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Jun 12 2013

Nontheist Chaplains Coming to a Vote

From the Secular Coalition for America:

Tell the House: Respect Nontheistic
Military Service Members

We just learned that an amendment crucial to our nontheistic service men and women is getting a second chance. We need your help once more!

Thursday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on an amendment that would allow nontheistic chaplains in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces. The amendment to H.R. 1960—which would fund the military for fiscal year 2014—is crucial to the roughly 23 percent of men and women in the armed services who are religiously unaffiliated “nones” or atheists.

Although it fell short of the votes needed to pass the House Armed Services Committee, your overwhelming response was heard throughout Congress’ halls. With more co-sponsors and more support, the amendment will be introduced once more, this time for consideration by the full House.

Why are chaplains so important to nontheistic service members? Why don’t they just talk to a psychiatrist or counselor? The answers may surprise you:

  • Military psychiatrists and counselors are an inadequate substitution for chaplains because information discussed in sessions with a counselor or a psychiatrist can be shared with military personnel and possibly harm a service member’s future military career.
  • The chaplain-patient relationship enjoys more confidentiality then the psychiatrist or counselor relationship does.
  • Studies indicate that service men and women fail to seek the needed help from psychiatrists and counselors because of the stigma that doing so makes them weak.

Our nontheistic service members sacrifice for all of us daily—now they need you to sacrifice just a minute of your time to write your representative and urge them to support this amendment.

The vote is THURSDAY morning – write your representative NOW!

Sincerely,

Edwina Rogers,
Executive Director

The SCA is making this one easy. Click here to contact your representative.

1 comment

  1. 1
    Nepenthe

    Wow. I’ve never called a representative before. Not quite as terrifying as I expected.

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