Heap says he’s not trying to make a point or bring attention to himself. He says he wants only to serve his country — and those sailors who don’t believe in God and hold what he calls “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…
He added: “Just as a Roman Catholic would prefer to speak with a priest, or a Jewish person with a rabbi … nontheist people would prefer to have access to someone who understands their basic points of view.”