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Buddhist chaplain reflects Army’s attempt to meet diverse spiritual needs

September 24, 2009

He doesn’t carry a rifle. Or a Bible. He’s …. Buddhist Chaplain Man! Sorry, as I wrote that, I imagined an action figure to accompany G.I. Joe. But this is a real story in the Tennessean about Thomas Dyer, an Army chaplain who is Buddhist, the military’s first Buddhist Army chaplain, actually. He’s a former Marine. And, even more startling, a former Southern Baptist.

This article gives us a nice big picture look at how the military is making adjustments to meet the increasingly diverse needs of soldiers:

Dyer’s deployment is another step in the U.S. military’s attempt to meet the diverse spiritual needs of America’s fighting forces. It’s no easy task. For one thing, the military chaplaincy is facing all the complications that have affected American religion over the past 40 years. The decline of mainline Protestants and their aging clergy. The ongoing Catholic priest shortage. The explosion of religious diversity. The emergence of people with no faith. The ease with which people move from one faith to another.

The military is trying to adapt to these changes, while trying to find ministers willing to serve in a war zone, and who can minister to American troops without offending Muslim allies.

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