Should the Military Provide Atheist Chaplains?

A formal request has been made by some atheists in the military for atheist chaplains.  That is an interesting request with far-reaching consequences.

A couple of Chaplains have commented about the request. One, an evangelical, said the military Chaplain is for religious purposes and no other.  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.  That is, they should have  access to someone who would be like a Chaplain. But,  such a person should not be called a “Chaplain”.

There are a couple of other angles to this.  One is the trend of young people to not identify with any denomination or “the church” in general.

Then, there is the “in home” church that is apparently becoming more popular.  These are small groups of people who do not want to participate in traditional churches and provide their own amature church services.  Both of these trends would leave the traditional Chaplaincy Corp with a smaller population.

It seems like people of faith should have access to worship while in the military.  Yet, we need the to recruit people of all persuasions into the military.   

If the future is like the past, our society will continue to change.  Perhaps it will continue to become more secular.  This would diminish the role of the Chaplaincy Corp and solve what now appears to be a difficult dilemma.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at
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4 Responses to Should the Military Provide Atheist Chaplains?

  1. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    I disagree with your appellation of “amateur” church services in homes. Having been to some of such services in a home, my observation is that these worship services are among the most Godly people I have ever known who also know more about the Bible than a lot of pastors I have known. Just a personal observation.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalo Gal 3:30 Thank you for pointing that out. I should have explained that I meant such folks, mostly, will not hold university degrees in theology, be ordained and licensed to be preachers. In that sense they are “amatures”. You are right in that they may be well read in many things including the Bible and be very helpful to those in attendance.

  2. entech says:

    I quite like the idea of small groups getting together in homes or perhaps small meeting places. Quite a few such people were amongst the early settlers in America; went there to escape persecution in their homelands. But the Puritans and others persecuted them anyway.
    Those that I am thinking of have never been involved in the horrors that you see in the history of all major sects.
    Yes the Quakers, the Amish are the good guys.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      David (entech) 10:49 Yes, the Quakers. It is facinating to me that the Quakers were always, or often, on the right side of social issues. While the rest of society, religious and not religious, were denfending slavery in the U.S., the Quakers were opposing it. I don’t know much about them, but what I know seems all goodl

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