Not only from a logical standpoint is the idea of “atheist chaplains” entirely deficient, as Rep. John Fleming observed yesterday on the issue, but from a procedural standpoint as well, as anybody (like Fleming) who has been in the service knows. But that such an effort had to be inserted in writing shows the continuing effects of the social experiment the Pres. Barack Obama Administration has foisted upon the military.
Fleming successfully got amended H.R. 2397 to exclude this concept from the defense appropriation bill for the upcoming fiscal year. During debate, he pointed out the completely oxymoronic concept involved, as chaplains are there to provide to offer prayer, spiritual counseling, and religious instruction. But if a member of the armed services declares himself “nonreligious,” which assumes agnosticism or atheism, how can prayer happen, what spirit is there to counsel about, and where’s the instruction to be given?
Dredging up similar arguments as had been rejected in committee last month, supporters said this would give an outlet to such members for life counseling. But chaplains are presumed to counsel on the basis of some kind of religious faith in a divine presence, so that is irrelevant in these cases. For those with no religious life at all, a counselor who assistance would be based upon concepts of the secular world would be appropriate and are available.
And the idea also directly contradicts the very oaths by which members of the military take at enlistment or commissioning, both of which end in the sentence “So help me God.” While polytheist members may expand the concept of “God” to fit their views, nonbelievers may discount that portion of their oath as an appeal to a fiction, yet the military with the presence of the phrase certainly takes it seriously. So it makes no sense in a procedural way to say there can be nonreligious spiritual guides when the institution itself ordains that all its members attest to belief in a spiritual being(s)/presence of some kind. To be consistent, it would first have to remove from the oaths that phrase before adding in “chaplains” who guide without any reference to a spiritual force.
Unfortunately, it’s all part of Obama and Democrats trying to steer the military away from being an organization optimally able to kill and destroy in the furtherance of the nation’s interests/security and instead using it as a stamp to mold society into their flawed image. With allowing open homosexual behavior in the ranks, this detracts from effectiveness. Fleming himself already has pushed back against illegal same-sex marriage substitutes using military facilities. And another recent presidential order to allow women in all combat positions will weaken fighting capability not just because of morale issues, but also because few if any women can meet the same physical demands even the weakest men must possess in combat duty, and already politicians are talking of making standards differential. Worst of all, amid reports of a growing hostility to religion in the military, it has the military legitimize certain protected forms of claimed religious practice by its members by calling acts of violence on that basis not related to terror despite the testimony of the defendant.
Louisianans should be gratified that Fleming again has taken on this reshaping to prevent further erosion of the U.S. military’s culture that has proven so essential to allowing it to protect the nation to maximize the country’s commitment to the ideas on which it was founded.