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Change and Conflict in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps since 1945
by Anne Loveland
foreword by G. Kurt Piehler
University of Tennessee Press, 2014
Cloth: 978-1-62190-012-2 | eISBN: 978-1-62190-079-5
Library of Congress Classification UH23.L69 2013
Dewey Decimal Classification 355.3470973

Army chaplains have long played an integral part in America’s armed forces. In addition

to conducting chapel activities on military installations and providing moral and spiritual

support on the battlefield, they conduct memorial services for fallen soldiers, minister

to survivors, offer counsel on everything from troubled marriages to military bureaucracy,

and serve as families’ points of contact for wounded or deceased soldiers—all while

risking the dangers of combat alongside their troops. In this thoughtful study, Anne C.

Loveland examines the role of the army chaplain since World War II, revealing how the

corps has evolved in the wake of cultural and religious upheaval in American society and

momentous changes in U.S. strategic relations, warfare, and weaponry.

From 1945 to the present, Loveland shows, army chaplains faced several crises that

reshaped their roles over time. She chronicles the chaplains’ initiation of the Character

Guidance program as a remedy for the soaring rate of venereal disease among soldiers in

occupied Europe and Japan after World War II, as well as chaplains’ response to the challenge

of increasing secularism and religious pluralism during the “culture wars” of the

Vietnam Era.“Religious accommodation,” evangelism and proselytizing, public prayer,

and “spiritual fitness”provoked heated controversy among chaplains as well as civilians in

the ensuing decades. Then, early in the twenty-first century, chaplains themselves experienced

two crisis situations: one the result of the Vietnam-era antichaplain critique, the

other a consequence of increasing religious pluralism, secularization, and sectarianism

within the Chaplain Corps, as well as in the army and the civilian religious community.

By focusing on army chaplains’ evolving, sometimes conflict-ridden relations with

military leaders and soldiers on the one hand and the civilian religious community on the

other, Loveland reveals how religious trends over the past six decades have impacted the

corps and, in turn, helped shape American military culture.

Anne C. Loveland is T. Harry Williams Professor Emerita at Louisiana State University.

She is the author of Southern Evangelicals and the Social Order, 1800–1860 and American

Evangelicals and the U. S. Military, 1942–1993.

See other books on: Change | Conflict | Religious life | Soldiers | United States. Army
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