The US military has just updated its regulations with the intent of improving the protection of military religious freedom.
Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17 was previously known as “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” but is now re-titled simply “Religious Liberty in the Military Services” (PDF). The new DoDI title sets the tone for a policy that presupposes religious liberty, rather than treats it as an outlier that may sometimes be “accommodated.”
That change in tone mimics the tone change in religious liberty policies in the Air Force – which may not be a coincidence. The new DoDI was approved by Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan – a former Air Force fighter pilot who has been both an Undersecretary of the Air Force and even the Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the past few years, during which the tenor (if not always the actions) of Air Force policy leaned toward religious freedom.
It seems President Trump’s selection of Undersecretary Donovan may have set the stage for improving religious liberty in the US military.
As to the DoDI itself, it notably Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s “charity,” the MRFF, recently published a bit of fan-mail from a person excoriating President Trump’s Tuesday proclamation of Religious Freedom Day.
And even Weinstein’s own research assistant, Chris Rodda, probably grimaced.
The letter, written by a “30-year Active Duty Air Force Officer”, lambasts Trump’s proclamation, claiming it is a “dog whistle of Fundamentalist Christian Dominionism.” As proof [formatting original]:
To understand his real declaratory intent, we need only look at his last paragraph in which he says, “I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen…”
…[Trump] ENLARGES the views of those that see 2018 as ‘The Year of Our Lord,’ i.e., Christians only.
Longevity in the military is clearly no guarantor of intellectual acuity.
As anyone with an elementary education and an internet connection could tell you, the 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
Many sites have now reported on US Army MSgt Nathan Sommers, a member of the US Army Band, who has apparently been targeted for his words or actions associated with “his conservative political and religious beliefs.”
As reported at FoxNews, Sommers
said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
For its part, the Army categorically denied Read more