The US Army War College published a monograph on the core topic of the US military’s “evolving culture of hostility toward religious presence and expression.” The authors were Don Snider, a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and retired US Army Col Alex Shine of the War College.
The paper, entitled “A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?“, is clearly meant to be academic, but at 30 pages makes for a fairly easy – and worthwhile – read.
The authors focus on the influence of changing social values on ethics within the US military, as demonstrated in the increasing secularism in American society that is essentially hostile to religion: Read more
Update: The lecture was postponed to next semester due to a “scheduling conflict.”
On May 1st, which was also the National Day of Prayer, Chaplain (Col) William Lee of the Maryland National Guard gave a talk on “Religious Liberty and the Military Chaplain: Current Challenges to Religious Liberty in the U.S. Armed Services.” The event was hosted by the Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture at Washington College. Read more
Dr. Don Snider, Col (USA, Ret) was previously quoted here with respect to his article on faith and war. Last year, before the repeal of the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” became such a talking point, he made a presentation on that very subject at the US Army War College, entitled “Reacting to the Coming Changes in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.””
The article has some interesting perspectives, and its conclusion is telling:
It is quite insufficient for the Christian officer to react to this change in professional ethics with what I have heard on occasion, “We will just have to suck it up.” That is not leadership, rather a very poor form of followership. With study and reflection on your own part and much discussion within the fellowship, this is an evolution that you can deal with forthrightly, either in or out of active military service.
But you will have to be clear as to who you are, what you really believe, and whether you can be authentic as a Christian officer in your approach to the personal and professional tensions this change will produce. Needless to say, an inauthentic or incongruous reaction will be self-defeating to your leadership, and perhaps even toxic to your organization’s effectiveness. Time is short. I trust this outline will help you to start the necessary study and reflection.
Read Snider’s full article.