Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
The United States Witch Doctors Corp
The United States military Chaplain Corps has had a privileged place in the American military system ever since it was formed in the First World War. Theses are our shamans, our witch doctors, casting chicken bones and invoking the protection of the god of war to protect our warriors.
In recent years, in response to soldiers complaining that their own faith was marginalized or that they were proselytized to, the Chaplains Corps has attempted to transform itself into a more secular organization that provides not only equal-opportunity magical incantations to our soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but also "counseling" in the field of war, and during wartime. Think "Father Mulcahy" from M.A.S.H. Untrained, bigoted "counselors" who have direct and unfettered access to our soldiers at the lowest, most vulnerable points in their lives.
Here's the kicker: We pay for them. You are paying the salary of a person who dismisses you as a hellbound liar. Someone who makes the claim that you aren't really an atheist and an agnostic, but instead just someone who pretends that there isn't a god so that you can go out and sin like crazy without feeling guilty. Someone who states in a smug voice that there are "no atheists in foxholes", like they just made it up on the spot.
Think I'm kidding?
[link] But as a military chaplain, Father Jaramillo ministers to all the soldiers of his unit, regardless of their denomination.
"I know we have soldiers of all persuasions and religious bents," he said in an e-mail to The Leaven, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. "We have two agnostics, one atheist and one Wiccan listed on the roster. I would bet anything that when push comes to shove, the four of them will come knocking on my door or seeking a higher power for some peace of mind."
The Chaplain Corps will probably never go away. As long as there are religious folks, the majority will force the rest of us to pay for supporting their stone-age superstitions and their own magical shaman. The military shamans will continue to dehumanize and ridicule the atheists in their foxholes, the only sane ones in the bunch. In the long run, there's really not much we can do about it except to complain. Both ours and their numbers are just too small to really make any sort of real difference.
But, it sure rubs me the wrong way every time I hear or read about one of these prancing, deluded witch doctors pontificating about some obscure magic spell - and I realize that I'm paying him to talk nonsense like that.
Yes, I realize that in the big picture, the long view, the Chaplain Corps doesn't really matter much - but as a veteran I can't not speak up when this sort of thing happens. I have too much self respect to stay quiet.