Humanist Chaplain: a not-for-prophet job

A nihilist chaplain would really be puzzling, but the rising prominence of humanist chaplains and humanist rabbis makes more sense than their quasi-religious titles do.

Serving as officiants, humanists chaplains conduct important ceremonies. Religious groups do not have a monopoly on meaningful celebrations. Marriages, civil unions, burials, and births are celebrations in which a community affirms the profound significance of life, both explicitly and symbolically. Humanist chaplains are often sought out by interfaith or LGBT persons. Serving as a counselor, humanist chaplain are the comforting resource, paralleling one of the many pastoral roles.


These roles align with Greg Epstein‘s ‘Good without God’ maxim. He’s a very visible man within the movement  (Tom Ferrick was the original). He is not without controversy among humanists.

He has written for On Faith about the need for humanist chaplains in the military

The Tufts Freethought Society is calling for a humanist chaplain on campus, saying:

“Many other religious groups at Tufts have an anchor, a chaplain, who acts as the fountainhead of their community … but it can be difficult to feel fully accepted in the group and seek out spiritual or life advice from leaders who hold very fixed and different religious beliefs,” [Yulia]Korovikov said. “A Humanist chaplain would create a community that specificallysupports the largest religious identification on campus: the nonreligious community.”

UPDATE:  In recognition of religious pluralism on campus, Syracuse University has hired a pagan chaplain.


AgnosticMom describes a humanist wedding. Also,If you want a non-traditional officiant, double-check that the state will still recognize the wedding.

Fundamentalism is an issue in every belief system, even atheism.

Listen to Church of Women by XTC

This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.–Gloria Steinem


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