A Swiss Protestant perspective on a multi-faith approach to the Swiss Army Chaplaincy
Inniger, Matthias G.
Vorster, Jakobus M.
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This article addresses issues of multi-faith army chaplaincies; specifically the issue of how chaplains can remain true to their own faith in a multi-faith care service. The issues addressed are relevant for chaplains and interested readers worldwide, even if this article focusses specifically on challenges in the context of the army chaplaincy of Switzerland. Due to the demographic development in Switzerland, a growing number of Muslims serve in the Swiss army. As a result, the Christian chaplaincy of the Swiss army is being challenged by increasing demands regarding Christian-Muslim dialogue. The chaplaincy asks whether or not it should involve Muslim chaplains and whether or not it should develop from a Christian one-faith to a multi-faith approach. The article at hand responds to these questions by referring to the previously published research by the same author (Inniger 2016) which provides appropriate answers to these questions. This research first identified theological-ethical principles that are valid in the Swiss Protestant church context regarding Christian-Muslim dialogue by means of an in-depth study of documents. It showed through an extended evaluation that the identified dialogue principles have not been implemented adequately in the context of the Swiss Army Chaplaincy. This research argues that Swiss Protestant churches only remain true to their principles in this field of work if they support the implementation of the identified dialogue principles. This research provides a proposal for an approach that would develop the care service of the Swiss army from a Christian one-faith to a multi-faith chaplaincy that includes, as a matter of course, the involvement of Muslim chaplains. Based on this research, this article points out that Protestant chaplains are able to remain true to their specific faith tradition, even if they do become involved in a multi-faith chaplaincy.
- Faculty of Theology