The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is offering “alternatives to church” programs and meetings during summer training at U.S. military academies in an attempt to gain official recognition for similar secular programs during the school year.
“Having summer programs available at each Academy for the second year in a row is a big step forward in creating a more welcoming command religious climate in the military,” stated MAAF president Jason Torpy on Monday.
“This is recognition of nontheists that we should expect from the Academies in the future. It is a credit to the senior cadets and local volunteers that this has happened, and it is encouraging and appropriate that the military leaders have recognized the atheists in their ranks after not having done so for so many decades,” Torpy wrote in the group’s blog, “Atheists in Foxholes News.”
Although cadets and midshipmen have the opportunity to meet in humanist and secular alternative programs during summer training as do faith groups, Torpy questions whether the academies will give “equal support to atheists, humanists, and other nontheists” during the academic year.
The MAAF has been attempting to gain official status within the U.S. military for atheist and humanist groups for several years by saying there is a religious diversity problem.