Fox News' resident religious zealots argue that an atheist can't be a chaplain. A humanist disagrees and is suing the Navy for discrimination.
November 9, 2014

Fox News never disappoints Christian extremist viewers. On Fox and Friends Weekend, Tucker Carlson likens an atheist being a chaplain to a vegan being a butcher. Fox News' religious expert Father Jonathan Morris agrees that an atheist humanist is, by the nature of their being, disqualified from being a Chaplain in the Navy. Morris knows what's permissable and what isn't as he's not exactly for freedom of religion. He believes Satanic Mass is not protected free speech. Satanic worship has probably killed way fewer people than the number that have perished in the name of Christianity.

It's another example of Fox News cherry-picking the Constitution to suit their needs. So it's only natural they have appointed themselves qualified to determine who is best to deliver spiritual guidance based on the person's personal convictions, and not at all based on their capacity for empathy and their educational training.

Jason Heap, an atheist with masters’ degrees in Divinity and Religious History from Texas Christian University and Oxford University, respectively, has years of experience as a teacher of Religious Education and Philosophy. Heap is involved in a lawsuit with the U.S. Navy because they rejected his application to be a Naval chaplain. Heap says,

"at the end of the day, my job is not to inculcate my viewpoints onto other people. My job as a chaplain is to be a facilitator, someone who cares for people, someone who is a sounding board.”

The 113th Teabag House of Representin,' very much obsessed with legislating women's bodies and Jesus, decided this was important enough to take time away from renewing benefits for the long-term unemployed. Lawmakers approved an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill designed to block the Pentagon from accepting chaplains who don’t believe in a god. Let's face it, the Republican party is the authority on what constitutes god, right?

“The notion of an atheist chaplain is nonsensical; it’s an oxymoron,”

said Rep. John Fleming, R-La., sponsor of the amendment. Ironic Mr. Fleming would use an oxymoron when he's pretending to be an ethical Republican.

The big dilemma with Mr. Heap's application, is that he labels himself an atheist humanist. What exactly does that mean? To be humanist is to emphasize the value of human beings and our capacity to do good during our lifetimes without the need for a higher power.
An atheist chaplain may sound strange to some, but in truth military chaplains advise on far more than faith and spiritual issues. On a practical level, if a service member needs bereavement leave to attend a funeral of a loved one at home, the chaplain is the point of contact. They provide confidential counseling to troops suffering from stress and other coping challenges — and are often far more accessible than the military’s other mental health services, without the attending stigma.

The sanctimonious quartet on the couch claims the absence of Heap's belief in a higher being prevents his chaplainship. It doesn't make a difference to these holier-than-thou judges because they feel just the same way as the ultra-right wing fundamentalists in Congress. They are morally superior.

The GOP House feels as if atheists' efforts to gain recognition in the military is basically a political stunt. This legislative branch would never do anything merely for show, right? It's not like when there was a Democratic majority in the Senate, they attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act just a couple of times for purely symbolic reasons, is it? Of course not. Fox News and the GOP are always throwing stones at their glass houses.

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