Capt. Ryan Jean is one of a dozen seeking Army recognition as a humanist lay leader, similar to (but more unofficial than) a military chaplain. Jean explains why recognition is important:
It shows that we are a community with real needs. It shows that the chaplaincy by its very nature is not meeting those needs — and, I would argue, is inherently incapable of properly meeting those needs without some sort of liaison.
Craig James is up in arms about a Fox News segment featuring Father Jonathan Morris, an Army Chaplain who ridiculed the idea:
The Chaplains in our military are the first and best resource that these young soldiers turn to for help when faced with the awful reality of war. Yet Father Jonathan Morris seems to think that atheist and agnostic soldiers don’t deserve the critical services of a chaplain.
On a related note, Jennifer Rizzo tells the story of a recent soldier almost pulled from graduation for refusing to bow his head in prayer.
(Photo: Protestant U.S. Army chaplain Brian Chepey leads prayers on September 11, 2011 at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. By John Moore/Getty Images.)