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
US Army Capt Simratpal Singh sued the US Army last week in an attempt to gain permission to wear a turban and long hair, in keeping with his Sikh faith.
Capt Singh had previously shaved and adhered to standards — he is a West Point and Ranger School graduate with 10 years of service — but given recent changes in military policy that placed a priority on religious accommodation, and his own reevaluation of his dedication to his faith, he sought and obtained a temporary waiver.
According to the lawsuit (PDF), the Army was about to Read more
Update: As of November 2015, the full Ninth Circuit refused to re-hear the FFRF appeal, effectively ending the case.
The Montana ski resort statue known as “Big Mountain Jesus” has survived the most recent challenge to have it torn down (from the appeal argued in July). The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a small atheist group that scours the country for signs of religion over which to be offended, sued because the statue is technically on federal land, though the land is perpetually leased to a ski resort. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty defended the statue.
The statue was built in the style of European shrines by the Knights of Columbus to honor the 10th Mountain Division. The Division’s soldiers fondly recalled the many shrines they saw during their combat in World War II. In that regard, it was not raised as a religious shrine itself, as the FFRF claims, but as a memorial that invokes those shrines as an homage to the 10th Mountain Division.
The Appeals Court panel found, in a 2-1 ruling, the statue was essentially secular in purpose — including as justification its “irreverent” use: Read more
Update: Via The Religion Clause:
[The] Virginia federal district court ultimately allowed Dr. Heap to move ahead with his Establishment Clause and Equal Protection/ Substantive Due Process challenges to the Navy and Department of Defense’s actions.
However the court dismissed challenges brought under other parts of the 1st Amendment, the No Religious Test clause, and RFRA, dismissed The Humanist Society as a plaintiff for lack of standing and on ripeness grounds, and dismissed claims against the individual defendants.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has had what might be considered a banner year in its legal support of religious liberty, winning more than one case at the Supreme Court. Moreover, what separates the Becket Fund from some other stereotypical religious liberty groups is their willingness to not just speak but also act in defense of all religious liberty.
While they represented a Christian family when the Supreme Court Read more