The Navy Recruit Training Command has reportedly allowed some civilians to return to the base to lead religious services for recruits. Not all of the previously banned leaders were allowed to return as religious leaders because, according to the Navy, uniformed leaders were found instead — which the Navy said met the priority guidance on who was supposed to help lead services:
Following the sudden dismissal of a half-dozen religious leaders last month, commanders at the Great Lakes naval training center began the process Thursday of inviting back civilian volunteers to serve recruits who are Unitarian Universalists, Baha’is, Buddhists and Christian Scientists.
In the meantime, a spokesman said, the Navy Read more
In early April, the Navy commander of Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes — the basic training site for all incoming Sailors — told civilian volunteers they were no longer permitted to conduct religious services for recruits.
On the orders of Capt. Doug Pfeifle, the commanding officer of RTC, civilian volunteers for seven minority religious communities have been asked to stop conducting services.
An RTC official who spoke on background said the volunteers were asked to leave in accordance with Navy guidance, which stipulates that a uniformed chaplain or a religiously accredited military member should conduct the service before the service pursues other avenues.
Viewed optimistically, it appears to be a sincere action poorly executed or communicated. It seems the volunteer system had “gotten away from” the RTC leadership, and they found themselves unable to justify the program under Navy guidelines. It seems the RTC program was suffering from some logistical issues, including a formal way to control who could and could not conduct recruit services.
To be clear, the US military is not Read more
The US State Department issued a statement on the “Persecution of Religious Minorities in Iran,” specifically addressing mistreatment of those of the Baha’i faith.
Freedom of religion is the birthright of people of all faiths and beliefs in all places. The United States is committed to defending religious freedom around the world, and we have not forgotten the Baha’i community in Iran. We will continue to speak out against injustice and call on the Iranian government to respect the fundamental rights of all its citizens in accordance with its international obligations.
In an interesting contrast, a group of religious leaders in Afghanistan recently called for the implementation of Sharia law. Read more