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Atheist At Fort Meade Seeks ‘Lay Leader’ Status

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BALTIMORE (AP) — An Army captain at Fort Meade says he’s an atheist — and he wants official recognition as a humanist lay leader, on par with the Christian, Jewish and Muslim lay leaders who help military chaplains serve the troops.

Capt. Ryan Jean says he once was chewed out by the post chaplain for his lack of faith. That experience at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait helped persuade him to seek the official recognition. The Baltimore Sun reports that Jean is one of as many as a dozen atheists throughout the U.S. military who are applying for the status.

They say it’s important for nonbelievers to have the acceptance and support that they say Christians in uniform take for granted. Military authorities have yet to approve an atheist lay leader.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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