Faith-based Diplomacy as a Critical Task for the Military Chaplaincy
CH (MAJ) Mark R. Johnston
“For most of the twentieth century, the most critical concerns
of national security have been balance of power politics and the global arms
race. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the motives behind them, however,
demand a radical break with this tradition. If the
Faith-based diplomacy is an old idea gaining new momentum for conflict resolution across multi-religious boundaries. The hope of finding global peace paradigms that really work must include the religious dimension, especially when so many present day conflicts are defined by those religious fault-lines which divide peoples from cooperative efforts to end violence and war.
A question is
posed regarding the role of religious diplomacy in the
These are a few of the questions that concern this paper. My study will seek to address a few of these issues with the intention of arguing for this additional dimension to the work of the military chaplaincy. This paper advances the argument for a new policy within the Department of Defense requiring new training and additional functionality within the branch of military chaplains.
Knowing Who We Are
Defining the Role of the Military Chaplain
the eve of the infamous My Lai massacre,
where as many as 500 civilian non-combatants were ruthlessly murdered by
American troops, a chaplain was asked to give a few encouraging words to
soldiers who had just been briefed by their commanding officer “to kill
everything in the village” in the course of their patrol. This was not an
unusual request, nor was the response atypical. The chaplain complied. On
another occasion, after hearing from the commanding officer who gave similar
instructions to soldiers, “a regimental chaplain in
It has often been
debated whether or not a good chaplain’s
involvement and presence could have diffused and perhaps prevented the infamous
My Lai tragedy in
This question becomes amplified with the recent Abu Ghraib prison abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Where was the chaplain when human beings were subjected to degradation and abuse that runs contrary to American policy and the treatment of prisoners of war? While no satisfactory answer has been made available, one can presume that military chaplains were barred from any access to the time and place of abuse.
While chaplains today are superior in their ability to discern between what constitutes ethical violations of the rules of combat, they are often marginalized by commands that regard any religious conscience as an impediment to accomplishing mission. As a consequence, chaplains are either aggressively involved in their command structure or they are somewhat inconsequential in the overall scheme of things. Such ambivalence directly impacts an understanding of who the chaplain is and what contributions chaplains can make to the efforts of peace and conflict resolution.
The role of the military chaplain remains an ongoing matter of definition. Over the decades since the Vietnam War, chaplains have professionalized the prophetic and pastoral ministries that work within the military. Training is an ongoing constant in this profession, thereby pushing the quality of excellence forward while retaining core values and identity as non-combatant people of God. Today’s chaplain is better equipped to serve the military community than ever before. Today’s chaplains are change agents that offer profound alternatives to a culture steeped in violence as a way of life. Through spiritual and social involvement, military chaplains can impact their communities with possibilities for change that benefit any who serve in uniform.
However, the missing chaplain of Abu Ghraib points to an ongoing exclusion that is still in need of challenge. The “naked public square” of military decision making reminds us that religious influence is not always welcome. The reasoning behind this exclusion derives from multiple sources to include prejudice against anything religious. The missionary work of the military chaplain imposes an uncomfortable presence in the midst of combatant ideology.
As a non-combatant, the chaplain reflects a saner, more hopeful moment in the pause of war, but simultaneously challenges the baser instincts of those who prefer violence. Through incarnational ministry, the military chaplain must engage all persons with a compassionate doctrine that speaks of peace. As such, the chaplain remains the most important qualifier in an atmosphere fraught with instability and potential death. To surrender that incredibly important place of power to the currents of destruction is to abdicate the calling of God for the sake of those human beings who prefer not to be bothered by the prophetic pricks of the sacred.
To some extent, this is the present situation regarding the use of the chaplain in faith-based diplomacy. Additionally, there are questions regarding any such expansion of the chaplain’s role to include diplomacy from within the chaplain community itself. Can the military effectively exercise the non-combatant chaplain as a religious diplomat across cultural and religious boundaries in an effort to obtain peace? My answer is “Yes!” But this answer is qualified. Through appropriate training and involvement, select chaplains can contribute to peace paradigms that cross religious fault lines.
Defining Faith-based Diplomacy
diplomacy is a “type of diplomacy that blends religious insights and influence
with the practice of international politics.”
We’ve seen the effectiveness of faith-based diplomacy as demonstrated by the
late Pope John Paul II of the Roman Catholic Church.
This 264th Pontiff of the Church visited over 117 nations with the message of
peace and conflict resolution.
His legacy as a world leader is remembered as one that crossed religious and
cultural barriers with a message of justice and peace.
He “embraced” others as no Pope before him ever had, and consequently, at his
death and funeral, over 200 heads of state from around the globe gathered to
mourn the man who brought the world together.
Faith-based diplomacy was embodied in the work of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther
King, Jr., and Anwar Sadat of
The spiritual underpinnings of faith-based diplomacy may offer a substantial alternative to those peace paradigms that are void of anything religious. While we must acknowledge the sordid histories of those religious leaders who used faith as a means to their own political ends, thereby corrupting truth and forfeiting any hope for peace, we need to awaken to the potential of rediscovering religious doctrines for peace latent in every religion and find ways of deploying those doctrines for the benefit of society. This becomes a primary challenge, especially for those who identify themselves as belonging to faith traditions that center peace as a virtue.
