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US Defense Dept. Supports Stronger Religious Liberty Protections for Military Members

09-16-2020

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has announced it's implementing stronger guidelines to safeguard religious liberty for military service members.  

First Liberty Institute, a legal organization that protects religious freedom, says the measure demonstrates the standards set by President Trump's Executive Order 13798, "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty."

US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper was approached by First Liberty Institute concerning the censorship of military members and chaplains by the US Army who were banned from participating in worship services off base during the coronavirus pandemic. 
 
The amended instruction 1300.17 states that the DOD will adhere to the following:

  • Acknowledge that service members have the right to observe the principles of their religion. 
  • Accommodate religious practices and procedures for service members.  
  • Ensure that religious beliefs shall not serve as a foundation for discrimination, loss of promotion, education, training, or assignment. 
  • Require that military departments implement training and oversee the performance of these policies and procedures regarding the religious practices of service members, commanders, chaplains, and recruiters. 

Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty said the new directive is a huge success for members of the armed forces.  

"This new guidance is a great victory for America's brave service members, for whom faith is an essential element of their life and duty," Berry said. "Since the days of the Revolutionary War, religious freedom has been a force multiplier for our military. We applaud our Commander in Chief, President Trump, and Secretary Esper for ensuring that religious liberty is alive and well in our Armed Forces."

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