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Religion in the Military | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Religion in the Military

The right to practice one’s religious beliefs openly has become a very hot topic in recent years. Practicing religion is not a prerequisite in the military; it has always been simply a matter of choice. I feel that Mikey Weinstein appropriately outlined a great view of the situation for our military personnel when he said, “When one proudly dons a US military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American Flag. There is one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American Patriotism.”

Treaty of Tripoli. Click to enlarge.
Treaty of Tripoli. Click to enlarge.

Our founding fathers, many of whom were religious gentlemen, created a secular government with good reason.

  1. They were conscious of the potential pitfalls of the church-state alliances that had been fostered throughout Europe. These alliances between church and state were oftentimes the reasons why many chose to depart and to forge a new path in the New World.
  2. They also looked back to our early years where some colonies established churches for their area and forced the citizens to support them. Needless to say, this caused a good deal of strife among early colonists.
  3. Another very important fact regarding religion and our country is the signing of the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli which declares, “The government of the United States is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

Over the last decade, the debate over religious freedoms within the military has become an issue. Consequently, the Department of Defense adopted a new policy regarding religious accommodations. This policy came into effect in January 2014. The new policy states that the Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of military personnel “to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe none if they choose to do so.” This policy also contains an extensive list of criteria to determine whether to grant an exemption from a military rule based on religious grounds.

Religious TattoosRequests for religious accommodations will be promptly granted if it will not affect mission accomplishment. The directive specifically states that accommodations may include matters of grooming and appearance (including hair length), religious tattoos, or religiously motivated body piercings. Accomplishing our mission such as military readiness, good order, discipline, and health on both the individual and unit levels is the main priority. An essential part of unit cohesion is establishing and maintaining uniform military grooming and appearance standards. Functioning as a cohesive unit is essential when our military is involved in a mission.

My big question is, since the beginning of the military, there have always been people of different religion, heritage, cultures, etc. Why now after hundreds of years do people feel the need to stand out from their fellow brothers and sisters in arms based on their beliefs? It doesn’t matter what religion you are; you are a soldier first and foremost. One of the things that has always been important in the military, in my opinion and experience, is that no matter where you came from or what you believed, we are all the same – a soldier. You need that uniformity of uniforms, dress, patriotism, loyalty, etc. so that no matter where you are, people know you are an American Soldier.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Teresa Agostino

Originally from Canada, Terri moved to the US at 16 and joined the Army Reserves at 17. She went active Army in 1991, and spent almost 2 years in Iraq as a program analyst for the Army Corps of Engineers. She currently works for the VA as an Accounts Management Supervisor. Terri has her MBA in HR management.
Teresa Agostino

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1 thought on “Religion in the Military

  1. Men take more than their weapons into foxholes. They take pics or letters from their girl. They might take a memento from home. A great many of our soldiers have drug their skull through serious crap with a Bible shoved in their carrier or ruck. The state cannot be the only religion. If that is the case, we have become Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union. American warfighter have been successful throughout history because our founders recognized the importance the individual. Men fight not only for their flag, but to honor God and insure the safety of their families.

    It seems logical for some to believe we can level the playing field and promote focus by rendering each soldier expressionless in matters that differentiate him/her from those in their company. If that is the new normal, then America will degrade into a pacifist society of frightened wimps, and never again conjure the spirit that calls good men to lay down their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the righteous cause of securing liberty.

    As we merge more and more of our technology and infrastructure with neighboring nations or allies, we would do well to remember that, apart from any other nation that has ever existed, this people called Americans were founded on the belief that our rights, our abilities and our hopes, come from Almighty God. It is His sovereign hand that establishes nations, and His providence alone that revokes blessing from those peoples that neglect to honor His authority.

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