• Pentagon approves religious privilege for troops

    The Pentagon approved a new policy that will allow U.S. troops to invoke religion in order to violate troops’ rules:

    The new policy took effect Wednesday, and the waivers will be decided on a case-by-case basis, according to defense officials. Approval of the waiver will depend on where the service member is stationed and whether the change would affect military readiness or the mission.

    If the waiver involves something that violates the service’s policy governing troops’ uniforms or appearance — including tattoos, beards and clothing — then the decision is made by a senior officer, most likely the three-star general in charge of personnel for each service. If it involves something else, such as prayer time, the decision can be made by a unit commander.

    If the waiver violates the service’s policy it shouldn’t be allowed, period. Rules are the same for everybody, religion (and any other kind of personal preferences) notwithstanding.

    Category: Secularism

    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Activist | Journalist
    • kraut2

      “Rules are the same for everybody, religion
      (and any other kind of personal preferences) notwithstanding.”

      Unfortunately – in Canada that rule was breached when the RCMP made an exception permitting Sikh police officers to wear a turban.

      Unfortunately – so called liberals and “freedom” lovers (i.e. conservatives of all stripes) in Canada think it is an insult to freedom denying public officers to wear religious symbols while on duty. As happened in Quebec when attempts to do so were harshly criticized by “liberals” and “conservatives” alike. This alone should be an indication they did something right.

      Why should a public official when I am forced to deal with him for whatever reason have the right to push his religious affiliation into my face? I am not going out of my way to let him know I am an atheist – it has to have no bearing on public matters. So why are they permitted to shove me their cross, their yarmulke, their turban up into my face? They should shove it up their ass when performing public duty.

      • Peter

        Still, it looks like the PQ will win the next election. And this whole controversy is just a side issue for their goal of sovereignty. Sorry don’t know why this happened.

      • And here I was thinking Canada was one of the few places on Earth where reason ruled, kinda!

        Too sad to learn this

    • Jonas

      The problem is more to do with the restrictive uniform and appearance policy. Lets be honest, most of the standards were made up by people long dead. Did you know that you can’t hug your wife in uniform? There is a very specific method in which you and your wife can hold arms. Umbrellas are outlawed in uniform because you’ll scare the horses.

      Mostly, I’m just happy that the people still in the military can stick it to the man with more uniform exceptions. AR 670-1 was one of the worst things I dealt with, actually going higher on my annoyance chart than being shot at, taking indirect fire, and going to a bloody war. Twice.

      Anyways, not sure what this policy actually changed to be honest, since prayer time could be coordinated at the unit level if it was THAT important to you (just look at Mormons in Basic. They manage to get ALL sunday off). Uniform exceptions already existed. Mormons had special shirts they could wear that even the Drill Sergeants couldn’t comment on. My buddy had a harder time, but AR 670-1 provided the exception necessary for him to wear his wedding (wrist) band.

      At best, this policy just formalizes what already existed, and my buddy would have FAR less difficulty with his wedding (wrist) band if he hadn’t already left the service. Availability of exceptions needs to be on an all or none basis. Either anyone can get *REASONABLE* exceptions, or no one can. Until now, it’s only been a very small number of groups that were able to get exceptions.

      As long as you can maintain good order and military readiness, I don’t think I’m particularly bothered. Pretty hard to stand up for freedom of religion when your military is cherry picking what religions get exceptions. All or nothing guys. All or nothing.

      • You certainly make a fair point.

        Yes, some rules don’t make sense today and they should be removed.

        But having a religion should not mean you get free passes where other people don’t. That’s my point.

        • Jonas

          Define “free passes”. Why are you allowed to wear a wedding ring (which flies in the face of the AR 670-1 if it we’re specifically exempted!)? You’re getting a free pass when you do so. If you’re married in a tradition that uses something other than just a ring, you have to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to wear your equivalent.

          All this does is level the playing field. There is no longer privilege in who gets uniform exceptions. The exceptions to uniform regulations no longer go for JUST Christians. Anyone can get *reasonable* exceptions.

          Once again, personally, I don’t really care which way the military goes. It just had to change from what it was. Either anyone can get a *reasonable* exception for what their faith asks of them, or *no one* can. Something that was notably absent before this…

          • Free pass is to get excempted where others are not.

            So now you can wear a hat if your religions tells you so, but you can’t even if you have a deep held commitment to your fandom of Johnny Depp. How’s that any fair? Why is religious affiliation getting free passes over other deep held (or not so much) cultural/emotional/personal preferences and trends?

            • Jonas

              Except some people get free passes without this policy. This merely formalizes it makes it fair. Once again, I didn’t particularly care which way the military went: Either all religions can get reasonable exemptions, or none. Prior to this, it was only a few that did.

              As for how is it fair, welcome to life. It isn’t fair. This is just far more fair than it used to be. How is it fair that person A doesn’t have to give up any deeply held cultural and religious tenets to join the military, but person B does? That’s not fair either. It will *never* be fair. You can only be less unfair.

            • If someone gets (non-religious) free passes, policy should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

              Yeah, life ain’t fair, that’s why states exist: to make it less unfair. Giving religious exemptions worsens life’s unfairness towards atheists and nones.

    • Michael R

      Priority #1 for Obama is diversifying the military in order to diminish the threat of a military coup by a bunch of disgruntled white servicemen. Obama couldn’t care less about religion or military readiness, he just wants the neuter white America.

      • I don’t think there’s much chance of a military coup within the US Army. Highly unlikely at best.