Tag Archives: becket fund
In an interesting deviation from its prior statements on accommodating religion, the US Military Academy at West Point has apparently required two observant Sikh cadets to wear their ceremonial uniform cover — known as the “tar bucket” — “over or in place of” their turban. The cadets, Gurijuwan Singh Chahal and Arjan Singh Ghotra, maintain this “would desecrate their religious values” and have filed a lawsuit in response:
“Forcing New Cadet Chahal and New Cadet Ghotra to choose between their country and their God in this manner violates the Army’s own regulations, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the complaint states.
The US Marine Corps — which was the only Service to significantly push back on gender integration last year — announced that it would make no special accommodations for mixed gender units in deployed environments.
That includes training for deployed environments.
Marines in the field stay in everything from a large, single room shelter filled with dozens of cots to sleeping under tarps or nothing at all, said Maj. Charles Anklam III, executive officer for 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina — the first gender-integrated Marine infantry battalion…
Anklam said female Marines deployed to conflict zones have shared tents with their male counterparts at times. But this marks the first time female Marines will be doing so during their regular training with their combat unit.
In 2013 then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen Mark Welsh noted the “hookup mentality” of society contributed to the culture of sexuality in the military. He was criticized for his frankness, which was ultimately a statement of the obvious.
The US Army has changed its policies (PDF) to allow Sikhs, Muslims, and Jews to serve while wearing their religious accoutrements in uniform [emphasis added]:
Since 2009, religious accommodation requests requiring a waiver for uniform wear and grooming have largely fallen into one of three faith practices: the wear of a hijab; the wear of a beard; and the wear of a turban or under-turban/patka, with uncut beard and uncut hair. Based on the successful examples of Soldiers currently serving with these accommodations, I have determined that brigade-level commanders may approve requests for these accommodations…
Importantly, the policy specifically says the religious practice should be approved Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has an abysmal record as a lawyer, having participated in at least six lawsuits in the past few years and having won exactly zero. (An MRFF FOIA lawsuit against the US Air Force Academy is scheduled for a settlement conference this month.)
The American Humanist Association’s bid to have the Bladensburg Peace Cross war memorial torn down (or its cross member sawn off) continued this month with oral arguments at the Fourth Circuit court of appeals. The AHA lost their case last year and appealed in December 2015.
The First Liberty Institute, which is defending the cross, accurately Read more
It’s been long established that Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s awkwardly-named Military “Religious Freedom” Foundation actually fights against the religious freedom of Christians in the US military. Examples abound of cases in which a reasonable, principled religious liberty group should have stood up in defense of an Airman, Soldier, Marine, or Sailor, but Weinstein either refused to defend the troop because they were Christian or outright attacked their religious liberty instead.
Fortunately, genuine religious liberty groups have stood in the gap for such Christians — and have defended them even from Weinstein himself. One of the more notable groups is the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has a long history of, unlike Weinstein, consistent, principled defense of religious freedom regardless of a person’s particular religious belief.
(To wit, the Becket Fund has been fighting for the right of Sikhs to serve in the US military while still being able to practice their religious faith; Weinstein has so far refused to do so, tacitly acknowledging that a “win” for the Sikhs would ultimately be a win for other faiths — including Christians.)
More recently, Mikey Weinstein tried to attack the religious liberty of Read more
Update: Follow up on Harpal Singh and the status of Capt Singh’s case here.
The US Army has decided to permit three more Sikh adherents to attend Basic Training while maintaining the articles of their faith:
“After months of waiting, I’m ecstatic that I can finally serve both God and country,” Private Arjan Singh Ghotra, one of the plaintiffs, said…
Religious accommodations were also granted to Specialist Kanwar Singh [and]Specialist Harpal Singh.
While the exceptions are notable, they are still precisely that: exceptions. Thus, the US Army is still not officially more “friendly” to service by Sikhs, a point Read more