Friday, November 07, 2014

Humanist Sues Navy Over Rejection of His Chaplaincy Application

Stars and Stripes reported yesterday that a lawsuit has been filed in federal district court for the Northern District of Virginia by a religion scholar and former youth minister whose application to become the Navy's first Humanist chaplain was turned down.  Plaintiff Jason Heap, who filed suit along with the Humanist Society, claims that political opposition to a Humanist as a chaplain derailed his application. (See prior related posting.) He contends that he holds his Humanist beliefs with the same strength and sincerity as believers in traditional religions hold theirs.  He says that his rejection violated his constitutional rights and asks the court to order his instatement as a Navy Chaplain. The suit names various Navy and Defense officials as defendants. Last week in an unrelated case, an Oregon federal district court held that Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes. (See prior posting.)