Thursday, October 8, 2015

Assaults on the religious liberty of our service members needs to be stopped

Summary of an article by Ron Crews at Georgetown University:

Since George Washington first led our military onto the battlefields of the Revolutionary War, service to God and to country have been simultaneously possible and encouraged. Chaplains were considered so indispensable to a working military that they were even drafted during the Civil War. The assault on the religious liberty of our service members is a new phenomenon.

Nor is there any basis in law for the demand that service members leave their religious liberty at the recruiting door. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), one of the key federal statutes guaranteeing religious liberty for all Americans, has always been viewed by the courts as applying to the armed services. Indeed, the US Department of Defense removed any doubt by expressly incorporating RFRA into its regulations effective January 2010.

Congress has repeatedly admonished the Pentagon in recent years that the religious liberty rights of service members must be respected; yet, the reality of life in the armed services tells a very different story. It has become hostile territory for service members, particularly those of Christian faith, who wish to freely exercise their First Amendment right to religious liberty—the very First Amendment they fight to defend, for which they are willing to die.