BIRMINGHAM (TAB, RNS) — Although the United States Army recently permitted “humanist” as a religious preference, the United States Navy has rejected an application for the commissioning of a humanist chaplain. The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty welcomed the decision. Retired reserve chaplain Ron Crews said, “Chaplains, historically and by definition, are people of faith. You can’t have an ‘atheist chaplain’ any more than you can have a ‘tiny giant’ or a ‘poor millionaire.’” However, Humanist chaplains do serve in the militaries of Belgium and the Netherlands. Commander Erwin Kamp has served for 15 years in the Dutch armed forces, where he is one of 38 humanist chaplains in a force of 150. He said some of the humanist chaplains are atheists and others agnostic.
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