Religious Accommodations Are Good for US Military’s Spirit

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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15 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Nice to see a good thing happen. Hope the service works out for him. 99% of the time”social experiment” and slippery slope are just terrible generic arguments.Report

  2. J_A says:

    Slightly off topic -I apologize, but I’ve always been curious about something:

    After the repeal of DADT, I was sure none of the parades of horribles (Southern soldiers refusing to enlist or re-enlist, cohesion breakdown, low level violence, sexual harassment, etc.) would really happen. But, suddenly, from the day after the repeal of DADT onwards, I have heard or read zero about it. On the one side, I knew there wouldn’t be that much downside, but I’ve always found it hard to believe that no one, not even the strong supporters of DADT that were forecasting the death of the US military, ever mentioned the smallest issue.

    So, question for those of you that are closer to the military. Was it reaaaaaaally that smooth a transition?

    As they say, I remain, yours very truly, etc. etc.Report

    • Andrew Donaldson in reply to J_A says:

      It wasnt smooth but not for that. I was my units point for that as I was on desk duty recovering at the time, and it was on me to implement DADT repeal to the 600+ folks. Probably ought to write that upReport

      • J_A in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        That would be a very interesting thing to read

        Thanks in advance for volunteering:-)Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I’d be interested in the write up, too.

        From my point of view, all I saw was a bunch of training – with some of the similar eyeroll questions that come up in anti-discrimination and sexual harrassment & assault prevention training. And then one day it was just the new policy.

        I did find out one guy that worked for me was gay when I later met his also service member boyfriend; I think they first met after the repeal. But that was basically my entire experience with the new policy, e.g. no EEO complaints in any direction in this regard, and I was only in for another 2 years after the repeal.Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    Good! I’ve served with a number of Sikhs and they were all top flight. It warms my heart to see their faith be as respected as Christian’s.Report

  4. Aaron David says:

    This is great news. I always thought that the Sikh culture would do very well in the US Army. That said, much like how the Sikh have a turban wrap specific to the Indian army, it would be cool to come up with a specific style for the US Army. That would be a very honorable thing to do for both sides.Report

  5. In World War 2, the military grudgingly gave a religious accommodation to Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist who refused to carry a gun. He became a medic, saved 75 lives on Okinawa and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. So there’s a long history of these things working out just fine.Report

  6. Mike Dwyer says:

    The military also granted an exemption for a soldier to wear a beard based on being a Norse pagan.

    I read an interview with the guy where he explained the process. He said one of the things that helped is that he didn’t push hard and he told them he would shave it off if ever required for training or specific duty. My employer also has a similar religious accommodation process for facial hair for management (thanks SCOTUS!). Several of us have considered filing. I have some Muslim peers that just started wearing beards without going through the process. No one even questions it.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Maybe I’m dense (!), but what reason would any company have for restricting facial hair on employees, especially management? Are they seriously worried that a beard or moustache makes you less professional? Where’s the liberty in that?Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

        It’s because of our delivery drivers. They are the face of the company and they want them to look very clean and ‘All American’ so the policy was also applied to management many, many years ago. It’s slowly changing. When I started with the company 19 years ago all of our executives had to wear a suit every day. Now they can wear jeans and a polo shirt most days. The facial hair thing seems to be the last thing they are willing to give up.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    I remember a story from a few years ago in the Times about a Sikh enlisted being allowed to carry the traditional knife as part of their uniform. You probably linked to it.

    I concur with everyone that this is a good study and should be a lesson to private businesses they continue to try and police such things.Report

  8. pillsy says:

    The core of religious liberty is the freedom to wear the hat of your choice.Report