After the Army recently permitted “humanist” (non-believer) as a religious preference, many hoped a humanist chaplain might follow, the Religion News website reports today (June 4, 2014).
But the Navy last week rejected the application of Jason Heap, a humanist, for the position of chaplain, a Navy official familiar with the case confirmed. Details of the Navy’s decision were not revealed due to privacy concerns.
Roy Speckhardt — executive director of the American Humanist Association — called for a reversal of the decision. “Prejudice is not an American value,” he said.
On the other hand, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty welcomed the decision. “Chaplains, historically and by definition, are people of faith,” said retired reserve Chaplain Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “You can’t have an ‘atheist chaplain’ any more than you can have a ‘tiny giant’ or a ‘poor millionaire.'”