Victories: In the Military | First Liberty

Religious Liberty Issues

Victories: In the Military

January 27, 2016

Marine Court-Martialed for Posting Bible Verse

Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was court-martialed for posting a Bible verse in her workspace at Camp Lejeune. At her trial and on appeal, LCpl Sterling invoked the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) in her defense. However, the appeals court said RFRA did not apply because displaying a Bible verse did not constitute a “religious exercise.” We are appealing Sterling’s case to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), which is the highest court in the military, with cases subject to U.S. Supreme Court review. Read more about our ongoing fight for LCpl Sterling.

Victory: U.S. Navy Chaplain Exonerated

The U.S. Navy threatened to terminate Chaplain Modder for his religious views expressed in private counseling sessions. First Liberty intervened, and after a legal battle that nearly ended Chaplain Modder’s 20-year career, the Navy exonerated him of all charges. Read Chaplain Modder’s story.

Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial

In 1925, a local post of The American Legion erected the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial to honor the men who gave their lives serving during World War I. The American Humanist Association sued for the removal of the cross, but we won a court judgment ensuring the cross will continue to stand. The American Humanist Association appealed the Court’s decision, and we are fighting for its continued protection. Read more about our ongoing defense of the Bladensburg WWI Memorial.

First Liberty Defends Airman Persecuted for His Faith

When Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk refused to “get on the same page” with his commander on the issue of same-sex marriage, due to his religious beliefs, the U.S. Air Force relieved him of his duties. First Liberty Institute stepped in and ensured SMSgt Monk was cleared of the charges, achieving victory for Monk before he retired. Read about the victory.

Victory: Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Saved

First Liberty Institute led the charge in a 25-year legal battle to the preserve the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross against attacks from the ACLU. In 2015, the memorial was finally saved. Read the story that led to the victory.

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.