In January of 2016, Jane Flint took on a new role as “Non-Religious Pastoral Carer for Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust.”
That made her the first secular “chaplain” in the NHS. There are currently two. Rather than walking into patients’ rooms with Bible in hand, they are there to offer comfort to the growing number of people who aren’t religious at all.
Flint just sat for an interview with The Guardian‘s Hélène Mulholland and did a really nice job justifying her existence for any doubters:
Flint believes the role makes a difference. “Being there both for the person dying and the family can help that person to have a good death in an emotional and psychological sense. If it eases that, then the ripples for the family that are left, that everybody talked about everything they needed to, makes a huge difference for that family going forward — not just the person who died.”
Read the full piece and you’ll get a sense of why “atheist chaplain” isn’t an oxymoron. They serve a valuable purpose. Anyone who’s spoken to them knows it. All the more reason the U.S. military is wrong to prevent non-religious people from taking on that role.
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