Humanists host speaker at Ft Bragg chaplain facility

At Ft Bragg on Sep 22nd, David Niose presented topics from his new book Nonbeliever NationCentral North Carolina Atheists & Humanists (CNCAH) coordinated to make the event happen. Ft Bragg chaplains showed openness to nontheists in allowing the event at Watters Family Life Center on Ft Bragg. This is a positive step forward, showing openness from the chaplaincy and community-building by the local humanist community.

The primary organizer for the event was Ray Bradley, board member of CNCAH and humanist lay leader. The event was promoted and attended by members of MAAF and local group MASH Ft Bragg, currently led by Brenda Germain. While individuals might navigate their way independently, this event was made possible only with collaboration between local and national humanist groups, military and civilian humanist groups, and with support from the military chaplaincy.

During the event, Mr Niose encouraged the “Secular Americans” in the audience to help build a community within the military, drawing an analogy between military groups and the value he sees in student groups:

This seemingly simple act—creating groups in public schools for students who are atheist, agnostic, humanist, or otherwise nonreligious—could do more to validate the idea of being personally secular than anything else the secular community has done.

The next event at Ft Bragg is sponsored by MASH Ft Bragg and will feature psychologist Dr Andy Thomson in a conference room at the Airborne Inn on Ft Bragg on November 18th. This will be a good opportunity to continue to build a supportive atheist and humanist community on the installation. Hopefully will also provide an opportunity to address ongoing concerns. Soldiers have been denied the opportunity to simply identify officially as humanist. In addition, requests to volunteer as an Army DFGL (lay leader) have been obstructed for over a year while there are reports that Ft Bragg is hiring a senior youth minister to expand already extensive Protestant ministry programs. (Requests for comment from Ft Bragg weren’t immediately returned.)

Earlier this year, Ft Bragg opened to Rock Beyond Belief but that was done expressly without chaplain involvement. At the military Academies, humanist groups have official recognition but outside the chaplain area. At MacDill AFB, MCAS Miramar, and precious few other locations have chaplains actually agreed to provide basic services to nontheists. That’s why this most recent event, with chaplain approval, at Ft Bragg is so special. Hopefully, openness to the nontheist community like we saw at Ft Bragg last weekend will help bring atheists and humanists equality in the military.

2 Responses to Humanists host speaker at Ft Bragg chaplain facility

  1. This was a great article up until you added a link to a blog about how Fort Bragg is supposedly hiring a Senior Youth Minister. Did you read that blog? The source seems completely unreliable and it doesn’t mesh well with the rest of this article. You should consider removing that because it brings your credibility into question. If Fort Bragg and the Chaplaincy are working with the secular community, why not just report it for what it is and leave it at that? Why add a link to a source that is clearly unreliable and controversial in nature?

    • Sorry that didn’t sit well. If you’ve got some source that says this is untrue, I’m ready to listen, but I trust the source and Ft Bragg chaplains didn’t deny the report. If you have some other information, let me know. You can still go to the Ft Bragg chaplain page and see their core focus. This is the News page at the Ft Bragg chaplaincy: http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/chaplain/Pages/News.aspx
      You’ll find, in order, with nothing left out: Anti-choice evangelism, Catholic, Protestant, Catholic, child Protestant evangelism, protestant, protestant, Protestant prosperity ministry, stealth Protestant family evangelism, Catholic, child Protestant evangelism.
      For the record, I just looked and had no idea what I would find. I guarantee I could make a media storm out of this and other chaplain offices by highlighting the lack of diversity and the stealth and child evangelism the chaplains are promoting. But whatever. Christians can do what they do, and if there is an issue what I really am concerned about is the services for us. The youth minister is relevant because chaplains are expanding already extensive and exclusive Christian programs. I hope they’ll spend more time affirming and supporting (non-Christian) diversity in the ranks.

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