Serving Two Masters


Serving Two Masters

The Development of American Military Chaplaincy, 1860-1920

Richard M. Budd

195 pages


May 2002


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2020


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Chaplain Richard M. Budd has made a welcome, concise, well written and researched contribution to an overlooked chapter in chaplain history. Anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how the professional and fully institutionalized chaplaincy of today's military came about would do well by consulting Budd's book." --Bradley L. Carter, On Point.

Military chaplains have a long and distinguished tradition in the United States, but historians have typically ignored their vital role in ministering to the needs of soldiers and sailors. Richard M. Budd corrects this omission with a thoughtful history of the chaplains who sought to create a viable institutional structure for themselves within the U.S. Army and Navy that would best enable them to minister to the fighting men.

Despite the chaplaincy's long history of accompanying American armies into battle, there has never been consensus on its role within the military, among the churches, or even among chaplains themselves. Each of these constituencies has had its own vision for chaplains, and these ideas have evolved with changing social conditions and military growth. Moreover, chaplains, acting as members of one profession operating within the specific environment of another, raised questions of whether they could or should integrate themselves into the military. In effect they had to learn to serve two institutional masters, the church and the government, simultaneously.

Budd provides a history of the struggle of chaplains to professionalize their ranks and to obtain a significant measure of autonomy within the military's bureaucratic structure--always with the ultimate goal of more efficiently bringing their spiritual message to the troops.

Author Bio

Richard M. Budd is a Lutheran pastor in Leeds, North Dakota, and a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He has a Ph.D. in military history from Ohio State University, and his work has appeared in Ohio History, The Navy Chaplain, and Trinity Seminary Review.


“I recommend this book to all chaplains and assistants, but especially to those new in the Chaplain Corps. This book should be in the library and part of the reading list for the chaplain officer basic and 56M advanced individual training courses.”—Chaplain (LTC) Thomas C. Condry, The Army Chaplaincy

“Richard Budd removes the veil and allows us to glimpse the birth and maturation of the military chaplaincy. For all those who desire to know how we got to where we are, Serving Two Masters is a must read.”—Matt Cox, Trinity Seminary Review

"This book speaks effectively on two fields: the history of American professions and the history of military organization. . . . [it is] an important contribution to the understanding of the modernization of religion and military prefessionalism. . . . As an institutional and buureaucratic history of the chaplaincy, thgis book will likely set the standard for many years."—The Journal of American History

"An important, overdue, and stimulating contribution to the institutional history of the American military. It is also a quality starting point for any scholars interested in researching other areas of the chaplaincy's long history."—Ohio History

"Budd renders an insightful analysis of the chaplaincy's sixty-year struggle for professional recognition and integration into the U.S. military establishment."—Sean Scott, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society