluntary religious instruction and representation by chaplains who are paid by their home denominations and military communities. They would not themselves be in the military, hold rank, get promotions, get evaluations by military officers from other denominations, or draw military pay, allowances and retirement benefits.

    Remove the government sponsorship of it and then see how many fruitcake fringe religions still want their own chaplains.

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  2. I think Professor Hale has a good idea. And, I am sure that many religious groups would be more than willing to participate in providing chaplains at their own expense. Of course, there would have to be regs set on them, due to this and that. But, it could work.

    Having two military sons, (one now deployed in Afghanistan), I know that chaplains serve an important role in the well-being of those of our troops that hold one particular faith, or another.

    Harvey, as to your last statement, well good on ya'! I am a Christian, and my faith is very important to me. At the same time, I choose to respect people that either don't believe in God, or hold agnostic views. It's no skin off my nose. What does bug the crap out of me, though, are those that claim "atheism," yet set out to remove any hint of spirituality from society.

    I've always found that type to be very sad...very bitter people. In fact, I don't think those people are true "atheists." I think they are just "God haters," with an axe to grind. A true atheist does not believe, but does not care if others do have a religious faith. It's no skin off their nose, either.

    Now...I don't want someone's religious faith to impact my life (read blowing up buildings & terrorizing my country). But, we have laws & Armies to deal with that, too.

    Good food for thought here, Harvey.

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  3. My faith is also important to me. But I am less interested in what the 1st Armored Division chaplain thinks my religion ought to be.

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  4. Professor Hale, you again make an excellent point. I've often wondered how it would be for a Roman Catholic Soldier whose chaplain was say...a Southern Baptist. Or, a Pentecostal Christian whose chaplain was Episcopal.

    Good food for thought.

    I'd like to think that military chaplains are well acquainted with the nuances of faith, and do their best to provide counsel/support/solid advice that would transfer to what most people of faith would call "common ground," or "common sense."

    But, it may not be always so. I just don't know.

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  5. To be fair to the 1st Armored chaplain, prof, in my eight years I never had a chaplain push his religion on me, and I saw quite a few chaplains who were willing to talk to anyone of any faith about anything they needed to talk about. I think the military does a pretty good job of providing a service that many want with the least amount of pressure or disruption. My dad was a Navy reserve chaplain for over thirty years and he told me his job was to provide counseling and services to anyone, regardless of denomination or religious belief.

    Of course, there was the time when the chaplain on the carrier got Barbarella pulled from the CCTV, but fortunately the XO just had them put it right back on again so no harm was done to our morale. :)

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  6. When my Platoon was put into Company Reserve during the fight in Hue City during the big Tet Offensive in '68 it really meant that we held on while the other Platoons went forward and we re-organized, re-supplied and bandaged ther dings. Two Navy Chaplains showed up, I never discovered their denominations, nor if they were both even Christian. I do know that I have seen Jewish Chaplains give the Last Rites to Catholics who were dying. And various Christian Denominations doing that same thing for every other type. I saw them holding the hands of Atheists as they passed, respecting their beliefs but still providing human contact.

    It's not that there were never any of that bunch that were not worth the powder to blow them to Hell, that's what one gets, a mixed bag.

    I did always wonder why they all had to be Officers, though.Damned few of the ones in the field were obnoxious about rank but back in the rear...

    And I do wonder if an "atheist Chaplain would give the same consideration to a Christian or Jewish guy as the various Christian and Jewish Chaplains give to those Atheists. I wonder the same about Muslim Chaplains.

    Oh, and one more thing...During the Mexican War there were a shitload of Irish Catholics in the US Army. They were not permitted to have Catholic Chaplains. Many deserted over that, and enough went over to Catholic Mexico that there was the San Patricio Brigade. And those Irish Soldiers could fight. They did so, on both sides! The war would have been shorter had the Army respected those Irish Catholics, we probably should not make that same mistake again.

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  7. Just one question, spurred by the comment, "As a non-evangelical atheist... ".

    "Evangelical" (derived from transliteration of--crude representation of Koine using Roman letters--"euangelion" or "good news") atheists exist? Learn something every day... ;-)

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  8. I use "evangelical atheists" as a derogatory term for non-believers who go around trying to convert believers to their non-belief.

    When I'm feeling less charitable, I simply call them "assholes."

    I don't mind if Christians try to convert me, since it's part of their belief system to "spread the word." Atheists don't have any excuse.

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  9. "Atheists don't have any excuse."

    *heh* Not going there... ;-)

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  10. Harvey...as a somewhat Catholic, I love you. I hate militant anything. Believe what you want to believe, and don't try to shove it or condemn others who don't believe. And FWIW...you're more Christian than a lot of the fundies in my part of the country.

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  11. @Mrs. Who: My So. Bapt preacher grandfather used to distinguish between "fundamentalists" and "fun-damn-mentalists"--the former characterized by a commitment to biblical exegesis based on sound historical-textual-spiritual principles and a respect for dealing honestly with biblical texts. The latter he characterized as being primarily committed to damning anything that was fun.

    I've always kept those distinctions in mind whenever I ran across someone claiming for be a "fundamentalist".

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  12. David, I'm glad you went there with the "fundamentalist" deal.

    Look, I'm a Bible-believing Christian. I would even consider myself to be a "fundamentalist." Imperfect as I am, I honor the scriptures as a good bit of God's message to mankind.

    Therefore/thence/whatever, I am off-put with that "fundy" term that gets thrown around so loosely. It is used to describe folks that I have very little in common with...even though it's slung toward me often.

    Oh, I'm a big boy, and can let it roll off. But, it is off-putting.

    This has been an interesting comment thread. Really.

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  13. heresolong said...

    To be fair to the 1st Armored chaplain, prof, in my eight years I never had a chaplain push his religion on me, and I saw quite a few chaplains who were willing to talk to anyone of any faith about anything they needed to talk about. I think the military does a pretty good job of providing a service that many want with the least amount of pressure or disruption. My dad was a Navy reserve chaplain for over thirty years and he told me his job was to provide counseling and services to anyone, regardless of denomination or religious belief.


    My battalion from Fort Riley, in the mid 80s, was assigned a Rabbi for while we were deployed for Reforger. The only Jewish member of our battalion stayed behind at Riley. Our Rabbi was still a good chaplain, providing counseling and comfort to anyone, regardless of denomination or religious belief. He later left the US Army and planned on moving to Israel, intending to become a Chaplain in the IDF, I was told.

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