Special Issue "Religion and the Military: Questions, Concepts and the Future of the Field"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Elisheva Rosman
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Interests: civil–military relations; religion and the military; religious feminism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The intersection of religion and the military continues to attract the attention of the public and scholars alike. Tensions regarding the relationship between conscripts (religious or not) within a given military (defined religiously or secularly or undefined) continue to be documented and analyzed. The nature of a given religion, church–state relations, and minority–majority relations all come into play in this exciting field. Even in a volunteer-based military, the dynamics of freedom of association and exit rights, which serve religious individuals and scholars of religion, are inadequate.

The relationship between religion and the military has developed into a field of study in its own right. It has become increasingly interdisciplinary, including scholars from diverse academic fields: religious studies, political science, sociology, gender studies, law, and media studies. Although such scholarship has increased, the basic concepts are still underdeveloped, and it seems that the time has come for the field to assess itself. While growing rich in case-specific work, the field is at the point where it should begin to consider theoretical insights and shape its research tools. We know more than we did a decade ago about case-specific behaviors. We still need to grasp what these behaviors teach us about more general concepts.

We would like this Special Issue to be both the beginning of a more theoretical discussion between those who focus on the relationship between religion and military, as well as an invitation to students to enter the field and enrich it. It will seek to broaden the discussion and consider new questions and insights. Optimally, it will encourage decision-makers and policymakers to think differently about the issue and introduce them to new ideas and strategies. This Special Issue invites you to think about issues of religion and the military in broader contexts and to develop tools of inquiry, models, and general concepts that will inspire scholarly debate and challenge the way we think about religion and the military. Specific case studies will also be considered for publication, although these will be assessed by their contribution to theoretical arguments, concepts, or theories. I look forward to working with you on this exciting project.

Dr. Elisheva Rosman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religion
  • military
  • belief
  • church–state relations
  • civil–miltiary relations

