Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another Article on Chaplain Dyer and Religious Diversity

Here's an article from The Tennessean on Chaplain Dyer; although the focus is mostly on religious diversity in the Armed Forces. I am puzzled by the author's remark a few paragraphs down that "Buddhism...doesn't have seminaries" (???) We have lots of seminaries! However, there is only a lack of Buddhist seminaries in the U.S. that offer what is known as "accredited" degrees, meaning they are vetted by an organization typically composed of higher-education schools and seminaries.
The article can be found here:


Hank said...

Very interesting article. But you're right about that paragraph:

"A potential chaplain must have a master's degree in religion. But some faiths, such as Buddhism and Wicca, don't have seminaries, so they struggle to find chaplain candidates. Dyer qualified as a chaplain because already he had earned a master's degree as a Baptist pastor before converting to Buddhism."

I wonder if the author was just misinformed? Maybe we should forward him the link to your blog.

Other than that bit though, I think the article was very specific about the concerns of the chaplaincy. Another concern that might be raised is the number of service members who convert to another religion. For instance, I wasn't Buddhist when I joined the Air Force, so I put that I had no religious preference. However, I'm Buddhist now, and have no idea how to change my status with the DoD. So technically, I'm not supporting the Buddhist statistics within the military.

Lee said...

Hard numbers on Buddhists in the military are sadly just as elusive as the numbers on Buddhists generally in the US.

The article on Chaplain Dyer, I agree, was very interesting. We had the chance to meet and interview Chaplain Dyer while he was at the Army Chaplain School -- we have posted some excerpts on our web site in the blog section, if anyone is interested. The site is
All best, Lee

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Buddhist Military Sangha by Jeanette Shin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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