In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

This man wants to be the Navy's first humanist chaplain

By David Zucchino


JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Jason Heap grew up in Texas among Baptists and Lutherans. He earned a master's from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University.

Now, at age 38, Heap wants to be a U.S. Navy chaplain. But Heap is a humanist who doesn't believe in G0D, and the U.S. military has never sanctioned a humanist chaplain. Nor has the Navy acted on Heap's application, filed last month, to become its first approved humanist chaplain.

Heap said he's not trying to make a point or bring attention to himself. He said he only wants to serve his country — and those sailors who don't believe in G0D and hold what he called "nontheist" beliefs.

"As both a humanist and a scholar of religion, I have a deep knowledge and understanding of world religions," Heap said. "My purpose and focus as a chaplain will be for holistic well-being of anyone who is in need of pastoral care."

Heap's supporters say his application would have been quickly approved if he had been Baptist or Catholic. He has passed his physical. He's a religious scholar, and holds a master's from Oxford University in ecclesiastical history. He has taught at a Methodist church in Texas.

As required of chaplain applicants, Heap also has provided an "endorsing agency" — in his case, the Humanist Society, a 74-year-old organization founded by a group of Quakers.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to say whether the society is an approved endorsing agency, calling Heap's application "pre-decisional." Humanism does not appear on a Pentagon list of the 81 religions represented by the military's 2,884 chaplains, though "unknown" and "no religious preference" are listed.

"The chaplaincy risks much if they declare themselves available only to those who profess a god-belief," said Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, which supports Heap's application.

He added: "That noble mission should not shrink to god-only when a humanist comes calling."

Heap's application comes at a time when Republicans in Congress are trying to limit military chaplains to those who believe in a god.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved a measure by U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-La., designed to prevent the Pentagon from accepting atheist chaplains. "The notion of an atheist chaplain is nonsensical — it's an oxymoron," Fleming said. "It's absurd to argue that someone with no spiritual inclination should fill that role."

Conservative Christian groups have backed the amendment, arguing that humanism and atheism are not religions because they don't believe in a god. The amendment, part of a Defense Department appropriations bill, has moved to the Senate for a vote.

More than 13,000 service members identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, according to a Pentagon survey this year. That's more than the number of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in the military combined, yet each of those religions has its own chaplains. The Pentagon survey did not include a category for humanists.


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At least 276,000 service members said they had no religious preference — the largest single group after "Christian, no denominational preference" at 338,000, and just ahead of Roman Catholics at 263,000.

More than 500 service members say they are Unitarian-Universalists, whose membership includes those who describe themselves as humanists. There are four Unitarian-Universalist chaplains, who could be sought out by any service member who holds humanist beliefs. (There are 973 Wiccans, too, but no Wiccan chaplains.)

"Buddhists and Unitarian Universalists would endorse an atheist, yet no one is giving them special scrutiny to ensure their chaplains believe in a god," an interfaith coalition of religious leaders wrote in a statement supporting Heap's application.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, said the military does not endorse any specific religion or religious organization. He said the Pentagon "supports by policy the rights of members of the military services to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to have no religious beliefs."

Christensen said the mission of chaplains is "to provide care and the opportunity for service members to exercise their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion." Asked how long the Armed Forces Chaplains Board normally takes to approve an application, Christensen said waiting times vary from case to case.

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© 2013, Los Angeles Times Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.