Faith-based diplomacy seeks peace with an understanding that “justice” is central to the well-being of any community engaged in peace processes. Addressing the plight of the oppressed, the marginalized and the poor is essential to finding any meaningful peace within our global neighborhood. Taking action to facilitate the relief of oppression and injustice requires a joint effort by those political powers defined as democratic. But no easy answers await us as we engage the multifaceted dimensions of these problems, including the terrorist violence of marginalized people. What is certain is that religious conviction can participate in the process of answering injustice, oppression and poverty. The community of faith becomes a springboard for such action and ongoing theological discourse. The church, synagogue and mosque offer resources that can assist the policies of the state as they combine to pursue meaningful peace paradigms that stretch across cultural boundaries.
Putting the Two Together: The Good, the Bad and the Holy
To involve those qualified persons who both represent a faith community and who can communicate across religious boundaries for diplomatic reasons extends the traditional boundaries of such communities. The military chaplain is uniquely positioned to do this work by virtue of the training and exposure chaplains receive within the pluralistic setting of the military community. Additionally, these chaplains deploy with combatants into places where “peace keeping” efforts afford opportunities for cross cultural experience.
Besides being the pastoral and prophetic voice for their assigned military unit, chaplains often engage local communities with projects of care and compassion. These projects might include the rebuilding of an orphanage, or directing a food drive for hungry people, or installing a play ground for school children in a particular community. With the volunteer assistance of soldiers, chaplains have already contributed to a wide range of community services in foreign places as a gesture of good will and religious compassion.
Because chaplains are privileged to already be present in such cross cultural contexts, it seems that utilizing qualified and trained chaplains to provide inter religious dialogue as a part of a larger diplomatic peace paradigm would be consistent with who these military chaplains are and what they already do.
This additional dimension to the traditional role and understanding of the chaplain impacts the way chaplains would be trained. Presently, it takes approximately 10 years of preparation to qualify as a potential candidate for the military chaplaincy. This includes seven years of schooling from institutions that are accredited and certified by the Armed Forces Chaplain’s Board, at least two years of pastoral experience and one year of administrative in-processing. Additionally, each chaplain must be ordained and endorsed by the faith group they represent. Finally, age and physical qualifications are factored into the boards that review applicants hoping to serve as missionaries to the military community.
Once chaplains are accessioned to active duty, they begin a cycle of educational training that lasts throughout their entire career. Basic and advanced courses in chaplaincy are taught alongside schooling for staff officer work. Field training takes place in subjects ranging from medical triage to combat ministry to survival skills. Clinical counseling instruction in the psychodynamics of suicide prevention, family care and critical stress debriefing techniques for combat veterans is standard for every chaplain. Within a chaplain’s career path opportunities occur to specialize in clinical pastoral education (CPE) for hospital ministry, counseling for community ministry, administration and accounting, comparative studies in world religions or ethics.
Those chaplains that specialize in comparative world religions and ethics are assigned to teaching posts within the military school system. Assignments usually last for three years as these chaplains will engage officers and enlisted personnel in current discussions relevant to military duty. The chaplains selected for these training assignments are sent to premier graduate institutions to obtain the necessary qualifications and skills needed for teaching.
It would not be difficult to enlarge the schooling of chaplains for faith-based diplomacy. Selected chaplains would need to demonstrate aptitude for inter-religious dialogue. They would need a good understanding of diplomatic procedure and government policies on conflict resolution. Language studies related to an area of faith-based concern would couple with research in a particular religion’s cultural and contextual milieu. Peace paradigms drawn from a particular religious perspective would be examined in concert with those historic and current situations where religious fault lines demand intervention.
An example of the
foregoing proposal might include persons who are sent to study Islam, Arabic
and the customs, laws and behaviors of Palestinian peoples. Such a chaplain
might also be introduced to Yiddish and Jewish issues related to conflict
Another example might be the training of a chaplain to speak and read Chinese,
become familiar with Confucian philosophy and other related beliefs, such as
Buddhism. Japanese and Taiwanese cultural interpretations and practice would be
compared alongside the political ideologies of
Because of the nature of the military chaplaincy which is already comprised of highly trained faith practitioners, the additional training in the art and science of diplomacy would work well in the same manner that presently occurs in the schooling of chaplains for ethics or world religions. It makes sense to both the chaplaincy and to the greater military institution to utilize an asset already present for work that remains to be done.
In this regard, the participation of select chaplains in the diplomatic corps expands the legitimacy of the entire chaplaincy. Through imaginative and creative work, the military chaplain is no longer consigned to just the parochial ministries of the battalion parish, but is present at the table for dialogue that demands religious expertise. In this regard, the chaplaincy takes a seat in the company of those ministered to and with and is no longer marginalized due to institutional ignorance.
However, not every chaplain will agree that faith-based diplomacy is needed as an additional role to the military chaplaincy. Some quickly point out that whenever a chaplain becomes involved for the purposes of the state, a loss of the prophetic occurs. The state determines the value of religious faith whenever faith is used as a means to the state’s end-purpose. Examples can be given to illustrate the demeaning processes that take place when over a period of time religion becomes just another tool of the empire. The Constantinianism of faith really marginalizes the prophetic, and once that happens it’s questionable whether or not it can ever be recovered. The prophetic voice must not be co-opted for the sake of those policies that lend themselves against the religious conscience for the sake of some imagined good. Peace can never be accomplished within the fragments of a broken religion. Only through a well defined and determined expression of faith does the prophetic voice get heard. The dilution of the prophetic for the diplomatic can never be honoring to God or the faith communities we serve.
