Cover: Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America, from Harvard University PressCover: Enlisting Faith in HARDCOVER

Enlisting Faith

How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America

Add to Cart

Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674972155

Publication: November 2017


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

25 halftones


Cutting across a century of perpetual war, shifting its analytic gaze from bureaucratic functions of the state to the people of faith who served, from mainline denominations to religious movements on the rise, Ronit Stahl’s study of the military chaplaincy brilliantly recasts our understanding of church-state relations in the modern era. Stahl vividly shows how the military chaplaincy has offered the means for Washington to encourage proper religious expression in a pluralist society, and for faith communities to earn political legitimacy in the eyes of their peers. An essential book for students of American religion, politics, and history.—Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt

Enlisting Faith tells a compelling story, showing how the military chaplaincy has entailed deep mutual engagement between government and the great diversity of American religious life. Stahl’s excellent work is a must-read for anyone interested in religious freedom, separation (or not) of church and state, war, politics, and the many challenges of pluralism.—Sarah Barringer Gordon, author of The Spirit of the Law

The federal government used the military chaplaincy to unify diverse Americans, promote ‘ethical’ personal behavior, and marshal faith on behalf of domestic and foreign policy goals. In Stahl’s illuminating book, we listen as chaplains, GIs, and their families wrestle with issues posed by race riots, rape, pacifism, feminism, proselytizing, interfaith marriage, and untimely death. She adds enormously to our understanding of the evolving relationship between religion and the American state across much of the twentieth century.—Wendy L. Wall, author of Inventing the "American Way"

Enlisting Faith vividly explores American military commanders’ century-long war to force their soldiers’multifarious religious faiths inside the myth of a pristine Anglo-Saxon Protestant nation. Startling, incisive, and gorgeously written, Stahl’s book shows how the military’s reluctance to accept cultural and religious complexity demeaned soldiers and compromised chaplains as they grappled with death, maiming injuries, and the terrors of war.—Jon Butler, author of Becoming America