Sterling, Military Religious Freedom Get Support at Supreme Court

Court-martialed Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling has appealed to the US Supreme Court, alleging her religious liberty was violated when she was convicted for not removing Bible verses posted to her desk.

The Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the case — and there are already significant briefs being filed in her support.

Critics like Michael “Mikey” Weinstein have tried to frame her case as a Christian trying to inappropriately “expose” others to their beliefs — and thus deserving of court-martial.

However, people who actually support religious freedom — rather than advocate discrimination against Christians as Weinstein does — are coming out in support of Sterling.

This includes a substantial number of significant and high profile non-Christians. Those supporting Sterling’s case with amicus briefs include: 

  • LTC Kamal S. Kalsi, an Army doctor and Sikh — a faith that has recently secured a victory in its own fight for military religious freedom
  • Dr. Simcha Goldman, USAF, Retired — the plaintiff in the pivotal Goldman v Weinberger
  • Fourteen states: Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia
  • Thirty-six members of Congress
  • Thirteen retired military flag officers

and

  • Foundation for Moral Law
  • Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty
  • Christian Legal Society
  • American Association of Christian Schools
  • Association of Christian Schools International
  • Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists
  • Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
  • National Association of evangelicals
  • National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
  • Queens Federation of Churches

The briefs cover address the important aspects of the appeal:

  • that the lower courts inappropriately required an exhaustion of remedies not required by the law;
  • that the rulings create a burden on constitutionally-protected liberty that would apply to others — including Sikhs; and
  • that the law does not require the government to assess the relative importance of a religious belief before granting it accommodation.

Should the Supreme Court decide to review the ruling, it could have a significant impact on not just military religious freedom, but religious liberty in general — and for all religious freedom.

For that matter, should the Court decline to review the case, it will have a significant impact nonetheless.

All of the amici can be read here.

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