Such sentiments would consign faith-based diplomacy to the trash bin of a “good but impractical idea.” However, faith-based diplomacy is already at work within the military, both within the chaplaincy as it navigates issues effecting conflicting beliefs and practices of representative religions, and within the Department of Defense which is using a small number of chaplains for Embassy consultations. While it’s true that the potential for marginalization exists whenever religious people seek to promote a national good, there exists a greater cause underscoring the need of the global community.
One of the principles of faith-based diplomacy should be the integrity of the diplomat’s own faith in the work of peace. While not overturning the national agenda, the faith-based diplomat should seek to work within the narrow structures of peace and conflict resolution as a service of faith. By focusing on peace and conflict resolution between religious communities, work can be done to accommodate both the goal of the state and the good of the people so affected by violence. In this respect, God is honored as people are benefited by the labors of peacemakers.
The faith-based diplomat is not utilized for negotiations that marginalize the practices and convictions of religion. As a proposed policy, the chaplain is only dedicated to peacemaking and conflict resolution whenever called to a diplomatic role. This guards the institution from any shift of religious conscience that could somehow become more attuned to the societal requirements demanded by diplomacy than of those sacred principles of faith. The potential for the bad in policy making that envelops religion as a means to a nation’s end is considerable. The good can come from policy that recognizes the distinctive contributions the religious life and doctrine make in resolving conflict through the sacred traditions that foster peacemaking. The holy occurs when that peace becomes a reality, when the violence and bloodshed of war has quieted and repentance, restitution and a restoration of tranquil harmony reclaims a society. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God!”
Some Elements to Faith-based Diplomacy
So what does faith-based diplomacy look like? This paper has given a brief description of who might participate as a faith-based diplomat (the military chaplain) and how training might be expanded to secure those necessary skills complimenting already existing talents found in the chaplaincy. But what about the program for such diplomacy?
We’ve briefly noted that policy supporting faith-based diplomacy should limit the scope of that work to inter-religious dialogue, conflict resolution and peace paradigms drawn from those religious traditions affected by such diplomacy.
A Model for Conflict Resolution
Inter-religious dialogue occurs within the context of trained, sensitive perspectives that capably engage others in their faith traditions. This is a schooled and studied part of the discipline for faith-based diplomacy. Peace paradigms retain religious identities rooted in those traditions that seek to manage violence. A religious-cultural hermeneutic that is employed for the management of violence should be drawn from the nobler teachings of those sacred texts and traditions which define any religious practice and norm. The success of faith-based diplomacy might rest most heavily on the techniques of conflict resolution.
In this respect, conflict resolution might draw from principles outlined by David Steele who advocates “cooperative conflict resolution” (CCR) as “an essential practice of just peacemaking.” This approach “emphasizes the active co-working of parties in conflict; they attempt to develop creative solutions that each can affirm and support. They take the process of conflict resolution as a shared enterprise, an active partnership in problem solving, in order to devise mutually beneficial outcomes.”
Instead of fighting enemies they participate as “quarreling partners” in efforts to avoid deadly violence while opting for “non-lethal controversy.” To accomplish this, self-critical honesty and transparence is required of the parties involved. This “requires risk-taking” and a “spiritual awareness” that draws from “religious traditions that teach followers to respect and value all persons, even enemies, and they teach healing and forgiveness as crucial to the quest for fullness of life.”
Steele lists ten criteria for an effective CCR program to work. I’ve paraphrased them below;
1) The needs and perspectives of adversaries must be understood. Even when in disagreement, the cultural perspectives of others must be examined. “Personal and group histories, stories and emotions” are used to “discover basic needs hidden behind surface positions and strategic interests.”
2) Participants in CCR “make space for the voices of all involved” while withholding judgments about what is said. This includes hearing from both victims and perpetrators.
3) A judgmental distinction is made between the actions of others and the cultural context other people operate from. Dehumanizing and demonizing the “other” due to cultural differences is not permitted.
4) Acknowledging personal involvement that contributed to the escalation of violence is made. The “confession of sin” and subsequent repentance and forgiveness lead to opportunities for the process of reconciliation to begin between offending parties.
5) Negotiated goals are clearly stated.
6) Problem solving is done in partnership with others. Power is shared with and not exercised over participants seeking solutions to mutual problems. “Cooperation rather than domination” characterizes CCR representing a transformative approach to the “full vision of shalom.”
7) Force only becomes necessary to create space, restrain and separate so that alternatives to violence and injustice can be “found through reflection, negotiation, healing, and a partnership approach to problem solving.” This is an interventionist approach to halting violence.
8) Persons involved with peacemaking and conflict resolution “take risks in order to find common ground.” They become “vulnerable in order to create safe space for negotiation to occur between opposing parties. Such persons need to “count the cost” entailed with faith-based diplomacy.
9) Just peacemaking intervention utilizes short term goals for the long term peace. Seeking long-term strategies is a constant requirement for any who recognize the frailty of human governments. In this respect, religious planning contributes strong possibilities for policy that engages the sacred before resorting only to the secular in decision making. Faith has a way of outlasting current administrations.
