A formal request has been made by some atheists in the military for atheist chaplains.Â That is an interesting request with far-reaching consequences.
A couple of Chaplains have commentedÂ about the request. One, an evangelical, said the military Chaplain is for religious purposes and no other.Â Military personnel who are not believers should get their counciling from professionals that the services provide, he wrote.
A Chaplain of the Jewish faith wrote that nonbelievers should receive the same services as believers.Â That is, they should haveÂ access to someone who would be like a Chaplain. But,Â such a personÂ should not be called a “Chaplain”.
There are a couple of otherÂ angles to this.Â OneÂ is the trendÂ ofÂ young people toÂ not identify with any denomination or “the church” in general.
Then, there isÂ the “in home” church that is apparently becoming more popular.Â These are small groups of people who do not want to participate in traditional churches andÂ provide their own amature churchÂ services.Â Both of these trends wouldÂ leave the traditional Chaplaincy Corp with aÂ smaller population.
It seems like people of faith should have access to worship while in the military.Â Yet, we need the to recruit people of all persuasions into the military.Â Â Â
If the future is like the past, our society will continue to change.Â Perhaps it will continue to become more secular.Â This would diminish the role of the Chaplaincy Corp and solve what now appears to be a difficult dilemma.