A military chaplain ministers to military personnel and, in most cases, their families and civilians working for the military. In some cases they will also work with local civilians within a military area of operations.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (March 2018)
|Names||Chaplain, Rabbi, Purohit, Imam, Priest, Padre (Spanish), MSWO|
|Religion, morale, religious support|
Although the term chaplain originally had Christian roots, it is generally used today in military organizations to describe all professionals specially trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation. In addition to offering pastoral care to individuals, and supporting their religious rights and needs, military chaplains may also advise the executive[which?] on issues of religion, and ethics, morale and morals as affected by religion. They may also liaise with local religious leaders in an effort to understand the role of religion as a factor both in hostility and war and in reconciliation and peace.
Military chaplains normally represent a specific religion or faith group but work with military personnel of all faiths and none. Some countries, like Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium, also employ humanist or non-faith-based chaplains who offer a non-religious approach to chaplain support. From 1918 to 1942, political commissars in the Soviet Red Army monitored and shaped the beliefs, loyalties and enthusiasms of Soviet soldiers and officers in a context of official state atheism.