Last week, the US Air Force quietly published an update to its uniform regulation, AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, which governs how Airmen are required to wear their uniforms. The new regulation included attachments that specifically covered turbans, hijabs, and beards for the first time. While AFI 36-2903 previously discussed “religious apparel,” this is the first time it was covered in such depth.
In addition, it prioritized accommodation Air Force wide. For example, previous versions often restricted accommodation — if it was even granted — to a single military installation.
The new regulation also lowers the level of approval required for some accommodations. For example, Wing Commanders (generally, the commander of the Air Force base) are authorized to approve
hijab, beard, turban or under-turban/patka, unshorn beards, unshorn hair, and indoor/outdoor head coverings.
Importantly, however, if the commander desires to disapprove that accommodation, the request has to be disapproved at AF Headquarters at Read more
Military troops of faith — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and others — have long served in the US military. They have done so with honor and distinction, earning the highest accolades and making the highest sacrifices.
And former Army officer Sue Fulton thinks they shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military at all.
As discussed by Sonny Hernandez, in an interview with the New York Times Fulton was aghast that military chaplains have the gall to claim their God is greater than their government — and they should therefore not be in the military:
Some chaplains argue: ‘My first responsibility is to God.’ Well, if your responsibility is to God and not the Army, you need to get out of the Army.
Hernandez accurately summarized Fulton’s intolerant and ultimately unconstitutional advocacy:
[When] Fulton argues that chaplains should get out of the military if God is first in their lives, she is establishing a religion over theirs…She is [saying] the Constitution only works one way, and that the Defense Department’s policy on pluralism is extended only to those with convictions are agreeable to hers.
Fulton’s declaration is utterly ridiculous — and bigoted. Millions of troops before Read more
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
Despite claims by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter that tolerance is “a practical necessity” in the US military — and that nothing unrelated to someone’s qualifications should prevent them from serving — people who are prevented from serving for reasons other than sexuality aren’t reaping the fruits of that newfound practical “tolerance.”
Maj. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi was recently in the news — and at the Democratic National Convention — highlighting the continued fight for Sikhs to gain Read more
In an era in which US military claims the only thing people need in order to serve is the ability to, a swath of American Sikhs is still left wondering, “What about us?”
In recent “gay pride” celebrations, senior leaders have repeated the mantra that because homosexuals sacrificed and fought in war zones, they earned the right to serve — even if they had been violating military regulations or moral standards.
Whether you agree with that logic or not, Sikhs have a far stronger case, having Read more
The New York Times recently bemoaned that it was “unfair” to US troops who have publicly announced their gender identity issues for the US military to fail to follow through with its unstated promise of letting them serve in whatever gender expression they chose.
To be clear, US military policy states those who “identify” as a gender other than their actual one have issues that disqualify them from serving. In July of last year, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stood up a “working group” to study the impact of allowing troops with gender issues to serve [emphasis added]:
“At my direction,” Carter said, “the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified.”
The working group was to study the issue over the succeeding six months.
Eight months later, the New York Times chided Carter for Read more
While Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has claimed his Military Religious Freedom Foundation is advocating for religious freedom, claims by his critics that his group is actually “anti-Christian” have apparently stung — and stuck.
Unfortunately for him, his own staff is making his critics’ case.
A self-described former Assembly of God pastor, Joan Slish, is a member of Weinstein’s advisory board and has previously provided great insight into how the sausage is made at the MRFF. She is a go-to MRFF advocate for replying to their “hate mail,” apparently because she has stellar “copy/paste” skills. Each of her identical replies, dutifully posted by the MRFF, is a robotic, 1,000-word diatribe that generally has nothing to do with what their detractor wrote.
Recently, however, Slish got into a back-and-forth with a detractor that revealed more than she Read more