Is the Army putting pressure on soldiers to be religious?01/19/11 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Coming up on the first half of today's program an interview with Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF) president, Jason Torpy.
According to the group Atheists of Florida- Torpy says that over 23% of current military personnel are secular; ie, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, freethinkers and other nontheists.
Torpy is in the Bay area to discuss the recently implemented US Army's â€œspiritualâ€ component of its â€œComprehensive Soldier Fitnessâ€ program as problematic to this portion of the military population. He reports that part of the problem, as well, is that numerous attempts to work with US Army officials has been met with lack of cooperation and even hostility from leaders in charge of this training.
Torpy said: "Though chaplains are certainly part of the problem, they must step up and be part of the solution. Better training for chaplains would help to mitigate the comprehensive failure of the army's spirituality training concept."
Torpy pointed out that the military permits nontheist personnel to self-identify only as "Atheist," "Agnostic," or "No Preference."
Within this category, however, are also personnel who identify themselves as Secular Humanists and Freethinkers: designations that are currently not officially recognized.
Torpy was a featured speaker at the historic February 2010 White House meeting between atheist groups & the Obama administration.
He is a West Point graduate and served as an US Army officer in Iraq.