In this blog post, Dr. Kim P. Hansen of Mt. St Mary's University considers the changing role of the American military chaplaincy. Formally an arrangement evading the non-establishment clause of the Constitution by promoting free exercise for all believers regardless of faith, the chaplaincy has in latter years become a missionary battlefield for increasingly dominant Evangelical chaplains entering the service.
The blog post is a short roundup of some of the major findings in Dr. Hansen's PhD dissertation, which will be published as the book Military Chaplains and Religious Diversity at Palgrave Macmillan in October 2012. In a comment to Hansen's text, professor Winnifred Fallers Sullivan points to the inherent tension between universalist inclusivism and particularist exclusivism inherent in the religion clauses of the American Constitution.
By Kim Philip Hansen
The work American military chaplains do is shaped by a tension originating in the core of American law itself: the Constitution‘s two religion clauses. One guarantees “free exercise” of religion, while the other separates church and state by saying there can be no “establishment” of religion. Recent developments have cast this tension in sharper relief.
By Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
Professor Hansen’s post on the new particularism in the American military chaplaincy, based in his own rich ethnographic study, is an admirably clear and cogent description of what is a larger issue in American religion today.