Navy Policies on Religion

All official Navy Instructions can be viewed here.

OPNAV INSTRUCTION 1730.1E, Religious Ministry in the Navy
06 May 2003 [Previous 1730.1D, 2003]

From 4.b.:

“Commanders shall develop and strengthen the moral and spiritual well being of the personnel under their command, and encourage and support chaplains in the performance of their duties.”

SECNAVINST 1730.7D, Religious Ministry within the Department of the Navy
08 August 2008 (1730.7B, and 1730.7C rescinded by Act of Congress)

From 5.e(2):

“Chaplains are trained and expected to cooperate with other chaplains and RMPs and work within the specialized environment of the military whil not compromising the tenets of their own religious traditions.”

From 5.e(3)(a)

“Chaplains care for all Service members, including those who claim no religious faith.”

From 6.c:

“Attendance at divine services shall be voluntary. Personnel present in an official support capacity are not considered attendees.”

From 6.e:

“Commanders shall not compel chaplains to act in a way that is inconsistent with the tenets of their faith. When invited to deliver religious elements at command functions, if the chaplain chooses not to participate, he or she may do so without adverse consequences.”

The instruction also defines Divine Services, Public Worship, Religious Rights, and Religious Services.

The updated instruction removed the requirement that

“Other than Divine/Religious services, religious elements for a command function, absent extraordinary circumstances, should be non-sectarian in nature.”

SECNAV INSTRUCTION 1730.8B, Accommodation of Religious Practices
02 October 2008, Change 1 dated 28 March 2012

5. Policy. DON policy is to accommodate the doctrinal or traditional observances of the religious faith practiced by individual members when these doctrines or observances will not have an adverse impact on military readiness, individual or unit readiness, unit cohesion, health, safety, discipline, or mission accomplishment.