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Limitations of a Military Chaplain

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Liberty University

Limitations of a Military Chaplain

A paper submitted to Dr. Jim Fisher, PhD.
In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the course CHPL 600

Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

By
Brian Harvey

Lynchburg, Virginia
Sunday, January 27, 2013

Introduction The fathers of the United States founded this nation on a principle of religious freedom, and it has since become the leading nation in peaceful pluralistic living. The United States Army is a direct reflection of this nation with respect to the pluralistic culture. Men and women of the United States have fought and died to secure this freedom, and as a chaplain, he or she must continue to do all to defend the fundamental right to free exercise
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DoD Directive
In further refining the role or limitations for a Chaplain, the Department of Defense provides directives to bring clarity to more specific issues. The Chaplain is viewed as the subject matter expert (SME) on religion. With this in mind, and his/her position as personal staff officer to the commander, they are called on to advise commanders on issues pertaining to religion and the accommodation thereof. Department of Defense Directive 1300.17 indicates specific guidance to the acceptance of religious accommodations. Since the military places "high value" (DoD Directive 1300.7) on the right to free exercise of religion, commands are encouraged to accommodate religious needs where appropriate. While on the outset, this does not apply directly to the Chaplain, he/she is the SME on all matters pertaining to religion. Therefore, this directive again narrows, limits, the scope of the Chaplain to religious matters. Commanders are encouraged to utilize the expertise of the Chaplain when determining when and how to accommodate religious practices. This fosters greater unit cohesion and unit readiness as it pertains to spiritual fitness and resiliency (DoD Directive 1300.7).
Army Regulation
In the scope of understanding the role of a Chaplain, service level regulations contain the most specific detail on limitations and refinement. Therefore, this study now turns to a review of
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