Press Releases

Faith-Based Company Cleared to Pursue Lawsuit Against DoD for Prohibiting Military Dog Tags with Bible Verses

June 5, 2024

News Release
For Immediate Release: 6.5.24
Contact: Peyton Drew,
Direct: 972-941-4454

Faith-Based Company Cleared to Pursue Lawsuit Against DoD for Prohibiting Military Dog Tags with Bible Verses

Court rejects Motion to Dismiss by the Department of Defense, rules that Shields of Strength’s Complaint, citing First Amendment violations, can proceed.

Washington, DC—Today, First Liberty Institute and the law firm Fish & Richardson announced that Shields of Strength is one step closer to proving that the DoD’s discriminatory refusal to allow production of its popular military-themed dog tags with inspirational Bible verses for service members and their families is illegal. This decision comes after production was wrongfully halted more than five years ago following a complaint from an anti-religious group.

The decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, can be read here.

“The decision by the court is a victory not only for Shields of Strength and its owner, Kenny Vaughan, but also for the brave men and women of our armed forces and their families who gain divine inspiration from Shields’ replica dog tags containing biblical scripture and military insignia,” said Senior Counsel and Chair of the Military Affairs practice group for First Liberty Institute Danielle Runyan.

“Shields of Strength has been a source of strength and encouragement for our military heroes for over 25 years,” said Kenny Vaughan, owner of Shields of Strength. “Every dog tag we ever made was at the request of the troops and their families and it was our honor to do so. The hardest part has been declining requests for the last several years. We look forward to the day we no longer have to say no to a Solider, Marine, Sailor, or Airman who is asking for a reminder of God’s promise.”

Kenny Vaughan and his wife Tammie have dedicated their lives to serving those who defend and protect our freedoms derived from the U.S. Constitution.  Through Shields of Strength, they created military themed replica dog tags with encouraging Bible verses that have been proudly worn by service members around the world for decades. To date, over four million Shields of Strength dog tags have been distributed, with two million donated by Shields.

In 2019 the Department of Defense, at the legally baseless urging of an anti-religious group’s cease-and-desist letter, prohibited Shields from producing or selling licensed items with religious content. First Liberty filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Shields.

Today’s court decision states, “The First Amendment claims survive that test. Because the Constitution itself provides judicially manageable standards, a claim that agency action violates the Constitution is reviewable unless Congress’s intent to bar review is ‘clear.’ And nothing establishes such a ‘clear’ bar to review of constitutional claims here.”


About First Liberty Institute 

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Peyton Drew at

Social Facebook Social Instagram Twitter X Icon | First Liberty Institute Social Youtube Social Linkedin

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyState DisclosuresSitemap • © 2024 Liberty Institute® is a trademark of First Liberty Institute