23% of American military personnel classify themselves as having no religious beliefs, but they have been deemed completely irrelevant by every single Republican in the House, which voted down an amendment to the defense appropriations bill to allow atheist/humanist chaplains in the military.
The House on Friday rejected a Democratic proposal to allow nonreligious chaplains to serve nonreligious service members in the military.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said nearly a quarter of people serving in the military are nonreligious, but under current law, spiritual advisers must be appointed by religious organizations, like the Catholic Church. His amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would have changed that to allow “nontheistic” organizations to appoint people to the military’s chaplain corps.
“What my amendment would simply do is allow chaplains who are certified or ordained, secular humanists and ethical culturalists or atheists, to also be able to support the brave men and women who serve in our military,” Polis said.
Polis said his amendment is needed because the only other counseling option available to nonreligious service members is to see a mental health expert.
“When someone sees a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor, it has a certain stigma that can be attached to it that doesn’t exist when you’re seeing a chaplain,” he said. “It also doesn’t enjoy the same confidentiality that a chaplain visit does.”
Every single Republican voted against this, along with 44 Democrats. I can think of no reason other than bigotry and Christian privilege. They basically told every soldier who is not religious to go screw themselves.