A Texas Republican congressman said on Wednesday that he opposed atheist chaplains in the military because they would tell the parents of dead soldiers that their children were just “worm food.”
During Wednesday night’s House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) explained that he had offered an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow humanists to join the chaplain corps to provide better counseling services for atheist soldiers.
“I don’t offer this to be provocative, I certainly don’t offer it as an attack on else’s choice of faith,” Andrews remarked. “But it seems to me that for whatever number of people — it’s either tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands — who wear the uniform that they have this option to receive counseling when they believe they need it in such a situation.”
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), however, said that he “couldn’t disagree with this move any more vehemently.”
“You can’t use the word chaplain with atheists because they don’t believe anything,” he insisted. “They don’t believe in a faith, they don’t believe it.”
“I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life, and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it. You’re son’s just worms, I mean, worm food,’” Conaway added. “I couldn’t disagree with this more.”
Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast June 6, 2013.