A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 20, 2014 - Law - 252 pages

Is it appropriate, or even legal, for government to provide spiritual care for its citizens? Winnifred Fallers Sullivan shows that courts and administrative agencies have, for better or for worse, already decided this question. Religious freedom in American today means government affirmatively providing opportunities for Americans to encounter their religious selves and realize their religious commitments. How did this happen? The answer, Sullivan shows, is an emerging religious practice--the ministry offered by chaplains in secular settings, generally called a "ministry of presence." In this eye-opening book, Sullivan details the legal recognition and regulation of the spiritual care delivered by governmental and quasi-governmental chaplaincies, as well as by chaplaincies within ostensibly private but regulated industries, such as hospitals and colleges. Across America today, there are chaplains in airports, fire departments, prisons, hospitals, the military, unions, and even businesses and workplaces. Chaplains operate at the intersection of the sacred and the secular, brokers responsible for ministering to the wandering souls of a globalized economy while sacralizing institutions we generally consider unmarked by any religious identity. A book with profound implications for how we understand the relationship between religion and law in contemporary America, A Ministry of Presence will interest readers in legal studies, religious studies, sociology, and public policy.


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User Review  - kaulsu - LibraryThing

I began reading this book with enthusiasm, and it does contain many interesting and worthwhile sections. It begins with an overview of current US law and religion. It then moves on to: Spiritual ... Read full review


US Law and Religion Today
1 Spiritual Governance
2 The Chaplain
3 Credentialing Chaplains
4 Chaplains and the Constitution
5 A Ministry of Presence
Armed Forces Chaplains Board Endorsers
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2014)

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan is professor and chair in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, where she is also affiliated faculty in the Maurer School of Law. She is the author or editor of several books, including The Impossibility of Religious Freedom, and coeditor of Politics of Religious Freedom, forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.

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