Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Benedict DeDominicis

Abstract

Young adults in the United States are less interested in organized religion and consider the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorists and captured U.S. military personnel by enemy forces as justifiable. The relationship between religion, political ideology, and enhanced interrogation support are well known, yet it is not known if young adults with current or prior military service also consider these applications justifiable. The purpose of this study was to determine if religion influenced the opinions of young adults with current or former military service on the use of enhanced interrogations. The theoretical framework for this study included Milgramâ??s theory of obedience and Maslowâ??s theories of motivation. Research questions focused on religion, age, gender, and support for enhanced interrogation of (a) terrorist and suspected terrorist and (b) captured U.S. Armed Forces personnel. A quantitative design was used by employing 10-item measure of religious involvement, religious commitment, and acceptability of enhanced interrogation administered electronically via internet. Data from current or former military service members (n = 105), recruited through military community newspapers and social networking websites, were collected and coded for correlational analysis. Results indicated a significant positive correlation between religion and support for enhanced interrogation of terrorists or suspected terrorist (r(95) = .366, p < 0.000). There was no correlation between religion and support for enhanced interrogation with age, gender, and use on U.S. Armed Forces personnel. Implications for positive social change include consideration of this religious influence by military chaplains when training military members on ethical obligations and military law.

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