As the House Republicans continue to show that they will do anything they can to maintain Christian privilege in the military, Kathleen Johnson provides a perfect example of why humanist chaplains are needed in the military at the Rock Beyond Belief blog. This is the true story of someone she knows personally:
Service member two, who I will call Jenny, is an atheist at the same base and unit as Mike. Jenny also just returned from the same deployment and its also having trouble reintegrating with her family at home. She knows the only way she can get secular counseling is to risk the stigma associated with seeking out mental health services so she elects to also see the chaplain. During her first and only session with the chaplain, the chaplain tells her there are no such thing as atheists, because people who are atheists are simply people who have lost their way to God. He further tells her that he has a duty to help her accept Jesus into her heart and until that’s done, he cannot help her resolve her marital and family issues. Because she’s worried about her family, she seeks out and receives competent counseling through her installation’s behavioral health center but to do so, she had to inform her chain of command that she was seeing a counselor and when her next security clearance investigation came up, she was required to disclose that she had sought counseling and what that counseling was for! She was subsequently informed that the content of her counseling sessions would be obtained from her counselor and reviewed for any material that could cause her to be a security risk. Also, since her installation behavioral health services department was overextended by the critical need to treat service members with post traumatic stress and brain injuries, she was referred off-post to see a counselor but was limited to the handful of sessions her insurance, TRICARE, would cover and was advised if she wanted more services, those would have to be paid for out of her own funds.
A Christian soldier on that same base faces none of this, of course, which is exactly why there needs to be humanist chaplains in the military.