Atheist chaplains would call fallen ‘worm food,’ says Republican congressman

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Rep. Adam Smith's amendment, part of defense authorization, defeated with strong objections by Rep. Mike Conaway — would have allowed humanists or members of ethical culture groups to become military chaplains.


No atheists in foxholes — or in the military chaplain corps.

That, in essence, was the message of a Texas congressman who apparently doesn’t know much about atheists.

“They don’t believe in anything,” Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican, insisted at a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “I can't imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family's home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, 'You know, that's it — your son's just worms, I mean, worm food.'"

Conaway’s claims were echoed by some of the other Republicans in the room.

"This I think would make a mockery of the chaplaincy," said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). "The last thing in the world we would want to see was a young soldier who may be dying and they're at a field hospital and the chaplain is standing over that person saying to them, 'If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future’.”

Written By: Corky Siemaszko
continue to source article at nydailynews.com

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  1. If anyone remembers Pat Tillman (the NFL player who was killed by friendly fire), there are indeed atheists in fox holes. And if you happen to believe in a deity that created both man and worm, then what is wrong with being part of the plan that says ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and then back you come from worm poop to food to people all over again? So I take solace in knowing that, in the scheme of things (OK, no scheme, just natural selection and various processes that are really cool), I will no doubt be worm food. Beats being wafted to either an ethereal North Korea where everyone is happy by design, or some really hot miserable place for all eternity.

    • Exactly. Even ifthere were a god and/or soul the body would still become worm food in the ideal natural world. In my opinion trapping the flesh in an airtight vault preserved with formeldahyde for eternity would be an absolute contradiction to any idea of ascension or reincarnation of any kind of soul in any religious belief. In reply to #1 by Daryl:

      If anyone remembers Pat Tillman (the NFL player who was killed by friendly fire), there are indeed atheists in fox holes. And if you happen to believe in a deity that created both man and worm, then what is wrong with being part of the plan that says ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and then back you c…

  2. I’ve noticed something, of which this story is an example. When conservatives oppose a proposal, they claim its being followed would lead to such and such, with no proof. I hate that. When progressives oppose a proposal, they point out it has previously been carried out elsewhere in space and/or time and has already led to such and such, with examples of evidence of that. (This is one of many reasons I feel confident in the case against conservatism.) I suppose part of the reason for that is because a policy progressives oppose will almost by definition be unoriginal, so we can see from the past what it does, whereas conservatives will frequently oppose the previously untried.

  3. There would be a huge outcry if, for example, a Christian chaplin visiting the family of a Muslim (or vice versa) serviceman or woman said “Well unfortunately your loved one is now burning in Hell”, but this doesn’t happen because the chaplin is there to provide comfort (the Christian chaplin in fact has to lie to the bereaved.family about what he thinks is the deceased’s fate, or compromise his own faith)

    To claim that an atheist chaplin is not able to provide comfort to the family is as fallacious claiming atheists have no moral code (if nothing else an atheist chaplin would never make the claim above).

    • In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

      Don’t they love projecting their ignorance and stupidity on to other people!

      In this part of Ireland there is a beautiful custom of digging your neighbour’s grave when their time comes. I have been involved in many such diggings, but I have yet to encounter a worm.

      • In reply to #7 by Kevin Murrell:

        In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

        Don’t they love projecting their ignorance and stupidity on to other people!

        In this part of Ireland there is a beautiful custom of digging your neighbour’s grave when their time comes. I have been involved in many such diggings, but I have yet to encounter a wo…

        A beautiful custom I am sure but, have you ever been present at an exhumation and wondered, “Where’s the beef?”

        • In reply to #11 by AlGarnier:

          In reply to #7 by Kevin Murrell:

          In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

          Don’t they love projecting their ignorance and stupidity on to other people!

          In this part of Ireland there is a beautiful custom of digging your neighbour’s grave when their time comes. I have been involved in many such diggings…

          What I omitted to say in the last posting, that they are frequently re-opened family graves, you get buried on top of your relations. Worms do not appear.

      • In reply to #7 by Kevin Murrell:

        In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

        Don’t they love projecting their ignorance and stupidity on to other people!

        In this part of Ireland there is a beautiful custom of digging your neighbour’s grave when their time comes. I have been involved in many such diggings, but I have yet to encounter a worm.

        Are there no worms in Ireland? I knew there were no snakes or moles.

        Perhaps they got confused when St Patrick was driving out the snakes; looked at the snakes, then at themselves, and said “He must mean us”.

        You’ve got me convinced now that worms think they’re little snakes.

