Comment by Dustin on November 20, 2011 at 5:09pm

you know.... I was with the father up until the end...... I don't like an atheist going for a chaplaincy role either because it's sort of the same thing as saying you want to be an Atheist Pastor.  

 

He lost my vote when he said it is a good thing in the military that they encourage spiritual growth and that including an atheist chaplain diminishes the role of the chaplain.  

 

Why don't they just hire psychologists...... or therapists.... or social workers..... 

Comment by Dylan Blaine on November 20, 2011 at 6:37pm

Fox News is the world's only news station with the combined intelligence capacity of a cashew.

Comment by matt.clerke on November 20, 2011 at 6:39pm

I agree they shouldn't even have a chaplaincy program...they should just have a bunch of psychiatrists on staff.

Comment by Jason on November 21, 2011 at 6:12am

As I’ve said before…Atheist Chaplains….. ummmmm …no….
I understand what they are trying to accomplish…. But let’s not use the term Chaplin. This is a no brainer.

Comment by Tatyana Harris on November 21, 2011 at 12:01pm

umm.. can't he just use the word counselor?

Comment by Cristynfaye on November 21, 2011 at 1:37pm

As far as I understand (and I may be wrong), the military only has certain programs that you can work with.  It's not like you can just say hey, I want to start this new program.  So I think the atheist guy who wants to be a chaplain is just working within the system that exists.  That's my take on it.  I think it's not realistic for this priest to say that he should become a therapist or whatever, because he may not be able to do what he wants to do in that arena.  It sounds like the guy wants to offer "spiritual" support for those in the military who do not believe in God, if that makes sense.  Chaplains mentor and counsel people when they are ill, or have lost a loved one, etc...and I don't know if there is a program within the military structure that would allow a therapist or psychologist to do that in the same way.  I personally think it's great that he's going for this.  Atheists need guidance through existential questions, just like religious people do, so why not?

Comment by kris feenstra on November 21, 2011 at 2:54pm

"So I think the atheist guy who wants to be a chaplain is just working within the system that exists."

 

This is also my impression.  The father is wrong about the etymology.  It is related to 'chapel', but in the sense of a place that houses relics -- more specifically, the cloak of St. Something-or-other. <pause> Now that I've looked it up, St.  Martin (of Tours).

 

Really, if he's going to get into where the word comes from, Imams and Rabbis should not be qualified to be chaplains either.  I can't say I care about atheist chaplains or chaplaincy of any sort, but I do get sick of Christians stretching the meaning of words all willy nilly up until someone they disapprove of wants to adopt the terms.

Comment by Simon Paynton on November 22, 2011 at 3:22am

I'm afraid that pastor is a total idiot.  I would have expected better from a spiritual leader.  (Like CristinFaye says): as atheists, we face existential questions - spiritual questions - just the same as religious people.  I'm sure as hell that soldiers do especially.  So - what a bunch of hysterical nonsense.  If I was in the army I would want an atheist chaplain. 

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