• Overview

    military_policy_secularThe military presents a unique situation where the government is intricately involved in daily life for over a million active duty personnel. While providing service members with access to fulfill their own personal beliefs, the government must ensure it displays neutrality toward religion and belief in the military. Nontheists in the armed forces deserve equal access to support and equal respect for their service.

    More self-identified atheists serve in the military than any other non-Christian denomination.92 The military shows its appreciation for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews through special dietary and uniform accommodations and special chaplain accession policies. Yet even though nontheists serve in larger numbers than any of these groups, they have no recognition or accommodation.

    Support for nontheists puts all service members on equal terms and legitimizes the religious facilities, events, and support programs provided for those who prefer religious affiliation.

    Religion and Christianity in particular are afforded special privileges within the U.S. military. This is obvious in the 98% Christian chaplaincy, the special accessions for Catholic chaplains, the use of ceremonial prayer, and the inculcation of God (and Christianity) into all aspects of military care programs. Our military should be neutral toward religion and avoid religious preferencing or proselytizing of any kind.

    Our Recommendations on Military