10) Peace and justice are “equal core components” to any policy that successfully negotiates conflict resolution. Both must be studied and applied in the work of faith-based diplomacy.
These ten principles serve as a pragmatic guideline for conflict resolution. They incorporate inter-faith dialogue and contribute to the structuring of peace paradigms. Each of these ten points can be adjusted to the situational uniqueness of religious conflict. They present “guide posts” along the path to peace and reconciliation. Faith-based diplomacy might use these principles as a compass in negotiating peace.
A Model for Reconciliation
We can illustrate from point 4 above an example of how these points might be enlarged for diplomacy. John Paul Lederach has suggested that reconciliation has five qualities of “practice” which support peace. First, reconciliation is “relationship-centric” and focuses on persons rather than events. “I am pointing us toward the centrality of the invisible...that we not use the lens and techniques of conflict resolution oriented towards the visible-issues, agreements, words and representations of feelings and interests-as the goal and objective of our processes but rather as the window into our process.” In this respect, the building of trust between persons becomes paramount. The faith-based diplomat establishes transparency and trust within a space defined by relationship with the parties involved.
Second, “reconciliation as accompaniment” is practiced by virtue of the shared common humanity, presence and a sense of “along-sidedness” that the faith-based diplomat models. A third component is that of “humility” which is bound to truth and creativity in addressing problems. Mediation without humility destroys opportunities for learning. Humility suggests that persons have a story that must be heard, and that from their stories, opportunities for understanding takes place. Understanding opens the otherwise closed doors of the “other” and this “key” invites participation in dialogue which can bring peace.
Fourth, reconciliation is the “restoring of the fabric of community” which is the cradle of life. The faith-based diplomat enters the divided communities with a hope for reconciliation. The biblical foundations of community do not differ from the basic understanding of other religions. Bringing a sense of community into the fractured atmosphere of war offers a glimpse towards what can be, through faith, hope, forgiveness and love. People long for community and they are often open to restoring community once they are reminded that community is the cradle of life, prosperity and peace.
reconciliation may take on the metaphor of “wandering in a desert.”
Relationships take time to build, and like the wanderings of early
Our efforts as
faith-based diplomats must not be frustrated by the agendas of American
ingenuity for speed, access and privilege. Rather, returning to the imagery of
the Exodus and the reconciliation of God with
Other models exist for the study and practice of doing faith-based diplomacy. All of them merit our attention in a time when religion plays such an important role in the world, a role for both peace and for violence.
This paper addresses the work of faith-based diplomacy and the military chaplaincy. Expanding the role of the military chaplain to train in the art and science of diplomacy is argued with respect to the narrow definition that “faith-based diplomacy” might carry. This definition safeguards the potential abuse of the chaplain by the state while offering a ready-made asset for the pursuit of global peace in religious fault-line situations.
Acknowledging the place and work of the military chaplain as primarily contained within the structures of military unit cohesion and mission, the faith-based diplomat is projected beyond the parochial roles of battalion ministry to engage the pluralistic environments many battalions find themselves serving within. Selective training and appropriate usage of designated chaplains provides an increasing measure of importance to an institution that often marginalizes religion. Through practical “hands on” involvement the trained chaplain offers options to combat that might not be otherwise recognized. In this respect, the chaplain leverages the command’s capabilities for successfully performing peace keeping missions while engaging in the greater work of God.
It is with this argument that policy should be structured to support the training of faith-based diplomats from within the chaplain corps. In so doing we can wage peace for our world today and for our dreams of tomorrow!
A poem by Mary Oliver
Wage peace with your breath. Breathe in firemen and rubble, breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds. Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields. Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees. Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact. Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud. Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers. Make soup. Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages. Learn to knit, and make a hat. Think of chaos as dancing raspberries, imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish. Swim for the other side. Wage peace. Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious. Have a cup of tea and rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived. Don't wait another minute.
Carlson, John D. and
Erik C. Owens, The Sacred and the Sovereign.
the Army Chaplaincy.
Falk, Richard A. ed. Crimes of War.
David LTC. On Killing: The
Psychological cost of Learning to Kill in War
Hauerwas, Stanley. The Peaceable Kingdom. Notre dame, University of Notre Dame,
Helmick, Raymond G., S.J. and Rodney L Petersen, eds. Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
Holmes, Richard. Acts
of War: The Behavior of Men in
James Turner. Morality and
University Press, 1999.
Johnston, Douglas. Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping
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The Missing Dimension of Statecraft.
Juergensmeyer, Mark, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious
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Luther, Maritn. “Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved?” Luther’s Works. Volume 46.
ed., Robert D. Schultz. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967.
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Taylor, Mark Kline Remembering Esperanza. Orbis Books, New York, 1990.
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Rutherford, NJ, Penguin Books, 2004.
Journals, Newspapers, Manuscripts and Videos
Baker, Raymond William. “Screening Islam: Terrorism, American Jihad and the New
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Focus on the Family. Cf. Hollywood Vs. Religion, narrated by Michael Medved and
directed by Michael Pack. 1982.
