OPINION: Army Is Punishing Military Chaplains For Their Religious Beliefs
Washington DC Capitol Building


OPINION: The U.S. Army Is Actually Punishing Military Chaplains For Their Religious Beliefs Now

April 23, 2018

As a former active duty Marine Corps officer, I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside quite a few military chaplains. For better or worse, popular culture has created a somewhat stereotypical portrayal of the military chaplain—many readers may recall the fictional character Father Francis Mulcahy from the television show M*A*S*H. In my experience, chaplains are some of the most dedicated and professional service members in our armed forces.

As an attorney focused on the area of religious liberty, I can say without exception that taking adverse action against a chaplain because he cannot act contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs not only violates federal law, it prevents a chaplain from completing his mission.

Among the chaplains my firm, First Liberty Institute, has successfully represented, Army Chaplain Scott Squires is the latest to be dragged into a fight for his religious freedom, not to mention his career and reputation

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Your dedication to your faith and your commitment to the positive education of our youth is truly admirable. I am deeply grateful for your military service and for taking a courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and First Liberty as you continue to fight for religious freedom! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.