US Navy Rejects Humanist Applicant for Chaplain; Retired Chaplain: Chaplains Are People of Faith

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.'”




Iran To Restore 3 Armenian Churches

Iran is ready to launch works for restoration of 3 Armenian churches in the Tghmut river basin.

The Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan, Supreme Archimandrite Grigor Chiftchyan addressed the Aras economic zone department for protection of cultural and religious monuments with a request to observe the norms of Armenian church construction, Blagovest-Info reported.

Iran has 7 free economic zones, with the Republic’s government planning to use them for development of economy and tourism. Extensive grounds owned by Armenian Church, as well as 3 churches – St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. Sargis and St. George are situated in Aras.

As Iranian authorities are preparing for restoration, Armenian Eparchy suggested involvement of Armenian experts, with the offer to be taken into consideration.

As agreed with Armenian side, upon completion of restoration, the churches will be included into the Aras tourist routes.

Currently, there are 25 Armenian churches in Iran, with 11 of them operating mainly in Tehran, Tabriz and Isfahan.