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February 2002: 33-38
-"We Neglect Religion at Our Peril" in the Naval Institute Proceedings January 2002: 50-52
Lindvall, Terry. “The Faint Image of the Chaplain in Twentieth Century Combat Films”
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Powers, Gerard F. “Religion, Conflict and Prospects for Reconciliation in Bosnia Croatia
and Yugoslavia.” Journal of International Affairs 50.1 1996.
White, Josh. “Army, CIA Agreed on 'Ghost' Prisoners.” Washington Post, Friday,
11March 2005; Page A16.
Witham, Larry. “Ex-Navy Officer Plans to Enlist Religion in World of Diplomacy.”
The Washington Times 23 April1999:22
-“Faith Opens New Avenues for International Diplomacy.” Insight on the News February 1995.
DA PAM 165-17, Chaplain Personnel Management. Washington, D.C.: Department of
the Army, 11 May 1998.
DA PAM 165-3, Chaplain Training Strategy. Washington, D.C.: Department of the
Army, September, 1998.
DA PAM 60-75, Accommodating Religious Practices. Washington, D.C.: Department of
the Army, September 1993.
DOD Directive 1300.17, Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military.
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Helpful Web Sites
http://www.academyofdiplomacy.org The American Academy of Diplomacy
http://www.gmu.edu George Mason University Peace and conflict Studies
http://www.icrd.org The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy.
http://www.law.umkc.edu cf. Doug Linder, An Introduction to the My Lai Courts-Martial
http://www.policylibrary.com Humanitarian Intervention Policy Library
(A partial listing of Critical Tasks taught to Military Chaplains which may support the training of faith-based diplomacy)
805D-211-6123: Plan Religious Support for the Contemporary Operating Environment
805D-100-7008: Determine How Belief Systems Operate Across the Full Spectrum of
805D-211-7120: Develop a Religious Area Analysis
805D-211-7124: Coordinate Religious Support during Homeland Security Operations
805D-211-7601: Analyze the Impact of Religion on Current Operations
805D-211-7614: Apply Religious Support Doctrine during Full Spectrum of Operations
805D-207-8114: Manage Local Religion Information and Impact on Mission
805D-211-8212: Plan Information Operations (IO) Engagement as Principle Advisor on
 The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy addresses the tension between statecraft and religious diplomacy. Cf. http://www.icrd.org for more information and the source of my opening quote.
The word “chaplain” derives from a story of a fourth century Roman soldier
(Martin of Tours, ca. 316-397) who encountered a cold beggar and determined to
comfort the impoverished man by taking his cloak and cutting it into two pieces
with a sword, giving one half of the cloak to the shivering man. Later that
evening he dreamed that the beggar he had provided half his cloak to was Jesus
Christ. This prompted him to quit the Army and become a Christian. After his
death and canonization as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, French kings
adopted him as their patron saint. These kings would bring forth a supposed
portion of the cloak (capella) into battle, carrying it as a banner to signify
the presence of God. This sacred relic was entrusted to the care of priests (capellanus).
The word chapellain was adopted into English as chaplain. The place where the
capella was kept and where worship occurred was called the chapel. Cf
 Cf. Doug Linder, An Introduction to the My Lai Courts-Martial (http://www.law.umkc.edu);
The massacre by United States
soldiers of “as many as 500 unarmed civilians-- old men, women, children-in My
Lai on the morning of March 16, 1968” under the authority of First Lieutenant
William Calley, a 24 year old platoon
leader of Charlie Company, one of the
three companies in Task Force Barker, an ad hoc unit headed by Lt. Col. Frank
Barker, Jr. illustrates the barbarism of armed conflict. That the entire
company was so affected, Seymour Hersh wrote that by March of 1968 “many in the
company had given in to an easy pattern of violence. Soldiers
systematically beat unarmed civilians. Some civilians were murdered.
Whole villages were burned. Wells were poisoned. Rapes were common.”
Calley was “sentenced to life of hard labor. In the end, he only served a
few days in
Richard A. Falk, ed. Crimes of War.
 We are now discovering that other violations of international law have occurred with the so called “ghost detainees” of Abu Ghraib. These detainees “were held without an internment number, and their names were kept off the books. Guards who worked at the prison have said that ghost detainees were regularly locked in isolation cells on Tier 1A and that they were kept from international human rights organizations.” Cf. Josh White. Army, CIA Agreed on 'Ghost' Prisoners. Washington Post, Friday, March 11, 2005; Page A16 “Defense Department officials have said that there were as many as 100 ghost detainees held in prisons in Iraq…A Navy report issued yesterday said there was evidence of about 30 ghost detainees… The Army has resolved not to allow ghosting at its detention facilities.”
 Certain faith groups have opted not to send their ordained
clergy into the military because of this problem (i.e. the Salvation Army).
Conversely, faith groups like the Roman Catholics are suffering from a shortage
of priests and desperately want more representation in the military. Groups
like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not registered with the Armed Forces
Chaplain’s Board and will not support ministry to those who are serving and who
consider themselves to be moderate Jehovah Witnesses. Martin Luther argued that
Christians could serve the military; Cf. Luther, Martin. “Whether Soldiers Too Can Be Saved?” Luther’s Works. Volume 46. Robert D. Schultz, ed.,
 There have been notable instances when chaplains were not welcomed into the military. Such an instance occurred during the Civil War when the Southern Army Force structure excluded chaplains from military involvement. This was an intentional decision on the part of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President. The Southern populace discovered and challenged this low view of chaplains and subsequently chaplains were accessioned to active duty.
