Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care: A Resource for Religious Leaders and Professional Caregivers
by Nancy J. Ramsay and Carrie Doehring
Military moral injury describes lifelong wounds of conscience afflicting military personnel who make life-and-death choices under duress or witness actions that later haunt them. With the suicide rate for veterans reaching 22 deaths per day, religious leaders, faith communities, and professional caregivers need resources and strategies for understanding and responding to the challenging ways military moral injury plagues veterans and their families.
In this collection of essays written by noted scholars and practitioners from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives, faith leaders and caregivers gain a depth of understanding and practical guidance for effective care with veterans and their families affected by combat moral trauma. Chapters provide spiritual care practices for supporting veterans, evidenced-based clinical strategies, and scholarly resources to guide responses to veterans’ experiences of loss and grief and strategies for effective interventions with veterans and their families. Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care is a hopeful and practical resource for leaders in faith communities and chaplaincy settings.
This book is published with the support of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School. Interreligious in its focus, the Center sponsors research and creates resources to inform and support religious leaders and communities of faith as they respond to veterans and their families and others affected by military moral injury.
"Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care is a timely theological companion to clinical engagements with moral injury. Steeped in the emerging research in moral injury and forged in close proximity to the lived experiences of veterans, these essays display the power and breadth of pastoral theology to map the moral terrain. The authors scour the depths of their religious traditions, grapple with moral ambiguities, and provide practical advice for spiritual caregivers. If you enter with hopes of finding tips for working with military service members, you exit with a full-throated exploration of moral wounding and repair in the era of America’s unending wars." ―Shelly Rambo, Boston University School of Theology
"The subtitle for this comprehensive collection of essays says it all, as a resource for 'Religious Leaders and Professional Caregivers,' Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care is a vital and long-needed compendium of thoughtful, well-researched, and relevant essays on the subject of moral injury. Poignant and personal, this volume offers compelling stories revealing the complexity of returning “home,” and captures the complexity of the dynamics of re-entry into families, relationships, and communities. This volume is bold to speak frankly on the inevitable questions of God’s love and/or indifference, God’s omnipotence and/or God’s impotence as the injured (service member, family member, recently returned or elderly war veteran) yearns to make sense of the morally and spiritually unfathomable. Creating a collection of articles that have to this point been available only through professional periodicals, Nancy Ramsay and Carrie Doehring, have gifted the caregiving community ready and readable access to both theory and practice in this uncharted field of moral injury. They provide articles that carefully tell the stories of veterans from Korea to Afghanistan and that probe the possibilities for what pastoral care could look like for these survivors. Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care is profound without being prescriptive, sensitive but certain in its commitment to the spiritual healing of those we as caregivers are called to serve."―Margaret Grun Kibben, Chair, Washington National Cathedral Veterans’ and Military Advisory Committee, Afghan War Veteran, 26th Chief of Chaplains, United States Navy (Retired)
"This is a profound anthology on moral injury in the military. A must read for soldiers, leaders and those dedicated to healing the wounds of war and service."―Cynda Hylton Rushton PhD, RN, FAAN, Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics, Berman Institute of Bioethics/School of Nursing, Professor of Nursing and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University
"Moral injury affects many service members. Leaders of congregations, healthcare chaplains, and other spiritual care providers need to develop the ability to provide care for service members who experience it, as well as their loved ones and faith communities who are also affected by it. This book is an excellent resource for this important work." ―George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, BCC, Professor, Rush University Medical Center, Director, Transforming Chaplaincy
This book is supported in part through Dianne Shumaker’s generosity to the Soul Repair program at Brite Divinity School.