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
The IDF Military Rabbi: Between a “Kohen Anointed for War” and a “Religious Services Provider”
Religions 2020, 11(4), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040180 - 10 Apr 2020
Abstract
Military rabbis in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are an integral part of the army and currently posted in almost all army units. The role of the military rabbi has undergone fundamental changes since the founding of the State and the IDF, most [...] Read more.
Military rabbis in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are an integral part of the army and currently posted in almost all army units. The role of the military rabbi has undergone fundamental changes since the founding of the State and the IDF, most notably in the past generation. While the formal definition of the military rabbi’s role has remained relatively stable; in practice it has undergone dramatic changes on the backdrop of processes in the IDF Military Rabbinate and in the religious-Zionist sector in Israel. Whereas in the past military rabbis were viewed as religious service providers, during the term of Chief Military Rabbi Rontzky (2010–2016) they viewed themselves in the role of a “Kohen anointed for war” (Meshuach Milchama). Harking back to the biblical description of the Kohanim who strengthen the people at a time of war, this military figure is entrusted with strengthening soldiers, morally and spiritually, before they go into battle. Nonetheless, a return to the religious services provider model can be discerned in recent years, mainly in response to the contention of religionization in the military. The article focuses on the changing role of the IDF military rabbi and identifies three major explanatory factors of these changes: (a) Differences between the formative period of the IDF Military Rabbinate and later periods; (b) Demographic changes in the composition of the IDF, mainly the growing number of soldiers from the national-religious sector; (c) The changing character of the Chief Military Rabbi’s background which affected the nature of the military rabbi’s role. The article aims to show that the Military Rabbinate has not been immune to the struggle over the collective Jewish identity of the State of Israel, and its underlying processes reflect the complexity and diversity of Israeli society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Identity Encounters in Public Spaces—Military Service as a Legally Binding Public Space. The Case of Women’s Singing in the Israel Defense Forces
Religions 2020, 11(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040159 - 30 Mar 2020
Abstract
The term ‘Public Sphere’ is used to distinguish it from the private. Here, we will use the term ‘Public Spaces’ to distinguish between various types of public spheres, differing from one another not only in their controlling identity, but also in the level [...] Read more.
The term ‘Public Sphere’ is used to distinguish it from the private. Here, we will use the term ‘Public Spaces’ to distinguish between various types of public spheres, differing from one another not only in their controlling identity, but also in the level of obligation to be in them and the extent in which they demand obedience from their participants. The new typology proposed in this paper conceptualizes the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] as a legally binding Public Space, using the case study of the Jewish religious law prohibiting Orthodox men to listen to a woman’s singing voice. This prohibition has sparked a strong public controversy and ongoing clashes between the army and religion. The case study illustrates a wide range of confrontations over the identity of the IDF’s space. While examining similar cases in other armies around the world, the paper presents a model explaining the terms and conditions for disputes on the nature of Public Spaces around the world, and when to expect confrontations between identities in different Public Spaces. Finally, the paper attempts to predict the extent and scope of such confrontations, on four dimensions: (a) The level of obligation to be in the Public Space; (b) the level of greediness of the Public Space; (c) the level of heterogeneity of identities within the Public Space; and (d) the level of personal identity greediness of persons and groups whose identity differs from the hegemonic identity in the public space. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Chilean Military after Antuco: Shortcomings of a Post-Secular Discourse
Religions 2020, 11(3), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030146 - 23 Mar 2020
Abstract
In their two hundred years of existence, the Chilean armed forces have had a close relationship with the Catholic faith, especially with a local version of the Virgin Mary (Virgen del Carmen), who is held as the patroness of the military. After its [...] Read more.
In their two hundred years of existence, the Chilean armed forces have had a close relationship with the Catholic faith, especially with a local version of the Virgin Mary (Virgen del Carmen), who is held as the patroness of the military. After its greatest tragedy in peacetime, when 44 soldiers—half of them Christian evangelicals—died buried in the snows of the Antuco volcano, the army and other branches of the military felt compelled to add Protestant chaplaincies to their repertoire of religious assistance, hitherto reserved for Catholics. This has been understood as a move towards a more egalitarian and inclusive understanding of religious freedom, but also as opposing exclusivist versions of liberal neutrality, in which the state fulfils its duty by taking religion out of the public sphere altogether. According to the times’ intellectual climate, the Chilean authorities have been framing these developments—not only in the military, but elsewhere—as the embodiment of a post-secular strategy, in which religion (all religion) should be welcomed back into public life and state institutions. This article presents five concerns with this chosen strategy: (a) whether inclusive secularism is a practical impossibility, since there is no way to accommodate all religious and non-religious expressions; (b) whether a post-secular narrative is adequate for states that that have not gone through the previous (secular) phase; (c) whether post-secular institutional arrangements—which entail welcoming religion in the public sphere—are adequate in countries without religious pluralism; (d) whether post-secular institutional arrangements—which entail welcoming religion in the public sphere—are not actually disparaging for non-religious people; (e) whether sponsored religious expressions and practices within public institutions put undue pressure on dissenters. This way, I offer the case of the Chilean armed forces as a proxy to illuminate the normative problems that an incipient process of growing religious pluralism and a move towards religious egalitarianism, framed as a post-secular discourse, faces in hegemonically Catholic countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Religious Rights and Involuntary State Institutions in Democratic Countries: On Evenhandedness and Ecumenism in Militaries
Religions 2019, 10(10), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100556 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Militaries present a difficult challenge for scholars interested in navigating the complex demands of religious liberty and religion-state relations. The reason is that the most familiar features of religion-state relations in liberal countries—governmental non-interference and the structure of religious associations as voluntary associations—are [...] Read more.
Militaries present a difficult challenge for scholars interested in navigating the complex demands of religious liberty and religion-state relations. The reason is that the most familiar features of religion-state relations in liberal countries—governmental non-interference and the structure of religious associations as voluntary associations—are incompatible with the structure of militaries as involuntary organizations that are nonetheless highly important institutions in even liberal-democratic countries. How should scholars accustomed to the liberal framework going back to Locke, hence, theorize the desirable religious-institutional state of affairs within involuntary institutions such as militaries? As the governmental non-interference model is inadequate, the argument to be presented here is that the involuntary nature of militaries presents the liberal-minded theorist, with unusual dilemmas, and hence would make two models most adequate for a religious-institutional state of affairs within militaries: evenhandedness (or multiple establishments) and ecumenism, a somewhat unusual category. Full article
Back to TopTop