Pertinent directives for the work of the chaplaincy include; DA PAM 165-17, Chaplain
Because the chaplaincy is pluralistic in nature there is an ongoing demand for
dialogue that defines what a chaplain is and does. This dialogue is often
focused on the multi-cultural interpretations and implications of texts; “The
interpretation of texts is a problem not only because we interpreters are
historically distant from them but also because we are culturally distant from
one another and so often engage that history in conflicting ways, socially and
culturally.” Cf. Mark Kline Taylor, Remembering Esperanza. Orbis Books,
 There are seven Army Core Values; Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage, providing the acronym, LDRSHIP for Leadership. These Core Values were formally introduced in the mid-nineties after it was recognized that many soldiers were entering the Army without a defined system of values. The challenge has been to integrate (and indoctrinate) soldiers with these values in such a way that service members internalize and live by these values. The Army Chaplaincy has identified a value system internal to the Chaplain branch supporting the Army’s Core Values. The six Army Chaplain Values are: 1) Spirituality-Seek to know God and yourself at the deepest level; 2) Accountability-Hold yourself and others to the moral and spiritual high ground in every area of life; 3) Compassion-Love in word and deed; 4) Religious Leadership-Model spiritual truths wisely and courageously; 5) Excellence-Do your best for God’s glory; 6) Diversity-Respect the differences of others. The acronym SACRED communicates the desire of the Chaplaincy leadership to “shape the heart and soul of the Army Chaplaincy” and impact Army culture with spiritual vitality.
 It takes approximately 10 years of preparation to qualify as a potential candidate for the military chaplaincy. This includes seven years of schooling from an institution that is accredited and certified by the Armed Forces Chaplain’s Board, at least two years of pastoral experience and one year of administrative detailing. Additionally, each chaplain must be ordained and endorsed by the faith group represented. Finally, age and physical qualifications are factored into the boards that review applicants hoping to serve as missionaries to the military community. Conversely, the endorsers for each faith group can pull their chaplains from military service at any time deemed appropriate for such action. Chaplains are subject to strict ethical and moral guidelines imposed by virtue of the faith group that sends them into military service. It is no exaggeration to say that the military chaplain is on average the highest trained professional within a given command while simultaneously being the most regulated person on active duty.
 The military chaplain represents a specific faith group dedicated to fulfilling the spiritual needs of those who serve within the military and who profess identity with the tenets and doctrines of that faith group. There are over two-hundred religious denominations and faith groups registered with the Armed Forces Chaplain’s Board and the Pentagon. About one hundred of these faith groups presently have chaplains serving in the military and each chaplain who is commissioned to military ministry is also accountable to their sending faith group’s rules and regulations for such ministry. Serving those who profess the same faith is the primary reason for clergy becoming military chaplains. However, chaplains also serve the greater military community with various programs that are not faith specific in nature, such as teaching suicide prevention, providing for unit functions (family retreats, single soldier retreats etc). But a Muslim chaplain will not and can not serve a Protestant congregation in worship, just as a Protestant chaplain can not minister to a Catholic congregation in worship. The only exception to this occurs in ecumenical services (such as Thanksgiving Services), but even then, certain faith groups (such as the Missouri Synod Lutherans) can not share a podium or pulpit with other faith groups on penalty of their denomination removing them from duty. Certain faith groups have opted not to send their ordained clergy into the military (i.e. the Salvation Army). Conversely, faith groups like the Roman Catholics are suffering from a shortage of priests and desperately want more representation in the military. Groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are not registered with the Armed Forces Chaplain’s Board and will not support ministry to those who are serving and who consider themselves to be moderate Jehovah Witnesses.
 The “war room” is where military planning occurs and it needs the presence of the trained non-combatant to remind combatants of the tenets of just war and just peacemaking. It can be argued that the doctrines of just war theory are no longer relevant due to the terrorist violence defining conflict today. “Terrorism intentionally violates the sine qua non rule of just war that one can attack only military targets, and never intentionally attack noncombatants.” Cf. Glen Stassen, Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War. Cleveland, The Pilgrim Press, 1998, pg. 1. Can we retain the “grammar of just war” while acknowledging the shift in “just war syntax?”
 This surfaces in more recent writings such as Henry
Kissinger’s massive book, (Diplomacy New York, Simon and Schuster, 1994,
912 pages). Cf. Larry Witham,
"Faith Opens New Avenues for International Diplomacy," Insight on the News 6 Feb. 1995; “Henry
Kissinger's foreign-policy tome hasn't a single reference to religion in the
index. Moreover, the West failed to foresee the Islamic revolution in
 Cf. Terry Lindvall, “The Faint Image of the Chaplain in Twentieth Century Combat Films” in Military Chaplains’ Review Spring, 1987, pp. 1-26. Dr. Lindvall illustrates the demeaning influences of film and culture regarding the place of the sacred in secular society, especially the military. Over the past fifty years, ministers have declined as authoritative figures worth emulating to villains, madmen and simpletons. The hit television series M*A*S*H epitomizes this imagery with the character of Father Mulcahey, a nice but incompetent idealist caught in his own world of piety and platitudes. Media’s hostility towards people of faith is documented by the evangelical Focus on the Family. Cf. Hollywood Vs. Religion, narrated by Jewish commentator, Michael Medved and directed by Michael Pack. The recent film, “Saving Private Ryan” counters some of this imagery with the appearance of a chaplain ministering to wounded soldiers during an assault on the beach head in the opening scenes.
