Petition for Equality for Secular Soldiers Update
by Joe Beck
The following article is from the Secular
Humanist Bulletin, Volume 20, Number 1.
Thanks to the more than sixty individuals who sent me a
copy of their petition advocating equal services for nonreligious members of the
military. In the Summer 2003 SHB,
I pointed out that, while our government provides paid religious
chaplains at all military bases and provides captured Al Qaeda terrorists with
support from Islamic chaplains, there are no specifically identified
nonreligious counselors to meet the needs of nonreligious members of the armed
I asked readers of this Bulletin to send me a copy of their
letters/e-mails urging President George W. Bush to institute a corps of
nonreligious, supportive counselors who would be available to nonreligious
soldiers and others who desired their services. I received over sixty petitions,
many from secular humanist veterans. I intend to deliver those petitions to
President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when I visit Washington,
D.C., in March as part of my national tour advocating equality for nonreligious
members of the Armed Services.
Your letters to President Bush and your representatives in
the Senate and the House on this subject are still needed. On our trip, we
also plan to videotape messages from friends and relatives to their loved
ones serving overseas. If you would like us to visit your area, contact me by
or by phone (716)912-7055.
Joe Beck, C.S.W., is director of Humanist Counseling and
Celebrations of the Council for Secular Humanism.