“There Are No Atheists In Foxholes”

February 27, 2009 at 1:21 am

TheEye tends to avoid religious issues but this blog has military and political interests so this Parliamentary question is very relevant here.

Baroness Warsi, Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, has asked a question of the Government:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what religions and faiths are recognised by the British Armed Forces. [HL1352]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Armed Forces encourage people from all faiths to practise their religious observances as far as operational and health and safety considerations allow. While religion and belief is treated as a private matter, the services place a great deal of importance on the spiritual development of their personnel. Commissioned Armed Forces chaplains are drawn from the main Christian denominations practised in the UK. The first MoD civilian chaplains to the Armed Forces from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faith communities were appointed in October 2005. The services have had an honorary officiating chaplain from the Jewish faith under long-standing arrangements, and action is underway to recruit a Jewish civilian chaplain.”

What, no Grand Master of the Church of the Jedi Knights?

This is not the first time that Baroness Warsi has asked questions along these lines. Completely independently the ever-splendid Croydonian has spotted a very similar question and blogged on it:

Baroness Warsi: To ask Her Majesty’s Government which religions and faiths are officially recognised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Read his article for Mr. C’s take on the Government’s reply.

Just as a point of interest, in the Royal Navy and the RAF a Chaplain adopts the rank/rate of the person that he is counselling so as to avoid any seniority issues. That doesn’t happen in the Army where rank is never waived. Just so you know another pointless fact.