Rebecca Vitsmun

2013: Atheism’s 10 defining moments

Atheism was in the headlines perhaps more than ever before in 2013. To highlight some of atheism’s defining moments and trends from the last year, I worked with a panel of ten writers, scholars, and activists to come up with ten major moments or currents in American atheism from 2013. Their contributions are below. Godless congregations become global phenomenon

2013 was a landmark year for atheists, Humanists, and nonreligious people building communities. Ex-pastors Jerry Dewitt and Mike Aus grew innovative and successful congregations in Louisiana and Texas, and the Yale Humanist Community launched in Connecticut.

Air Force Capt. Mike Carey, a chaplain at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, prepares his final Sunday sermon before deploying for Afghanistan. RNS photo by Robert Cohen/The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Catholic chaplains given marching orders barring service to gay couples

(RNS) Catholic military chaplains cannot be forced to witness or bless a same-sex marriage, nor are they allowed to take part in any marriage counseling retreats that are open to gay couples under new rules issued by the Archdiocese for the Military Services. Participation in funerals of gay service members is also off-limits. But Catholic commanders may be able to facilitate same-sex benefits if they publicly register their objections.

Army Chaplain Capt. Joseph Odell baptizes a fellow soldier on the field in Afghanistan. RNS photo courtesy Joseph Odell

Pentagon refutes reports of anti-Christian policies

(RNS) Christian conservatives have grown increasingly alarmed over reports that the Pentagon has adopted new policies aimed at disciplining or even court-martialing those who share their faith. But the Department of Defense on Thursday said evangelization is still permitted.

RNS photo courtesy US Central Command and Department of Defense

With Petraeus, echoes of that other warrior David

(RNS) It’s tempting to view the sex scandal surrounding former Gen. David Petraeus through a religious lens. Even before his fall from grace, some Pentagon colleagues compared Petraeus to the biblical King David – another proud and powerful warrior. By Daniel Burke.