Writing Assignment #2
27 November 2011
The Chaplain’s role within the context of the military is multi-faceted. First of all, a Chaplain must serve as a staff officer to the Commander. Within this role, the Chaplain briefs the Commander on pertinent issues. These issues include morale of the troops, welfare of the unit, as well as data information about issues that various military personnel in the unit are facing. The Chaplain must walk a very thin line, however, in revealing this data. Chaplains have complete confidentiality with the troops, and thus are unable to reveal certain information to the Commander. Also included in these briefings would be ideas that the Chaplain has about boosting morale. Within the context of the Army, for example, we have the “Strong Bonds” program to build marital relationships. The Chaplain, at this time, would brief the Commander about details pertaining to the trip. This would include cost, source of the funding, number of slots available, preference, date, time, location, transportation, etc. This role as a staff officer is vital to advising the Commander. Part of this role also includes providing religious data about areas of operation. If the unit is being ordered to a particular region of the world, it is the job of the Chaplain to know and understand the religious culture therein and brief the Commander accordingly. This is a major role the Chaplain plays within the context of the military, and it is vital that they understand how to function within this role.
The second major role of the Chaplain within the context of the military, and I would argue the primary role, is providing religious support. This is the primary reason that the office of the Chaplaincy was established by George Washington in 1775 at the outset of the Revolutionary War. Providing religious support includes counseling troops, referring them to the proper place if applicable, and providing various services such as military funerals, weddings, ceremonies, and services. These functions are what set Chaplains apart from every other officer within the military. Chaplains have complete confidentiality. This is necessary to providing religious support. In order for troops to feel comfortable coming and receiving religious support from the Chaplain, they must know that the Chaplain provides a safe place for them to go. If the Chaplain did not have complete confidentiality, it would severely limit the effect of his or her ministry to those whom they serve. Within this role is where the Chaplain really finds their usefulness and purpose within the military. These two offices provide the framework within which the Chaplain operates in the military context.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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