Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: SPEAK UP NOW: Nontheistic Military Members Get A Seco...

From: Tim C.
Sent on: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:33 PM
Good points.  I can attest to having been helped by conversations with priests in the past.  I should not hold their faith or their "collars" against them as they COULD offer good advice without adding evangelism to the mix.
 
Still, non-believers ought to have non-believing options.
 
Tim
 
In a message dated 6/13/2013 4:50:21 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [address removed] writes:
Regardless of particular capacity being served at any given moment, the office of Chaplain offers certain provisions to service members. Chaplains often handle non-spiritual matters for the soldiers. Theology aside, many are trained to help in very practical ways---ways that psychiatrists etc just don't. They can act as the wise friend and shoulder.

Some chaplains can be very good at setting aside the spiritual and actually address the person on their terms. A priest was sent in to talk to me in the hospital once, and he was remarkably good at that. He didn't offer prayer or preaching, he just sat and talked with me. I actually felt better, even though his collar bothered me. 

Last year I was informed by my oncologist that I needed some pretty serious surgery. (It turned out later, they decided against it). I was absolutely going out of my mind. I didn't have many friends, because of the shunning policy of my old religion, and the ones I did have didn't share much history with me.

I knew a UU member and called her. She had the pastor call me. Now, to be fair, UU is unlike any other church and this woman knew I was an atheist and had no problem with it. In fact, when I had attended her church (after I left the JW's, I didn't miss God, but I really missed intentional community. That was a give as a JW, but I couldn't find it once I left) she started her talk by saying she was grateful for the Atheists, the Doubters and the Opinionated. What followed was truly a lovely talk.

She knew exactly how to talk to me, how to listen, and how to be comforting without being imposing. God didn't come up.

So I think that Chaplains serve a special purpose, outside the realm of religion, and they are uniquely qualified in certain situations to be supportive.

There is no reason our secular service people shouldn't have that resource at their disposal. They should feel comfortable and know that the chaplain really understands where they are coming from. That's a very iffy thing when it comes to religious chaplains. Some will be great at it, most will not. Why should we favor the religious over the secular when we are asking these men and women to sacrifice so much for us.




-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Campbell <[address removed]>
To: humanism-174 <[address removed]>
Sent: Thu, Jun 13,[masked]:58 pm
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: SPEAK UP NOW: Nontheistic Military Members Get A Seco...

Yes, the requirements would require some major revision.  Problem of course is the stubbornness and automatic prejudice against non-believers that currently permeate both Congress and the upper ranks of the military. 
 
Tim
 
 
In a message dated 6/13/2013 3:54:40 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [address removed] writes:
Having personally served in the military as a secular humanist and was subjected to countless official prayers, services, and "counselling" sessions and presentations from the military chaplains, I would welcome a humanist chaplain into the ranks.  I wonder, though, how it would work.  Some issues that will have to be sorted before this could happen. Such as, the requirements will have to be changed. see army requirements below. (http://www.goarmy.com/chaplain/about/requirements.html)

  • You must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group. This endorsement should certify that you are:
    • A clergy person in your denomination or faith group.
    • Qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally to serve as a Chaplain in the Army.
    • Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.
  • Educationally, you must:
    • Possess a baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours.
    • Possess a graduate degree in theological or religious studies, plus have earned at least a total of 72 semester hours in graduate work in these fields of study.
  • Applicants for active duty or the National Guard MUST be U.S. citizens. Permanent residents can ONLY apply for the Army Reserve.
  • Be able to receive a favorable National Agency Security Clearance.
  • Pass a physical exam at one of our Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
  • A minimum of two years of full-time professional experience, validated by the applicant’s endorsing agency (This requirement is not applicable to Army Reserve applicants).
  • Must be at least 21 years of age, but younger than 42 at time of Regular Army commissioning or less than 45 at time of Army Reserve commissioning. Prior service applicants with at least 3 years of prior AFS or creditable USAR service must be younger than 47 at time of Army Reserve commissioning. 

Aaron Humphreys
RF Engineer 
Apple AGC
3709 Marvin Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44109
(925) 207 - 9649


On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Tim Campbell <[address removed]> wrote:
This is why a humanist counselor ought to be called "chaplain" just as the ministers and priests and rabbis are.
Tim
 
 
In a message dated 6/13/2013 3:26:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [address removed] writes:
Don't forget that there is still a stigma (although
perhaps less than there used to be) for a member of the
military who seeks psychological or psychiatric
counseling.

Seeing a chaplain carries no such stigma, and may even be
seen as a virtue. So while we'd consider the two to be
equal from a atheist/humanist perspective, military
culture doesn't.


On Thu, 13 Jun[masked]:08:55 -0400
  Mark Tiborsky <[address removed]> wrote:
> I guess the trade-off would be to call such a person a
>"Humanist
> Counselor", but whatever they're called they should have
>the same rank,
> duties and privileges as religious chaplains.
>Nonreligious members of the
> military should have the same access to those who would
>help look after
> their general well-being without the inclusion of any
>religion-based mumbo
> jumbo.
>
> The House is voting on this issue again today.
> On Jun 13,[masked]:08 PM, "Glen" <[address removed]>
>wrote:
>
>> I agree with the points made, but isn't a secular
>>chaplain an oxymoron or
>> contradiction in terms? Could it be that they need a new
>>term for what the
>> person would be, especially if this could be part of the
>>hold up?  I also
>> wonder, why are sessions with psychiatrists or
>>psychologists not kept as
>> confidential as those with a chaplain, just as they
>>normally would be in
>> civilian life?
>>
>>
>>
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