Friday, June 7, 2013

There Are Atheists In Foxholes

Not everyone can grasp the concept that not everyone believes in a magical sky faerie.  Via Crooks & Liars:

A Texas Republican congressman said on Wednesday that he opposed atheist chaplains in the military because they would tell the parents of dead soldiers that their children were just “worm food.”

During Wednesday night’s House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) explained that he had offered an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow humanists to join the chaplain corps to provide better counseling services for atheist soldiers.

“I don’t offer this to be provocative, I certainly don’t offer it as an attack on else’s choice of faith,” Andrews remarked. “But it seems to me that for whatever number of people — it’s either tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands — who wear the uniform that they have this option to receive counseling when they believe they need it in such a situation.”

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), however, said that he “couldn’t disagree with this move any more vehemently.”

“You can’t use the word chaplain with atheists because they don’t believe anything,” he insisted. “They don’t believe in a faith, they don’t believe it.”

“I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life, and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it. You’re son’s just worms, I mean, worm food,'” Conaway added. “I couldn’t disagree with this more.”

Actually, atheists believe in lots of things, and not all of them agree about what they believe in — or don’t believe in.  It is possible to be a chaplain and not believe in God or a god; for example, there are plenty of Quaker chaplains — even in the military — and for a lot of Quakers, not believing in some mythology is the reason they’re Quakers in the first place.  And it is possible to be soldier who is an atheist and who really doesn’t want or need a chaplain to counsel him or her in a time of need with something that runs counter to their own faith and practice — or lack of it.

But apparently Mr. Conaway, who doesn’t seem to know anything about any other faith than his own, doesn’t really care about anybody else and their own beliefs.

5 barks and woofs on “There Are Atheists In Foxholes

  1. For many, many years, atheist soldiers had to chose a religion to put on their dogtags. Even now, on some military bases, not being a believer is cause for suspicion. Just another sign of fear in the conservative mind.

  2. You have to believe the military is smart enough to send the appropriate notification team to the home. They don’t send a rabbi to a christian family, why would they send a humanist there?

    Like so many arguments the wingnuts come up with this just boils down to “you are different than me, I don’t understand it, and have no desire to try”.

  3. There is no lack of ignorance among the talibanized bigots infesting our landscape these days. Takes my breath away.

  4. In addition to the proverbial foxhole there are also atheists in tanks and ships and aircraft, I formerly among them. As I recall, I took my oath to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true FAITH and allegiance to the same…”

    I have faith and I believe in lots of things. Among them are a faith in the Constitution and the general (although frequently uneven) progress we are making toward that “more perfect union.” I generally have faith in my fellow human being. I had faith in my comrades when I served in the Air Force.

    What I don’t have faith in is a God or gods or that you know what is best for me.

    And, should I have been killed or injured during my service, I would certainly NOT have wanted a chaplain to tell my family that I was in a better place or my injury was part of God’s plan.

    Carry on.

Comments are closed.