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U.S. Navy Discriminates Against Applicant for Chaplaincy


June 4, 2014

Contact:Carolyn Becker
Phone: (916) 769-7976
Email: [email protected]


U.S. Navy Discriminates Against Applicant for Chaplaincy
Nonreligious Members of the Military Don’t Have Adequate Chaplain Support;
Openly Secular Calls on Department of Defense to Intervene

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of a decision by the U.S. Navy to reject the application of a 38-year-old atheist man to become a military chaplain, the newly-formed Openly Secular coalition is calling on military leaders and the Department of Defense to overturn the ruling. 

There are more atheists and other nontheists in our armed forces than any other non-Christian denomination, yet there are currently no chaplains exclusively representing nontheistic beliefs. 

Jason Heap is uniquely qualified for the chaplaincy with masters’ degrees in Divinity and Religious History from Texas Christian University and Oxford, respectively. He also taught Religious Education and Philosophy for five years. He was endorsed by the Humanist Society and otherwise met all physical and security requirements of the U.S. Navy. 

Secular Student Alliance Distributes “The Young Atheist's Survival Guide” in Boone County, Kentucky to Counter Gideons’ Bible Distribution


FOR RELEASE June 3, 2014

Media Contact: Jamila Bey  [email protected]  614-441-9588 X101

On June 3rd in Boone County, Kentucky, SSA will take part in the distribution of Hemant Mehta's "The Young Atheist's Survival Guide" to students at six high schools on their last day of class. 

The Gideons have been permitted access to distribute bibles to students, and to ensure that Boone County students are not limited to reading materials of a specific worldview, the Secular Student Alliance and the Tri-State Freethinkers are adding a different perspective.

Director of Communications for the Secular Student Alliance, Jamila Bey, explains, “It’s essential that schools do not become places in which students are considered easy targets to be persuaded into any one specific doctrine.

Fred Edwords Announced as the 2014 Recipient of the SSA Backbone Award


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Fred Edwords is the national director of the United Coalition of Reason (CoR), an organization that promotes cooperation among local groups in the community of reason and helps raise their public profiles. A former executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA), former editor of The Humanist magazine, and past president of Camp Quest, his experience in the humanist movement is diverse. Fred was named Rationalist of the Year by the American Rationalist Federation in 1984 and received the Humanist Pioneer Award from the AHA in 1986, primarily for his effective countering of creationism through publishing, speaking, and organizing. He has written extensively on a variety of subjects that move and shake the secular community, and remains an occasional contributor to the The Humanist as well as other movement publications and blogs. He is also now on the adjunct faculty of the Humanist Institute. He even took part in the first SSA Annual Conference with a thought-provoking talk on the relevance of humanism to our lives and the world at large.

The Secular Student Alliance has awarded Fred the SSA Backbone Award this year for numerous reasons. Fred was one of the first members of the Secular Student Alliance Advisory Board, a very early supporter of the SSA’s efforts, and has been on our Speakers Bureau since its earliest existence. Fred is now the national director for the United Coalition for Reason and has sought to include SSA affiliate groups and students into the CoR structure and events. He has been an integral part of the history of the Secular Student Alliance as an organization.

What a Turnaround for SSA at UNR!


Hello friends,

At the beginning of the Fall semester in 2013, the Secular Student Alliance group at the University of Nevada, Reno (SSA at UNR) was in trouble. They had a few scattered members, no planned events, and no recognition from the national office or their campus.

Fast forward just eight short months. Now the SSA at UNR has over 130 members and hosts at least one event on campus every week! In fact, last month they were able to host Speakers Bureau member Dan Barker at an event attended by over 160 people.

Students from SSA at University of Nevada, Reno with Dan Barker after their amazing event!

Several leaders of the group spent time peppering downtown Reno with flyers about the event, as well as leaving flyers in bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, and restaurants. And, everywhere you looked on campus you saw details about the upcoming lecture. SSA at UNR even used Ask An Atheist Day to further promote the event by tabling for several hours and reaching out to students and faculty!


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