The Clerical Collar Poll

Are there good reasons why chaplains should display some sort of chaplaincy insignia? Let us know what you think in this new poll.

Here’s and interesting commentary on the clerical collar, if you’d like some opinions:


2 responses to “The Clerical Collar Poll

  1. Keith Patterson

    Where does this leave non-ordained laypersons?

    • I’m not quite sure that the collar is in fact reserved for the ordained alone. The collar serves basically to indicate that the wearer is in service to God or dedicated to God. As an interfaith chaplain not representing a particular or specific tradition or denomination the collar would not necessarily identify the wearer as clergy in the conventional sense but as a servant of God. Given the myriad denominations with their own rules and conventions, their own practices in terms of who ministers and who serves, and the various options as regards clerical wear, the collar has become more of an insignia than a marker of ontological apartness. I have reviewed several commentaries and blogs on the subject and it appears that there are quite a few good reasons why at least Christian chaplains should wear the collar. After all, many male adherents wear the yarmulka that identifies them as members of the Jewish tradition, as do many female rabbis. In a religious era where women are wearing the heretofore insignia of the male clergy, albeit mainly in some of the Western Christian traditions, and given that theologically all baptized are members of the common priesthood, there should be little or no opposition to the “common clergy” wearing the collar, especially those actively involved in chaplaincy, a very unique ministry that is set apart from all other “lay” ministries. I think there are very good reasons why even the “unordained” should wear the collar when serving in a chaplaincy/pastoral care ministry. The only arguments that could be proffered why this should not be would come from specific denominations attempting to control their adherents. The hospital is a secular parish and is not subject to denominational rulings.

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