        • In reply to #16 by Katy Cordeth:

          Are there no worms in Ireland? I knew there were no snakes or moles.
          Perhaps they got confused when St Patrick was driving out the snakes; looked at the snakes, then at themselves, and said “He must mean us”.
          You’ve got me convinced now that worms think they’re little snakes.

          And apparently they talk as well! The bible is Trooo!

          Steve

        • In reply to #16 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #7 by Kevin Murrell:

          In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:

          Don’t they love projecting their ignorance and stupidity on to other people!

          In this part of Ireland there is a beautiful custom of digging your neighbour’s grave when their time comes. I have been involved in many such diggings…

          Plenty of worms – in the parliament, the church, the financial system, the senior ranks of the union movement etc.

  4. “Worm food”?

    Which part of reality does this buffoon not accept? He really thinks he’s going to live forever ! Halleluyah! He would have chaplins lie to dying people. A poisonous attitude indeed. I would spit in his face if he leaned over my dying body, and told me Jesus loves me.

  5. “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.’”

    Well they wouldn’t do that, nor would they say “Good news, your son is dead; he’s in a better place now.”

    Of course, my saying this is ignorant… but not quite as ignorant.

    • In reply to #10 by aquilacane:

      “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.’”

      I was told, as my mom was dying, “You know she wouldn’t be here right now if you just had more faith” – as if it was our fault.

      I went to a funeral of a woman who had basically suffocated to death as her muscles failed her one by one. The congregation was told how tortured her death was, but that she was a strong woman because God needed someone to take that burden and knew that she was capable of doing so. Ridiculous. Seemed to be comforting to the family, but what kind of deity needs people to die like that?

    • Well in my work i have to deal with many races/cultures/religions. When i must deliver this type of news i was trained to be honest and compassionate. Your family member has died. We are trained to eplore what their beliefs are and support them unbias. It is not our job to judge religious beliefs at a time of grieving.
      In reply to #10 by aquilacane:

      “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.’”

      Well they wouldn’t do that, nor would they say “Good news, your son is…

    • In reply to #12 by Aztek:

      What’s wrong with worm food? I think it’s a pretty beautiful idea that worms will eat my body as part of the cycle of nature.

      Don’t look down on worms! They are cool.

      I am dismayed by the abysmal ignorance being shown on this thread!

      Of course the dead will not be eaten by worms. They are eaten by bacteria, mostly.

      Sorry, I’ll get my coat.

      • In reply to #22 by SomersetJohn:

        In reply to #12 by Aztek:

        What’s wrong with worm food? I think it’s a pretty beautiful idea that worms will eat my body as part of the cycle of nature.

        Don’t look down on worms! They are cool.

        I am dismayed by the abysmal ignorance being shown on this thread!

        Of course the dead will not be eaten…

        And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out! The phrase “Worm Food” is a colloquialism. The term “ignorance” is similarly used by lazy minds.

      • In reply to #22 by SomersetJohn:

        I am dismayed by the abysmal ignorance being shown on this thread!

        Of course the dead will not be eaten by worms. They are eaten by bacteria, mostly.

        Yes, but they are destroyed by worms:

        Job 19:26 “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”

        So there!

        Steve

      • In reply to #22 by SomersetJohn:

        In reply to #12 by Aztek:

        What’s wrong with worm food? I think it’s a pretty beautiful idea that worms will eat my body as part of the cycle of nature.

        Don’t look down on worms! They are cool.

        I am dismayed by the abysmal ignorance being shown on this thread!

        Of course the dead will not be eaten…

        The phrase, “Worm Food” is a colloquialism. It refers to the decomposition of an animal corpse. Even the abysmally ignorant know that.

  6. I submit that an atheist would be ultimately more understanding of the requirements of a polytheistic chaplain’s role than any other. With proper training in the psychology of the different stages of death and bereavement, combined with a working knowledge of the various beliefs of all his troops; an atheist would best serve to console all troops without jeopardizing his own belief and be of better service to the needs of their individual families in time of need.

    • Absolutely! Well said!
      In reply to #13 by AlGarnier:

      I submit that an atheist would be ultimately more understanding of the requirements of a polytheistic chaplain’s role than any other. With proper training in the psychology of the different stages of death and bereavement, combined with a working knowledge of the various beliefs of all his troops; a…

  7. Hah, this made me laugh quite a bit.

    An atheist is clearly just some sort of psychopath to Mr. Conway. I’d rather first feed the worms this sort of ignorance and generalization before pessimistically just dropping our own bodies to them. Stating to dying individuals about such an obvious and unnecessary thing about death is something no sensible person would do, though Mr. Conway may not think any atheist to be sensible in the first place.

