While our military is making substantial progress integrating gay, lesbian and female Americans into its ranks, it continues to discriminate against nontheists. The chaplaincy has never had any formal training in non-theistic beliefs and practices. They are thus unqualified to extend their services to nontheists.
The chaplaincy is of benefit to military personnel and is one of many ways to serve. The chaplaincy is not solely about theistic religion. They have a varied and complex list of duties, including responsibility for morale support, advice on ethical decisions, and a variety of training. None of these duties requires a certain type of belief, either theistic or nontheistic. Humanists are capable of performing these duties and should not be excluded because of their beliefs. Humanists constitute 3.6% of the general population yet have no chaplains. Military chaplains are 98% Christian even though less than 70% of the military identifies as Christian. Humanists should be properly identified as a critical shortage in the chaplaincy. There are special accession programs for Jewish and Catholic chaplains, and Humanists should be added to the list for these programs until the shortage is resolved.
POLICY RECOMMENDATION: A qualified Humanist chaplain candidate should be appointed without delay.