Current Topics Facing Today’s Military Chaplains

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On February 16, 2011, United States military chaplains of the Jewish, Methodist, Muslim, Baptist and Reformed Church in America traditions came together to discuss issues facing the chaplaincy today and how chaplains balance ministering to people of all faiths while still remaining true to their own doctrine and beliefs. The event was co-hosted by Interfaith Alliance and the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress as part of the month-long commemoration of Four Chaplains Day.


Serving as the panel’s moderator, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Welton Gaddy, hailed the Four Immortal Chaplains who collectively gave their own lives to save others during WWII, as “a shining example of the possibility of unity forged out of diversity and of cooperation among religious leaders,” and shared his hope, “that the major challenge of any four chaplains today — or whatever the number– is not to die together in an exemplary manner, but to help all of us learn how better to live together.”


The panelists discussed a variety of topics from their personal paths to the military chaplaincy to the impact of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal on chaplains, from the experiences of minorities in the military to chaplains’ role in counseling service members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The full video of the event is available below. (video quality reduced for the web)




Welcome: Bob Patrick, Director, Veterans History Project

Moderator: Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President, Interfaith Alliance

Keynote: Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Ranking Member, House Veterans Affairs Committee


Rabbi Jerry Seidler, Captain, Army Reserves

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Lisa H. Tice, Staff Chaplain, Personnel, Budget, and

Readiness Division, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Bolling AFB, DC

Chaplain (Lieutenant Commander) Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps and Navy

Chaplains Corps

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Carleton Birch, Office of the Army Chief of Chaplains

Chaplain (Captain) John H. Lea III, Force Chaplain, Navy Installations Command,

Washington, D.C.