The IRCPL Religion and Public Life Series
Ronit Y. Stahl –
Enlisting Faith: Religion and the State in the U.S. Armed Forces
The American state has long harnessed religion to great effect, and the military chaplaincy exemplifies how faith could fortify military aspirations and personnel. But what religious views did the military express and how did its religious commitments change over time? This talk examines how the military has used and managed religion over the twentieth century, demonstrating the complex processes and consequences of state investment in religion. It shows how, over time, active oversight of religion in the armed forces built a public (and publicly lauded) commitment to pluralism but also spurred a renewed interest in sectarianism.
Ronit Y. Stahl is a historian of modern America, focusing on the intersection of law, religion, and politics. She is currently a fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 2014, and her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, the Immanent Frame, and Nursing Clio. Her book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America was published by Harvard University Press in 2017.