  8. Its reading this and knowing that this cretin is part of the political system of one of the most powerful and influential nations on this planet (well, until nasty atheist China takes over) , that I remember why his ilk scare me . Of course , he has made the giant “leap of faith” in assuming that the loved ones of a deceased serviceman/woman would not also be atheists., free thinkers , and who would not take grate offense at some slimy christian chaplain spinning the old “heaven: crap .

    re, “worm food” , I am happy with that, but I would prefer to have someone tell (remind me) , that the beautiful fate that awaits my departed loved one is simply that his/her atoms will return to the universe , where they came from !

  9. I feel quite encouraged by this article. 20, or even 10 years ago, this would not have been newsworthy as these comments would seem normal. Now we can read this, point, and laugh at the silly old buffoon with his quaint old fashioned views. I feel a tipping point coming on.
    Having said that, whilst not denigrating those brave enough to fight for a just cause, I think that military recruitment campaigns will always target those of a religious bent. It is to the advantage of the powers that be to have young people who like to follow instructions without too much rationalisation. There will therefore always be proportionally less atheists in foxholes.

    • In reply to #19 by TenderHooligan:

      I feel quite encouraged by this article. 20, or even 10 years ago, this would not have been newsworthy as these comments would seem normal. Now we can read this, point, and laugh at the silly old buffoon with his quaint old fashioned views. I feel a tipping point coming on.
      Having said that, whilst…

      I agree, TenderHooligan, and was thinking the same thing – hoping that I’d see a response like yours. I think of all the stupid things politicians said in the past about “women’s place” and am just waiting for the day (coming soon!) when they will have to eat their words about atheists.

  10. So what if the Chaplain goes to the home of an atheist with the bad news? I would be in such grief that I certainly wouldn’t want to hear a bunch of nonsense during my time of grief. Having a secular person accompany the others would be much more reasonable and provide a family with no religious background (or one with a totally different religious view) someone who could provide much better consolation.

  11. Its clearly an absurd and false myth that Non believing people are emotionless, insensitive or un compassionate – especially at the moment of another human beings death…..Religious people should refrain from Generalising about something they know nothing about…….Non believers try to live a true and fair life Now while we have the real chance to make a positive difference to our fellow humans….Non believers refuse to live a neurotic life of guilt and fear or be obsessed by death and afterlife like religious people are ….Non believers have accepted the reality of life and death, however we are compassionate and do care about humans……These crazy, prejudiced religious men or people like them DO NOT speak for me or millions of other Non believers…

  12. Suggesting all atheists lack compassion because they don’t believe in a deity is similar to suggesting all Christians are Jew haters for crucifying their saviour and all Muslims hate everyone not subscribing to their religion. Of course these statements are preposterous and maybe even slanderous and should be refuted.
    Conway was probably just trying to make some cheap browny points with his remarks. He should be reminded roughly 20% of the US electorate doesn’t give a rats A** about religion and find his remarks offensive.. jcw

  13. Perhaps we should teach the Republican the “Yorkshire Anthem”, otherwise “On Ikley Moor Baht’hat” . The lyrics to this can be found at:
    http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/o/onilkleymoorbahtat.shtml

    Various versions in different singing styles can be found on YouTube: Bill Odie’s version is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMaB0cqwcvI

    In brief it involves the friends of a man who died (because he went on the windswept and usually rainy Ilkley Moor without a hat), singing the sequence of Death and worms. This concludes via a duck, which was subsequently eaten by the friends, meaning they had eaten their friend!
    Sorry no time for a better summary!

    I trifle more realistic an attitude to death!

  14. I for one am happy to be worm food. I like very much the idea that I will be recycled into the food chain and be redistributed. Even if cremated I would literally be redistributed into almost every plant on the planet I think one of the most repulsive things about the religious republicans like this is their disdain of the natural world, we’d be royally screwed without worms, bacteria and other recyclers of the dead.

  15. “Atheist chaplains would call fallen ‘worm food,’ says Republican congressman” And Republicans call them cannon fodder feeding the politicians’ stocks and shares portfolios, just not out loud. What a great picture of evil those grinning, book-slapping two-faced assholes make.

  16. If you are dying for a country that is protecting your beliefs then why are you not allowed the comfort of a person that represents those beliefs to be around during your service? Why would atheist soldiers want the visit to deliver the terrible news of their deaths to be hijacked by someone who represents beliefs that atheists find offensive?

  17. As an atheist, I would say no such thing. But a “proper” military chaplain might gery likely say to a Buddhist or Hindu or Jewish or Native American service member “If you die here, Mephistopheles will scour his anus with your soul you non-Christian, hellbound, heathen scum.”

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