Chaplains and ethical and moral advice
Difficult decisions are part of life in SOF. Having the resources to gain pertinent information is key to making the best decision possible.

By: Spirit - Spiritual Care - 11/15/2018

When it comes to understanding the ethical and moral aspects of a decision, military chaplains are excellent resources.  Difficult decisions are part of life in SOCOM.  Whether you're an Operator making tough choices on mission, a spouse having to make major life decisions without input from your deployed spouse, or military leadership wrestling with difficult choices, your chaplain can be a resource to get pertinent information key to making the best decisions possible.

Military chaplains bring insight and situational awareness to commanding officers that cannot be gained through other means.  They advise military leadership on a variety of issues:  spiritual, ethical, moral, core values, morale, and religious accommodation.  A chaplain provides religious advisement when he or she informs a commander of the impact of religion on operations.

For example, Army and Marine Corps NCOs (as well as chaplains and chaplain assistants) view the chaplain as the first person to contact when they suspect someone is at risk for suicide.  The primary reason is that chaplains keep confidential everything they discuss with people who seek counsel from them.  Recent Defense Suicide Prevention Office research shows that Service Members prefer to take personal problems to a chaplain, partly because of this confidentiality, but also because chaplains do not document conversations.

As a result, an Operator or Enabler need not worry about any effect of chaplain counseling on his or her career.  When a chaplain sees a trend, he or she can alert the commanding officer that there is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed, without providing specifics of names or conversations.  This benefits everyone involved by bridging Operator/Enabler needs with the resources necessary to meet those needs, but without risking anyone's privacy.

Chaplains also provide ethical and moral advice to families.  There might be times when your family faces tough decisions or changes in life.  As an example, your family might face decisions about how to best care for an aging parent.  While considering what is best medically, you might seek the advice of a chaplain regarding how your religious or cultural beliefs affect your decision about care at home versus care in a nursing facility.

By seeking out the guidance of a chaplain, you can receive not just a sounding board but also an ethical and moral perspective.

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