Members of the U.S. Army can now proudly and officially list their religion as “Humanist,” after years of not being able to do so, according to the ACLU.
The Army’s faith code allows for designation of Wiccans, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and over 100 denominations of Christians, among other faiths, but until now had few offerings for those who follow a non-theistic belief system.
However, this week, the Army changed its faith code to allow Humanists to identify themselves as such.
Major Ray Bradley, a Humanist who contacted the ACLU over his complaint of religious discrimination, wrote on the ACLU blog:
The ability to accurately identify myself in my official Army records as a Humanist is not only a matter of personal integrity and dignity, but it also has important implications for my military service. These records are used by promotion boards, academic selections boards, supervisors, and commanders to see who I am, where I was born, my marital status, and other data. Upon arrival at a new duty station, this data provides key information for assigning a sponsor best suited to assist service members and their families settle into a new community. In addition, with the approval of the Humanist faith code, I and other Humanists can now ask for support from the Army Chaplaincy, including space to gather regularly and to have these meetings advertised as other religious services are.
Before the change in policy, Humanists had the option of listing their faith as either “atheist” or “no religious preference.”
Humanism is a non-theistic faith based around a progressive system of beliefs. The core tenants are compassion, the pursuit of knowledge, and the defence of human rights.
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