Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America
Stahl, Ronit. Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017.
Stahl’s study of the intertwined relationship between religion and the military opens a unique but revealing window on the role of religion in society. The distinctive role of Christian Science is sprinkled throughout the book. Christian Scientists (along with Mormons) were eager to embrace chaplaincy when it first opened up to them and accepted the opportunity to appoint chaplains without questioning the generic label of ‘Protestant.’ After WWI, the New York World editorialized that the decision for Christian Science chaplains to conduct nondenominational services “reflected a new attitude toward the long-marginalized religion” (31). But ecumenical religious service to American soldiers had its limits. Chaplain Arthur C. Whitney, a Christian Scientist, earned a Croix de Guerre for his service at the front lines and then a request not to communicate his religious views. He turned to supporting sports and recreation during his service. Civilian faith leaders also faced obstacles. Hempstead Lyons, a Christian Science practitioner, sought to offer services on military bases, but was frustrated with the military’s failure to distinguish Christian Science from other groups, which resulted in keeping him out. Female chaplains like Janet Horton, a Christian Scientist, faced unmerited cruelties, but considered the introduction of female chaplaincy the birth of a new idea—with labor pains.
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0674972155