Governmental Chaplaincy Program

AARSince 2004, Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity (G-CARD) training has been offered to state and federal correctional institution chaplaincy directors. In 2015, we added programming specifically focused on military chaplaincy. The two-day conference trainings include a primer on legal issues involved in providing religious accommodation and updates on recent court decisions. Leading religious studies experts host sessions on religious groups to familiarize chaplains with various practices, beliefs, ritual objects, worship space, garments, holidays, literature, dietary or grooming restrictions, and more. Each year's program is designed to meet the needs of attendees and final programs are finalized after consulting attendees.  

The Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR)  co-sponsor free G-CARD training for senior officials who oversee chaplaincy in governmental institutions, including statewide and federal prison chaplaincy directors, senior military chaplains, and those who oversee military chaplaincy endorsements. The training focuses on religions in all their diversity, especially on religions that tend to be less familiar. The conference also provides updates on the law affecting chaplaincy, as well as opportunities for attendees to share best practices across jurisdictions. 

Over the years, more than 30 leading religion scholars and chaplaincy directors from 26 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have participated. 

As a nonprofit organization whose purpose includes educating the public about religion, it is our privilege and honor to work with governmental chaplains. Ignorance about less familiar religions can cause a lot of unnecessary civil strife in the world, and our goal is to share our expertise to bridge those knowledge gaps. We are an academic institution and are committed to educating people about religions without favoring any particular religion.