Army not Considering Atheist for Chaplain Role was Discrimination, Commission Rules

Irish Defence Forces Overseas Units that participated in International Peacekeeping Operat
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The Irish Defence Forces’ decision to not consider a prominent atheist campaigner for the position of army chaplain was discrimination, a legal body in the country has ruled.

Ireland’s Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has ruled that a decision by Ireland’s Defence Forces not to consider a prominent atheist campaigner for the position of army chaplain was discriminatory.

John Hamill, who reportedly describes himself as “a member of the Congregationalist Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”, took the case against the Irish military force after it reportedly failed to consider him for the job of military chaplain in South Lebanon.

According to a report by the Irish Times, witnesses for the defence forces warned the WRC that Hamill’s appointment to the position would cause substantial difficulties, with the body reportedly only able to deploy one chaplain at a time to the region in order to cater for its overwhelmingly Catholic troops.

What’s more, the army chaplain plays a significant role in liaising with Islamic clerics in the region, with officials expressing fear that the presence of an atheist could disturb fragile relationships built over many years.

Frank Kennedy, a legal representative speaking on behalf of the defence force, said that it was a “genuine and occupational requirement” for the army chaplain to have “first a monotheistic belief in God, and second the capacity to minister in that faith”.

Others who previously served in Lebanon expressed that an atheist chaplain could possibly endanger relations with the local populations, with the force’s Catholic chaplain being said to have gotten around tense situations by virtue of his faith.

However, the WRC has seemingly rejected all those arguments, ruling on Wednesday that it was unlawful for the military to have failed to consider Hamill for the role of chaplain.

It further ruled that while no monetary compensation was required, it ordered the defence forces to come up with a new recruitment process for army chaplains that “reflect and foster the diversity of members of the Defence Forces”.

Despite pushing for the army chaplain to reflect the “diversity” of the defence forces, it remains unclear what the WRC actually means by this, with the Irish Independent reporting the military organisation as being overwhelmingly Catholic.

By contrast, only 0.48 of service members working with Ireland’s air corp, defence forces and naval combined describe themselves as being atheists.

Nevertheless, prioritising diversity over operational effectiveness appears to be becoming a tradition for militaries across Europe, with other forces on the continent having been ordered to push progressivism rather than national security.

The German army has only recently been reprimanded for not being tolerant enough, with the German parliament’s armed forces commissioner, Eva Högl, complaining that not enough was being done to push gender-neutral language within the country’s military.

Britain meanwhile has taken its progressive politics a step further, with senior members of the Royal Air Force reportedly ordering their subordinates to stop hiring white men in order to help push diversity quotas.

It is worth noting that neither the German military nor the UK’s RAF is in functioning condition right now, with the latter reportedly running out of both ammo and weaponry as a result of politicians donating their supplies to Ukraine, while recent reports have found that the UK would not be able to field supersonic jets should the country end up in a war with either Russia or China.

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