CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Great Lakes naval center dismisses religious volunteers for minority faiths

MRFF COVERED BY CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Great Lakes Naval Training Center has dismissed a number of civilian volunteers who offered services for a handful of minority religious traditions, including Unitarian Universalism, the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Christian Science, Church of Christ and Earth-centered traditions, also called nature worship.

The ouster, conveyed to volunteers last month, echoed a similar expulsion last May that dismissed Muslim leaders. That decision was rescinded a month later, with a caveat that if uniformed personnel were available to lead, volunteers would be asked to step aside.

Critics of the latest decision, including leaders of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a non-profit that in the past has sued the Pentagon for ignoring policies that ban mandatory religious practices, said Tuesday the dismissal trounces the recruits’ constitutional rights.

“They’re basically deciding who are the religious winners and who are the religious losers and desecrating religious protection,” said Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. “This is absolutely establishing religion in direct denial of the First Amendment.”[…]

[…] Weinstein said if the Navy does not reverse course soon, his organization plans to seek injunctive relief on behalf of the recruits and Chantry. He said teenagers in basic training realistically can’t be expected to register complaints with their commanding officers. Read More

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