A few weeks ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein praised a new Department of Veterans Affairs memorandum (PDF) regarding religious exercise and expression, saying the [emphasis added]
MRFF [was] validated by [the] Department of Veterans Affairs Memorandum! The VA finally gets it: POW/MIA Bible displays can’t favor one religion.
Yesterday, retired US Army General William “Jerry” Boykin commended the same Veterans Read more
US Army Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers made waves last year when he said he faced retribution from the Army for political bumper stickers, reading conservative political books, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Those controversies apparently boiled over into what the Army called a substandard performance evaluation (which MSgt Sommers contested). The poor evaluation triggered a review of his continued enlistment, and he was recommended for discharge — even as his other appeals were still being processed. Since he was eligible to retire, he was essentially forced to do so.
The day after he retired, he filed a lawsuit claiming he was forced out of the military due to his religious beliefs.
Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers, a 25-year veteran of the military and a decorated soloist in the U.S. Army Band Chorus, claims he was forcibly retired from the Army due to his religious and conservative political beliefs.
MSgt Sommers may have one of the stronger cases Read more
The group Military-Veterans Advocacy, represented by J.B. Wells, has written a letter to Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, stating that the Veterans Administration is preventing “chaplains and patients…from exercising their rights to religious expression.”
Wells indicated he was aiming for the same protections for religious expression the active US military recently received:
“We wrote the letter to provide support and also to suggest hearings on the situation. My goal is to see similar provisions enacted for veterans and VA employees as were included in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.”
Wells is currently suing the VA over discrimination Read more
In a fascinating case, the Conservative Baptist Association of America has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs, essentially alleging that a VA chaplaincy training program is intentionally preventing them from sending chaplains to VA and military medical centers:
The actions of the Secretary within the San Diego VA-DOD CPE Center establishing a secular, humanist and holistic religion which excludes mainstream Judeo-Christian beliefs discriminates against CBAmerica Chaplains, prevents them from practicing their religious beliefs, have forced them out of the program and will, if not corrected, prevent future CBAMERICA Chaplains from completing the program and practicing their faith in the health care facilities serviced by the program.
The VA-DOD CPE Center is responsible for preparing chaplains to serve in military and VA medical facilites around San Diego.
The lawsuit (PDF) relies on the experiences of two CBAmerica chaplains, Read more