Chris Rodda has long been a “creative” writer, despite her sometimes claim to be an apparent amateur historian. While she has been quick to call out the errors of others with whom she disagrees, she ignores the errors of those who are on her side. She has also published a bevy of, to put it nicely, misleading writings. For someone so quick to call others “liars,” she has a very unique view of the truth.
With that in mind, Rodda published a blog yesterday with an attention-grabbing title:
National Defense Authorization Act to Include Military Training on How to Force Religion on Others.
Like much of what she writes, though, her title wasn’t true. (Most obviously, the NDAA hasn’t left either side of Congress yet, much less gone through conference committee or to the President. In other words, the NDAA doesn’t “include” anything yet.)
The short version of a long, meandering blog (Rodda has never been one for being succinct), is that Rodda is upset about Senate bill 4049, which was introduced in the Senate only a couple of weeks ago. Within it, the Senate requires the US military to conduct training on “Religious Accommodation” that must include:
- Federal statutes, DoD Instructions, Service regulations regarding religious liberty and accommodation for members of the Armed Forces
- The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993
- Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013
- Section 528 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016
Of that content, Rodda takes issue only with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA is fairly short, and it says the government cannot “substantially burden” exercise of religion, with some Read more
This week US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly enjoined the US military from implementing a ban on enlisting transgenders. Interestingly, the ruling claimed the US military opposed its own policy [emphasis added]:
The Court finds that a number of factors — including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself — strongly suggest that Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious.
The ruling is interesting for a couple of reasons — reasons which indicate it will either easily be overturned or will otherwise portend a new relationship among the judiciary, the US Constitution, and the US military.
The plaintiffs — described as “current Read more
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: Read more
Carl Forsling, a retired Marine MV-22 pilot, recently took to Task and Purpose to criticize the current Supreme Court appeal of court-martialed Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling. One part of Sterling’s case, as you’ll recall, centered on her decision to post a paraphrased Bible verse on her desk — which she was ordered to take down. Forsling opines:
Sterling worked in a customer-service job at an ID center, so people conducting their official business had to read the verse. This made effectively made something that was supposedly for her own personal inspiration into proselytization.
To quote Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word…” How does a posting a verse from Isaiah translate into an attempt to convert other people to a religion? In short, it doesn’t, but claiming that Read more
Rabbi Hanoch Teller has continued his now long-running series on Jews in the US military whose religious exercise, and their interaction with the military leadership, ultimately set the stage for military religious freedom today.
In Part VIII, Teller expounds on some of the backstory to Rabbi Goldman’s attempt to wear a yarmulke in uniform, highlighting the military’s need to have a “compelling interest” and Read more
As promised, Rabbi Hanoch Teller has continued his previously discussed series on Jews in the US military with the continuing story of Simcha Goldman, who became famous as the Airman who sued, won, and then lost in Goldman v Weinberger — and ultimately Read more
Over at the Jewish Press, Rabbi Hanoch Teller has a fascinating series tracing in storytelling form several major stories in the history of Judaism in the US military. The first two articles describe the story of Mitchell Geller, who after many years of military service starting in the 1950s was ultimately forced out over a beard he refused to shave — resulting in him losing his retirement. The interesting end to the story can be read in Part II.
The third and fourth articles in the series begin the story of S. Simcha Goldman, the Navy chaplain turned Read more
Noah Feldman, a columnist for Bloomberg and professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard, recently penned an article appealing for public support against Mississippi’s religious protection statutes [emphasis added]:
Signed in April, the Mississippi law calls itself the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” …
It should be held unconstitutional because it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment by singling out one set of religious beliefs for positive treatment.
To buttress his argument against “the danger of religious exemptions,” Feldman cited Goldman v Weinberger, the landmark case in which the US Supreme Court Read more