Religion in the Ranks: Belief and Religious Experience in the Canadian Forces

Religion in the Ranks: Belief and Religious Experience in the Canadian Forces

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By Joanne Benham Rennick
Foreword by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
224 Pages
ISBN 9781442642874
Published Jul 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $50.00    $37.50
What role does religion play in the Canadian Forces today? Examining the changing functions of the official religious leaders in the chaplaincy as well as the place and purpose of religion in the lives of regular military personnel, Religion in the Ranks explores this question in the context of late modernity and the Canadian secular state.

In-depth interviews with chaplains and with personnel of differing spiritual beliefs offer insight into how religion affects the real life experiences of those who have endured difficult assignments, witnessed atrocities, and struggled to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. While identifying the historic function of religion in the Canadian Forces, Joanne Benham Rennick demonstrates that spiritual interests remain important, even to those who do not consider themselves to be religious. Arguing that the leadership, practices, and beliefs rooted in religious affiliations create essential support systems for individuals, both at home and on assignment, Benham Rennick shows that there is still a place for religion in Canada's military.
Joanne Benham Rennick is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Foreword, by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire

PART ONE: Introduction

  1. Premise
  2. Methods
  3. The Late Modern Approach to Religion

PART TWO: An Historical Overview of the CF Chaplaincy

  1. 1914-1945: Forming a Chaplain Branch
  2. 1946-1980: Becoming a Modern Bureaucratic Force
  3. 1980-2007: A “Postmodern” Context
  4. The 21st Century: Towards an Interfaith Branch

PART THREE: Unusual Officers

  1. Personality, Motivation, Commitment
  2. Presence, Trust, and Rapport
  3. Alike but Different

PART FOUR: The Rank and File

  1. Private Religion
  2. Religious Interests as a Response to Hardship and Suffering
  3. Formal Religion

PART FIVE: Conclusions

  1. The Continuing Significance of Religion
  2. Modernization and Religion in the CF
  3. Lack of Religious Knowledge
  4. Stigma and Anomie


Here's an interview with UTP author Joanne Benham Rennick about her book RELIGION IN THE RANKS from the program New Books in Religion. Give it a listen!