Miami, Florida – Today, Dr. James C. Wallace of LACUNA Group International addressed the third annual RELIGION MATTERS SYMPOSIUM sponsored by the US Military. Wallace was one of two keynote speakers at the invitation-only conference of 40 senior US Military officers from SOUTHCOM, NORTHCOM/NORAD, CENTCOM, and SOCOM. The symposium, “Religion Matters III”, was focused on the role of religion as a “factor for analysis” in US military combat operations.
Wallace’s address, “The Gordian Knot – The Constitution, the Chaplaincy, and 21st Century Warfare”, focused on the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment’s restrictions on religious activity as it applies to the military, and the growing role of “religious advisement” in battlefield operations in countries where culture and religion play a significant social role.
Because religious knowledge and intelligence is increasingly an issue for the militaries of America, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in conflict and combat zones, attendees of RELGION MATTERS III included senior representatives from several US military partners: Brigadier General Guy Chapdelaine, Canadian Armed Forces; Brigadier General Glenn Murphy, Australian Army; Imam Asim Hafiz, Islamic Religious Advisor to the Chief of Defense Staff and Service Chiefs, British Armed Forces.
Wallace pointed out that the application of the First Amendment and the military raises specific issues since the U.S. has historically made exceptions, since the time of First Continental Congress, for the chaplaincy. But now with the expanding role of the chaplaincy and involvement in religious advisement, it raises new and challenging legal questions.
After the presentation, a lengthy and energetic Q & A session followed which explored the application of constitutional and legal rulings to current military assignments in religiously significant battle zones, for example, the ethical issues involved with drone warfare.
The other keynote speaker was Dr. Jacqueline Whitt, professor at the U.S. Army War College. The concluding event of the conference was a live broadcast of a panel discussion, which included Wallace, on Al-Hikmat TV, the leading Muslim TV broadcast in the greater Miami area and internationally.
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