Friday, May 22, 2015

Religion in the military workplace

Two religious issues are on the screen in the U.S. Armed Forces. In one, the Air Force has decided not to penalize a major general (who is not a chaplain) for giving a sectarian speech in uniform.
Maj. Gen. Craig Olson gave a 23-minute speech at a [congressionally-suppported] May 7 National Day of Prayer Task Force event in which he said God enabled him to fly aircraft, manage programs worth billions of dollars and sell weapons systems to the Iraqis. 
He also asked the audience to pray for Defense Department leaders, who "need to humbly depend on Christ," and to pray for troops preparing to deploy again so they can "bear through that by depending on Christ."
The speech can be viewed here on YouTube.

In the other case, an enlisted Marine has been convicted of, among other offenses, disobeying an order to remove quotes based on Isaiah 54:17 that she had posted in three places around her government computer. The case is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, where a former Solicitor General of the United States is seeking a grant of review to litigate whether the prosecution violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. If the court grants review, the case could wind up at the Supreme Court. (Indefensibly, most court-martial appeals never become eligible for Supreme Court review either because they do not meet the jurisdictional threshold for appellate court review under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or, if they do, because the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces refuses to grant review, thereby placing them beyond the Supreme Court's reach.)

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