FaithWorld

U.S. military chaplains air issues

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(A U.S. army chaplain leads a Sunday service in a chapel in the U.S. forces' camp in Baghdad, January 28, 2007/Erik de Castro)

Chaplains representing every branch of  the U.S. military and many faiths gathered on Wednesday to discuss everything from counseling stressed-out soldiers to a recent lawsuit charging the military neglects a sexually abusive culture.

“Yes, there is sexual abuse. They said it is not attributable to the culture fostered by the Department of Defense, it is attributable to the culture of our society,” said the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance,  who helped lead the discussion held in the House of Representatives’ Cannon Office Building.

In a federal lawsuit, outlined in the New York Times, 17 current or former service members portrayed the military as allowing a sexually charged culture that fails to prevent or punish incidents of rape and sexual abuse. The chaplains’ view echoed that of a Defense Department spokesman that sexual assault is a wider societal problem, but was a priority of the military.

The repeated deployments of U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade has taken a toll on psyches, making it difficult for the roughly 2,000 U.S. Army chaplains and hundreds more in other branches, Gaddy said.

from UK News:

How chaplains find peace during wartime

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A British military chaplain prepares a Remembrance Day ceremony at the British cemetery in Kabul November 11, 2009/Jerry Lampen

Dozens of chaplains from the Church of England are serving with British armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are there when soldiers seek redemption around the time of battle, and they there are, standing in the operating theatre, waiting until the surgeon can do no more.

They serve the needs of soldiers sent to war, and they also serve God.

While they adminster balm on the battlefield, their peers preach peace from the pulpit. Which is the more important for the CoE at a time of war?