For God and Country: The History of a Constitutional Challenge to the Army Chaplaincy
This is a detailed study of a major legal challenge to the military chaplaincy; Katcoff v. Alexander, later known as Katcoff v. Marsh, was instituted in 1979 on First Amendment grounds. The plaintiffs, Harvard Law School seniors, argued, ultimately without success, that U.S. chaplains paid by the government and holding military rank posed a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state. They sought, instead, a civilian clergy. Drazin and Currey, both former chaplains, make a strong argument that the suit should have been dismissed for lack of merit instead of being allowed to drag on until 1986. The authors marshal overwhelming constitutional evidence that the military chaplaincy is a legal institution. They also offer a strong indictment from a conservative perspective of a current trend in U.S. legal procedures that pursues abstractions to the disregard of precedent and common sense alike.