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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/13/13

Who Needs an Atheist Chaplain? Taxpaying Atheists, That's Who.

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Chaplain Corps' 238th birthday
Chaplain Corps' 238th birthday
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"A proposal by Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) to allow atheists and other nonbelievers to serve as military chaplains failed to win congressional approval. Rep. Mike Conway (R-TX) told the Huffington Post that he "can't imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family's home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, 'You know, that's it, your son's just... worm food.'"Read more:

I know quite a few atheists and not a single one would conduct themselves in such a manner as this good Christian man, Andrews, projects onto them.

Then this from, "Daniel Moran (who calls himself The Barking Atheist) approached Texas Republican Michael Burgess and asked him directly why he isn't supporting his atheist constituents, which led to other people in the town hall angrily shouting, "Throw him out!"

Burgess assured Moran at first that he represents all of his constituents, not just the religious ones. When Moran brought up his no vote against atheist chaplains, Burgess responded, "Yeah, I thought that was a dumb idea. I'll do it again." The audience applauded Burgess, and one man shouted, "There are no atheists in foxholes!"

Moran asked Burgess why a belief in god is necessary for a chaplain. When Moran started to respond, the audience began to boo and shout "Throw him out!"

By the way, if the name Michael Burgess sounds familiar to you, it's because he was in the news recently for talking about masturbating fetuses."

I'm embarrassed for these people who call themselves believers but seem to miss the main message of what they supposedly believe - compassion.

I'm also embarrassed they can't understand that in the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right, which includes the freedom not to believe and this personal decision should not be used to withhold services otherwise provided to believers.  

Is it any wonder why the fastest growing religious group is "nones?"

And I suspect some of the responsibility sits directly on the shoulders of the extreme religious right of the once respectable and intelligent Republican Party; a party long lost to anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-everything not in the Bible, from rural backwater gerrymandered districts. And the main stream media who seem obsessed with reporting every ugly wound the current political right inflicts on society.

In defense of atheist chaplains, religion and God are not inseparable. If one studies the etymology of the word, religion, he will find it also means to bind or connect. In particular to that which is sacred. What we choose to consider sacred is personal.

It is very possible to hold many aspects of our experience as sacred without having a god in the process. Should those who make this choice be ostracized even though they are taxpaying citizens of this country?

This kind of trouble starts when people blindly accept an orthodoxy and thoughtlessly assume others should too. How else could a town hall meeting turn into a mob when a taxpaying citizen insists on the same rights as other citizens?

This is exactly the kind of situation the founders understood and took precautions to eliminate with the freedom of religion clause in the constitution.

How about those who are so quick to claim the constitution is being violated everyday by this administration take a closer look at their own behavior. That would be a welcome change.

Robert De Filippis

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Robert De Filippis Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram Page

Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published eight books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)

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