Douglas Johnston writes, “Since the founding of the republic, American
diplomacy has essentially placed religion beyond the bounds of critical
analysis. In recent years however, the global resurgence of religious militancy
and influence has begun to force a reappraisal. As a practical matter,
 Mikhail Gorbachev attributed the fall of communism in
Eastern Europe to this Pope’s diplomatic visit to
 Pope John Paul II became known as the "Pilgrim Pope" for having traveled greater distances than all his predecessors combined. Pope John Paul II customarily kissed the ground of every nation he visited upon entry. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has not been as successful in diplomacy as demonstrated in the recent rioting of Muslims when he quoted the writings of a medieval ruler which condemned Muhammad’s “jihad” as “evil and inhuman.”
“Consider Pope John Paul II’s unyielding plea to the international diplomatic corps;
‘The principles of the sovereignty of states and of non-interference in their
internal affairs-which retain all their value-cannot be a screen behind which
torture and murder can be carried out.’ Religious perspectives also afford an
indispensable axis of critical interpretation that secular vantage points
cannot provide.” Cf. John D. Carlson and Erik C. Owens, The Sacred and the
 It was at the funeral of Pope John Paul that the Syrian President and President of Israel ‘shook hands’, Cf. Jeffrey Heller, The Boston Globe, “Israel, Mideast Foes Shake Hands At Pope’s Funeral.” April 8, 2005; “Israeli President Moshe Katsav said he shook hands with the leaders of Syria and Iran at Pope John Paul's funeral on Friday, when the Pontiff in death brought together Middle East foes as no man alive ever had…Israeli and Syrian negotiators last held peace talks in 2000 that foundered over the future of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.” Some wag commented that this was the Pope’s first postmortem miracle!
 As religion continues to re-emerge as a dominant
reason for prospects of peace or violence in our globalizing world, the Western
notions of the Enlightenment and Eurocentric thinking will be challenged. We
can no longer afford to exclude the ancient claims of any spirituality due to
the mechanistic and hostile attitudes towards religion predominant in
Enlightenment epistemologies. Cf. James Turner Johnson who writes, “…The role
of religious or other normative belief systems has emerged as particularly
important for defining major cultures and for understanding the role of
cultural differences in relation to conflict. Differences of religion appear
among the causative factors of some of the most enduring and destructive
contemporary conflicts, while religions and the value systems and institutions
they generate are the focus of a variety of recent approaches to understanding
the importance of cultural differences in generating conflict and seeking to
ameliorate or end it.” James Turner Johnson, Morality and Contemporary
Warfare New Haven,
 Cf. Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1964 pg. 18; “From the point of view of diplomacy the chief difference was that the West, in 1400, still thought of itself as one society. Christendom was torn by the gravest internal conflicts, by religious schism, doctrinal dispute, and the endemic warfare of class against class, people against people, faction against faction, king against king.”
 Dorothy Yoder Nyce, "Faithful and Pluralistic: Engagement among People of Living Faiths," Cross Currents Summer 2003; “For, any study of God or thought about that which is central to religious traditions needs to bring together concepts from varied living faiths. Christians cannot presume that our distinct piece reflects the whole. Nor need we fear diversity, be hostile toward difference, or denounce those with God-concepts that name Allah or value a goddess form. To forever expect others to see things the way we do-- to accept exclusive, western truth claims, for example-shows our refusal to respect their licit worldview.”
“The primary challenge in our present day is to equip Christians with a clearer
vision of their social and political obligations in a religiously and
culturally diverse setting where public expressions of religious sensibilities
often appear inappropriate.” Cf. Thomas. W. Ogletree, The World Calling: The
Church’s Witness in Politics and Society.
 Ibid. pg. 128; Ogletree asks, “What forms of public law and public policy can actually bring about justice and human well-being in post industrial and post-modern societies? When religious people enter the public arena, must they bracket their distinctive faith identities in order to uncover common ground among like-minded people across a diversity of religious and secular views? If common ground can be found, moreover, will it furnish normative conceptions of justice and human well-being capable of guiding public actions? Might this common ground be provided by American civil religion, as some have argued?” I would add that military chaplains are equipped practitioners of “civil religion” who remain sensitive to their own unique religious beliefs.
However, the idea of the democratic nation-state is also changing-perhaps for
the worse-Cf. the introduction to Cornel West,
Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight
East Rutherford, NJ, Penguin Books, 2004; “The three dominant dogmas of
free-market fundamentalism, aggressive militarism, and escalating authoritarianism
are snuffing out the democratic impulses that are so vital for the deepening
and spread of democracy in the world. In short, we are experiencing the sad
American imperial devouring of American democracy. This historic devouring in
our time constitutes an unprecedented gangsterization of
 For a startling analysis of religious violence which
is justified by religious conviction and resistance to oppression, see Mark Juergensmeyer,
Terror in the Mind of God: The
Global Rise of Religious Violence. Berkeley, CA.,
 Religious fundamentalism that retains identity
through doctrines of exclusion is increasingly challenged by global factors.
