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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 services.

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 e-mail: JoeBeck@HumanismServices.com, or by phone (716)912-7055. 

Joe Beck, C.S.W., is director of Humanist Counseling and Celebrations of the Council for Secular Humanism.

[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

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