Christian military schools are only found among the private military schools, not the public military schools, as one might expect. What may be surprising to someone with little knowledge of military schools is how many of them have a particular Christian sect affiliation and how many of the rest are non-denominational Christian schools as well as military schools. Even those that do not call themselves Christian have, for the most part, a spiritual element in both their curriculum (for example, a meeting time called “Chapel”) and arrangements for Sunday prayer and/or worship for their students. There are Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic Christian military schools.
The founders of the Christian military schools often had in mind the concept of “educating the whole boy” (nearly all, if not all, of the private military schools were founded as boys schools—those that are coeducational most often became so later). To the founders, this meant an approach that addressed academics, character, leadership, and the young person’s spiritual life. Of course, the various founders stated this differently.
In addition, many of the private military schools were founded in the nineteenth or early twentieth century, when it was still true that the United States was predominantly Christian. So it is not surprising that the founders did not leave their faith behind when founding schools. The connection is even tighter in the Christian military schools that were founded by religious orders, like the Benedictines or the Christian Brothers.
You can see the Christian-military connection in a few, but by no means all, of the Christian military schools’ names.
• Benedictine Military School
• St. Catherine’s Military Academy
• St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy
• St. John’s Military School
show the faith connection in their names, but most people would have trouble guessing that Fork Union Military Academy or Marine Military Academy had a Christian affiliation, that Hargrave Military Academy had a Baptist tradition, or that Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was either a military school or affiliated with the Presbyterian church.
Another reason that may underlie the Christian faith—military school connection is that faith is assumed in history of our country as being connected to patriotism. This can be seen in our Pledge of Allegiance (“one nation, under God”) as well as in the JROTC Cadet Creed:
I am an Army JROTC cadet. I will always conduct myself to bring credit to my family, country, school, and the corps of cadets.
I am loyal and patriotic. I am the future of the United States of America.
I do not lie, cheat, or steal and will always be accountable for my actions and deeds.
I will always practice good citizenship and patriotism.
I will work hard to improve my mind and strengthen my body.
I will seek the mantle of leadership and stand prepared to uphold the Constitution and the American way of life.
May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.