Bible Quote Court-Martialed Marine Appeals
Update: Franklin Graham weighs in here.
Court-martialed Marine Monifa Sterling has enlisted the Liberty Institute to help her appeal her conviction, which included a controversy over Bible quotes she had placed on her desk. Sterling was convicted
of failing to go to an appointed place of duty, disrespecting a superior commissioned officer and four specifications of disobeying a lawful order. She was sentenced last year to a reduction in rank from lance corporal to private and given a bad-conduct discharge, a status that will stay on her military record and prohibits her from receiving benefits as a veteran…
Sterling was found guilty of disobeying a lawful order in part because she refused to take down three signs in her workspace with the message: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” It’s a derivation of the biblical passage Isaiah 54:17, a motivational message that says that “no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper.”
As discussed previously, the appeals court didn’t handle that portion of her case particularly well and ventured into an awkward — and unnecessary — diatribe about the “divisive impact” of religious quotes. Given the context of the report, it seems unlikely the entire conviction would be overturned, but Sterling could potentially regain some ground if her conviction was re-characterized:
Expunging the bad-conduct discharge from Sterling’s record would have life-long implications for her, [Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry] added. Any time she applies for a job now and lists her military service, the punishment is listed.
A few have raised legitimate questions regarding the initial court-martial, noting that a Bad Conduct Discharge is a fairly severe punishment (even if they agreed with the general construct of the case). BCDs are generally reserved for fairly egregious cases that normally include jail time — something to which Sterling’s case clearly didn’t rise.