The torrent of nonsense in opposition to the appointment of humanist chaplains in the military continues to flow, this time from Wallace Henry, an “exclusive columnist” for the Christian Post. He trots out the old “atheism is a religion” line and thinks this will only make that claim more true.
Contrary to what you may be reading, Christians should be disappointed and atheists should be glad.
Why? Because allowing atheist chaplains recognizes atheism as a religion and would make atheists subject to the same legal restrictions they have gleefully placed on every other religion.
In the contemporary environment it is easier to speak against God than for God in the public square. An officially sanctioned military chaplaincy for atheists could actually weaken the atheists’ grip on public religious expression.
Wrong. And ignorant. Allowing the military to appoint atheist/humanist chaplains does not turn atheism into a religion; in fact, it would do quite the opposite. Currently, military regulations require that chaplains be sanctioned by a recognized religious organization. We want to change that, to allow the appointment of chaplains who are not religious and not sanctioned by any religion.
If atheists want it, it’s about time, therefore, that atheism should be recognized for what it is – a belief system regarding deity and ultimate reality. It has its own creeds, high priests, and scriptures. Bygone prophets like Bertrand Russell are revered along with the contemporary evangelists of atheism, like Richard Dawkins. The late Christopher Hitchens is among its saints.
Appointing atheist chaplains would give official sanction of sorts to the religious nature of atheism. In fact, atheism focuses passionately on spirituality. It works feverishly to deny the spiritual nature of the human being, and only wants the chaplains for ethical and psychological guidance.
In that light, maybe advocates for an atheist military chaplaincy might rethink their position.
Or maybe we’ll just point and laugh at you for spewing such absurdities. No, atheism does not have creeds, high priests or scriptures. The fact that this or that atheist has achieved some prominence does not make them a priest. Even as an analogy, this claim is absurd; as a direct factual claim, it’s positively idiotic.