No Atheists in Foxholes; by Chaplain Patrick McLaughlin, Cdr, USN

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

This is a thoughtful book on a very private and personal subject.

First-time author Patrick McLaughlin is a Lutheran pastor who has served two tours in Iraq as an active-duty Navy Chaplain assigned to both surgical shock trauma and mortuary affairs units with the Marine Corps – and prior to that, he served as President and Mrs Bush’s chaplain at Camp David prior to – and during – the early stages of the war in Iraq.

As such Cmdr McLaughlin understands war, and its effect on the Marines who fight it. His book consists of fifty prayers he’d written in order to get him through some incredibly trying days – answering questions like “will I lose my foot”, will I be OK” and “will I wake up again” from these young Marines must either challenge or reinforce one’s faith in God, and this book opens a very private window into the war for the reader. One’s political stance on the war is easily cast away when we read of his experiences outside the operating room as he writes “at these moments, the very real presence of God is felt among us.”

But is there a prayer adequate when he gave blood to save a Marine, yet the surgery was unsuccessful ? Probably not, for as McLauglin writes “I stand quietly and watch as the priest prays over the body of this heroic Marine.” Yet McLaughlin had another year of duty in Iraq, and those too-regular tragedies need to be pushed to the back of his mind as he readied himself for the next day.

This will be a difficult book to read for anyone who has a son, spouse, or daughter serving overseas as it describes in detail more of the war than the media will ever understand or the Marines or soldiers will share with a non-combatant. But it is highly recommended because now we know that our family members are in the good hands of Chaps McLaughlin and his fellow combat chaplains. You’ve written an awesome book, Chaps, thank you and Semper Fi.

MWSA Reviewer: Andrew Lubin

Author's Synopsis

Experience gripping wartime stories and honest prayers by this Camp David chaplain now serving in Iraq.
When words mean less and less, but money talks more and more; when blasphemy is a best seller, and eternal war has replaced hopeful diplomacy; in times like these is prayer even possible? Patrick J. McLaughlin thinks so. McLaughlin is an active duty Navy Chaplain who has ministered to heads of state and to soldiers living and dying in the heat of Iraq.

No Atheists in Foxholes assembles Chaplain McLaughlin's experiences and prayers from e-mails, private notes, and personal conversations that take us real-time into realms of duty and spirit: from the quiet darkness of his infant son's New England bedroom on September 11, 2001, to the bomshelled medical tents and blistered Army Humvees of Anbar Province. Chaplain McLaughlin believes that prayer is not only possible, but critical. "We must all learn to pray for peace," he says, "and then become an answer to that prayer."