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In a thorough review published in the Huffington Post, Chris Rodda wrote,  “I am admittedly skeptical whenever a film about religion in the military purports to be objective . . . I am happy to say I was wrong. . . “

Read the full

review in the

Huffington Post


David Heim, editor of The Christian Century, wrote us on April 28:

                        Chaplains Under Fire is a moving account of what military chaplains do in

                        the midst of war. It shows that chaplains' ministry goes well beyond

                        holding worship services or leading prayer: chaplains are a crucial

                        support system for young soldiers as they confront profound questions of

                        life and death.

                        At the same time, the film confronts issues of church-state separation

                        that inevitably arise when a religious leader is also an officer in the

                        U.S. military, as chaplains are. The film will spark lively discussions of

                        how--or even whether--the military can manage both to protect individual

                        religious expression and to guard against religious coercion by the state.


Erynn Rowan Laurie, guest blogger for the interfaith Pantheos site, reviewed the film on May 28 from the Pagan perspective.  In the conclusion to her thorough and thoughtful review, she writes:

                         If you want to understand what spiritual issues are being faced by

                         servicemembers and by those who would protect the rights of minority

                         religions within the military, this is an excellent place to start.


Click here for 
viewers’ views../C-u-F_shop/Viewers_reviews.html

“We operate out of what we believe, and that is the deepest part of a person,” said Navy Chaplain Ben Sandford, who appeared in the film, during a panel discussion after the screening. “I think it also captures that we deeply care about these people. We love these people.”

The key challenge in editing the hours of “emotionally and intellectually compelling footage,” [editor Andrea] Hull said, was “to allow everyone’s voice to be heard as clearly and cleanly as possible, so we could really begin to understand what different people believe.”

It is only then, she said, that people with different views can truly begin to have a discussion that does not take place in a “different time/space continuum.”

“There are a lot of ideas in this film,” she continued later, sipping jasmine tea in her serene apartment near St. Columba’s (where her sister is a longtime parishioner).  “It’s not a film that’s driven by a personality… it’s episodic. There’s no ‘voice of God’ in it. It’s just the voices of the people themselves, talking.

“In this film we’re trying to set out as clearly and honestly as we can different positions. First, how do we want chaplains to be treating these young people; second, how do we address this particular issue, religion, in the public square?

“In this increasingly pluralistic military, how do we ensure the free access of religion, or the freedom to identify yourself as having no religion? … We saw that this issue was part of the larger culture wars.”

. . .  But there is always a fine line to walk: The tension between church and state. The call to minister but not convert. The need to hold firm to one’s beliefs but respect the different beliefs of others.  “We met a lot of chaplains, and some of them still have a lot of the country preacher in them.” Nickelson said. During the filming, “one, very gently, tried to convert me. I said: ‘Are you prosthletising me?’ He said: ‘I can’t do it with the troops, but I can do it to journalists!”

The film is designed to spark discussion and Hull encourages interested parishes to hold screenings.

“We want it to go to the largest audience possible,” she said. “We think it’s for everyone. For people involved with the military, the ministry, and for people who live in a world in which there are many different beliefs.”

                                                                                                                                                  Read the full story on-line

short reviews on Bill’s Faith Matters and in the New York Press

The  7/7/2010 issue of PlainViews, an e-newsletter for chaplains and other spiritual care providers, carries a review.

An interesting response to Sarah Masters’ PlainViews review:


Most of this doc was shot on location in Iraq and Afghanistan where Lawrence and Nicholson were permitted wide access to chaplains and troops.  The film also addresses larger issues, such as evangelical fundamentalists who believe chaplains are being muzzled, and civil libertarians who believe that chaplains in the military are not in keeping with the U.S. tradition of separation of church and state.

Much of the film concentrates on the on-the-ground situations in Afghanistan and Iraq and the mission of the U.S. chaplains there. Nearly all of the many chaplains interviewed come across as caring, compassionate men and women whose only goal is to help the troops deal with emotional and spiritual issues.    (see full review from Vietnam Veterans of America)

Full page feature article by Mark Todd in the Transylvania Times, October 18, 2010:

          ... US Army Lt. Col. (retired) Lory Whitehead, who has viewed the film, thinks

          the film raises some very good questions, and while provocative, should be seen

          by people of all faiths.  “The film did a good job of showing the complex problems

         military chaplains have, trying to minister to troops without violating the separation   

         between church and state,” she said...

Just watched your excellent film today. And I posted something on my Arts of War on the web page.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Marc Leepson

Arts Editor, The VVA Veteran
Vietnam Veterans of America

We were interviewed for the December 29th edition of the BBC’s Heart and Soul -- it is a look at the challenges facing the the first Buddhist chaplain in the US Army, Thomas Dyer.  You can listen to it on line.

We were interviewed for the December 29th edition of the BBC’s Heart and Soul -- it is a look at the challenges facing the the first Buddhist chaplain in the US Army, Thomas Dyer.  You can listen to it on line.  

In the Washington Post’s “On Faith,” guest blogger and Editor-in-Chief of Guideposts Magazine Edward Grinnan shared his thoughts on Memorial Day.  Here is an excerpt:

In the July-August issue of Washington Window, the newspaper of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC, Lucy Chumbley wrote about the film after the screening at the Newseum.  Here are some excerpts:

Aired on NPR April 29-
May 5

After host Maureen Fiedler and her producer Laura Kwerel watched ‘Chaplains Under Fire,’ they invited Chaplain Ben Sandford and one of the directors in for a conversation about military chaplains.  
You can hear the interview on our site or on-line
Aired on NPR April 29-

May 5

After host Maureen Fiedler and her producer Laura Kwerel watched ‘Chaplains Under Fire,’ they invited Chaplain Ben Sandford and one of the directors in for a conversation about military chaplains

You can hear the interview on our site or on-line


A Christian Broadcast Network report on the repeal of DADT looks to ‘Chaplains Under Fire’ for a frank look at the realities on the ground.   

               Click here to view the program which aired July 20, 2011.

Feb. 20, 2013

In his article on the use of computer simulation to train military chaplains, veteran religion news reporter Mark Pinsky concludes with the following:

      “In addition to the computer simulation program under development in Orlando, there are other tools available for military chaplains who may be required to serve in combat.

       A 2010 documentary, “Chaplains Under Fire,” examines the roles of military clergy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the complexities inherent in their service. The film shows chaplains visiting with soldiers in forward operating bases, watching over them in field hospitals, and meeting their flag-draped coffins when they are returned to the United States.

      “It’s exhilarating to be in combat,” says Chaplain Bennett Sandford in the film, after escaping an improvised explosive attack unscathed. But before long, after praying over a slain Marine, the Baptist minister says, “the exhilaration went away.”         Read the article

On Feb 3, 2012 - The Fayetteville Observer ran a story by Chick Jacobs in which he described Chaplains Under Fire as “an unflinching look at the experience of combat chaplains in Iraq and Afghanistan. . .  The documentary raises questions about the role of church and state, and how a chaplain's personal beliefs are tested in times of combat. It deals with issues such as defending all faiths, including Islam.” 

                                                                                                                                Read the article

Faith & Values editor of the Huntsville Times Kay Campbell writes of the film’s  use of “discreet camera work to get close to but retain a respectful regard for the soldiers and chaplains whose lives it documents.

The film shows the courage and importance of chaplains to men and women under fire. It also invites into the conversation those who dispute that tax payers' money should be used to supply religious leaders.”                                                    

                                read more