Accommodation with the modern economic, technological and political structures
of a modern world system can be recognized even in those acts of terrorism that
predominate violence today. Western perceptions of Islamic terrorists as
ignorant camel drivers don’t square with the sophisticated use of technology to
wage a world-wide jihad. This was illustrated by the training of Islamic pilots
to fly jets laden with fuel and use them as torpedoes on
 Religious conviction answers injustice through acts of conscience. Such acts of conscience might include armed resistance. Douglas Johnston was asked about the relationship of faith-based diplomacy and the cycle of revenge; “The notion of religious reconciliation juxtaposed to diplomacy is something that's capturing a lot of attention…no diplomatic or military solution could break the cycle of revenge.” Cf. Cf. Larry Witham, “Ex-Navy Officer Plans to Enlist Religion in World of Diplomacy,” The Washington Times 23 Apr. 1999.
 The motto, “Cooperation without Compromise” is found in each branch of the military, but the Navy has elevated it as their primary ethic for interfaith ministry. Cf. “Consensus without Unanimity” in Glen Staussen, ed. Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices For Abolishing War. Cleveland, Pilgrim Press, 1998, pg. 35.
 Ibid. pp.137-138; “If we are to be interpreters of Christian ethics in our time, we will have to give fresh attention to the church as a community capable of sustaining a distinctive moral vision of the world…to rediscover the well-spring of Christian thought and to equip ourselves to draw upon the Christian legacy in addressing the moral problems of our age…Christian faith must find a way to combine its own distinctive ethos with an ethic of civilization suited to the dominant social forces at work in the world.”
 The ecumenical spirit of the chaplaincy doesn’t erase the individual convictions of one’s particular faith; Cf. Alan Race, "Religion: The Missing Element in Dialogue," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 39.1-2, 2002; “For many, the dialogue that commits us to mutual transformation in light of learning from the other also involves a further assumption about parity between faith-traditions, such that different belief-systems, theologies, and philosophies are considered to be culturally conditioned and symbolic forms of severally expressed commitments to an ultimate reality that is beyond the scope of all language. As we come to share in someone else's truths, we learn more of the complexity and mystery at the heart of ultimate reality itself. It is not that each religion perceives one part of the whole, which, when put together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, makes the complete picture. Rather, each tradition is said to perceive the whole of reality but only in part.”
 Cf. Douglas M. Johnston. “The Case for a Religion Attaché.” Foreign Service Journal (February 2002): 33-38 “The U.S. needs to elevate the consideration of religious factors in foreign policy. Appointing religion attachés to gather information in key countries would be a key step toward this end.” See also "We Neglect Religion at Our Peril" in the Naval Institute Proceedings (Jan. 2002): 50-52. “Given the religious component of so many of today’s hostilities, a good starting point would be to expand the role of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps chaplains, since they serve the commands that typically are at the cutting edge of U.S. involvement overseas. Their multi-faith experience, interpersonal skills, temperament, and education uniquely equip them for the complex challenges of prevention.” Appendix A includes a partial listing of those critical tasks assigned to military chaplains which may embrace interfaith dialogue and diplomacy.
 Conversely, the endorsers for each faith group can pull their chaplains from military service at any time deemed appropriate for such action. Chaplains are subject to strict ethical and moral guidelines imposed by virtue of the faith group that sends them into military service. It is no exaggeration to say that the military chaplain is on average the highest trained professional within a given command while simultaneously being the most regulated person on active duty.
 Most chaplains study at the Menninger Clinic, a
national specialty psychiatric and behavioral hospital for counseling and
intervention skills. Recent studies have centered on the psychological costs of
killing in combat and the related post traumatic stress impacting soldiers-cf.
Grossman, David LTC. On Killing: The
Psychological cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society.
 Hayes, Patrick J. “J. Elliot Ross and the National
Conference of Christians and Jews: A Catholic Contribution to Tolerance in
 These assignments would be made at levels in the command that would afford the greatest opportunity for use in both actual faith-based diplomacy and the training of other chaplains in lower unit commands. Division level assignments would seem optimum for chaplains serving as faith-based diplomats.
 The conflict between civil religion and personal faith is addressed by Hauerwas; “Many still seek to use our religious heritage in support of the development and sustenance of democratic government and society. Thus it is said that democracy requires a civil religion-that is, a sense of the transcendence that can act as a critical principle against the pretensions of state power as well as a resource to support the development of more nearly just institutions. Such a ‘civil religion,’ however, cannot be made up of any particularistic religious beliefs, since that would offend the necessity of religious tolerance. As a result all our more particularistic beliefs must be socially defined as ‘private’ and thus admitting no social role.” He continues, “There is no more powerful indication of religion’s superfluity in our culture than Christianity’s acceptance of itself as one ‘religion’ among others.” Cf. Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom. Notre dame, University of Notre Dame, 1983, pp.12-13. However, finding a safe place of civility in inter-religious dialogue (which may include the interests of the state) is necessary in our war torn world if we are to find any resolution to religiously inspired violence.
 Cf. Glen Stassen, Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War. Cleveland, Pilgrim Press, 1998, pp. 63-86, “Use Cooperative Conflict Resolution”- one of four peacemaking strategies examined by the book.
Cf. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J. and Rodney L Petersen, eds. Forgiveness and