My wife just returned from the World Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City. The trailer for a new film on Chaplains was screened. It looks like a fairly broad and interfaith presentation, though Secular/Humanist chaplains don’t seem to be included (or Pagans or Hindus for that matter).
As I watch the film I’ll be asking some questions:
-What do people mean by “spiritual counseling”?
-How do these chaplains handle non-believing clients?
-Is there any passive or active proselytizing?
-Could there be room in this presentation for non-theist chaplains?
-As the film itself asks, what about separation of church and state?
At least this producer is recognizing some positive contributions of a chaplain as a supportive, compassionate presence. We’ll see what the overall message is in this documentary. I hope the questions raised will lead to deeper and wider exploration of the meaning of chaplaincy.