Religious freedom advocates are disappointed over the Supreme Court’s decision to forgo consideration of a military case involving Marine lance corporal Monifa J. Sterling's right to display her favorite Scripture verses. The lower court's verdict in United States v. Sterling was that the Marine’s right to display Scripture was not protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, was dismayed that the Supreme Court would allow this “chill on religious expression” to carry over from the Obama administration. He offered the following reaction in a press release Monday.
"The Supreme Court's refusal to hear this case has the unfortunate effect of allowing a chill on religious expression in the military to continue, and only underscores the need for the Trump administration to root out the anti-religious animus allowed to fester in the military during the Obama administration," he said. "Defense Secretary Mattis must consider the many complex ramifications of anti-religious Obama-era policies that remain in effect. The DOD and Congress need to ensure the priorities of the U.S. armed forces remain those that the Secretary has outlined: mission readiness, command proficiency, and combat effectiveness - not squelching religion -- which is actually quite necessary to readiness and effectiveness. Holdover personnel from the Obama administration need to focus on these priorities, and not on the last administration's social engineering projects that ignore military readiness.
"If one thing is clear from my 36 years in the military, it is that religious faith is indispensable for the soldier facing danger and the possibility of death in battle. Throughout the history of our magnificent military, faith has played a role not just in strengthening weak knees and frail hearts, but has actually made a difference in the actions of service members who act on this faith to accomplish deeds of valor. To rob the service member of the right to express this faith will do incalculable damage to the armed forces."
Our armed forces protect our freedoms – the least we can do is protect their faith.