Atheist Chaplains in the Military: News Roundup

This week in the news:
Atheists and Humanists work towards being accepted as military chaplains, a New Jersey Muslim community battles zoning laws in court, the ACLU files a complaint against a Tennessee school board, and San Francisco may vote on a circumcision ban.

Chaplaincy in the Military
Must chaplains belong to an Abrahamic faith? If not, must they belong to a faith with a defined deity? This is a consideration that is being put to the military by those from within. Atheists and Humanists are not currently permitted to serve as chaplains, but they that may be changing. The guidelines currently state that an eligible individual must belong to a “faith group”, but what is and what is not a faith group is up for debate. The New York Times sheds light on the movement to allow Atheist and Humanist chaplains in the military.  (NY Times)
 
Continued Conflict over New Jersey Mosque
In a story that we’ve been following for some time, an Islamic group in Bridgewater, NJ is suing for religious discrimination. (Bloomberg Businessweek) The Al Falah Center was hoping to convert a large hall into a new mosque, but was stymied by a zoning adjustment that precluded houses of worship in that neighborhood. Bridgewater officials are stating that the decision was driven by the small, winding streets of the neighborhood and the lack of sidewalks. Al Falah is claiming that the town bowed to  anti-Muslim pressures. (Wall Street Journal)
 
Tennessee School Board Gains ACLU’s Attention
The ACLU is representing three families in Sumner County in alleging that the school board has been promoting religion since 2006. As of now, the school board has not been charged, but the ACLU is seeking an injunction to stop religious activities. Among the alleged transgressions are daily prayers and allowing clergy to proselytize during lunch. The complaint also points out that policy and practice has not changed despite a history of complaints from families in the community. (The Tennessean)
 
Circumcision to be Banned?
A group has secured the minimum number of signatures to put a proposed ban on circumcisions on the ballot in San Francisco. Experts are skeptical that the ban would stand, as it would almost certainly be challenged in court and possibly overturned for religious discrimination. (ynetnews.com)