On behalf of its many clients worldwide, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has had a significant record of positive interactions with the leadership of several National Guard units in regards to compliance with military religious freedom and accommodation regulations. These positive interactions have produced beneficial results in regards to a close adherence to non-sectarian requirements of religious accommodation regulations that govern religious elements (invocations, benedictions, prayers, etc.) of mandatory formal events held by individual National Guard units.
One particular National Guard unit, which had a history of seeking religious accommodation advice from MRFF, invited a well-known fundamentalist Christian Evangelical pastor to deliver a benediction at a unit deployment ceremony. In preparation for this ceremony, the State Adjutant General’s (TAG) senior staff of this National Guard unit informed the pastor of his clear obligation to have his benediction comply with all relevant U.S. Military religious accommodation regulations. This preparation included pre-approval of the pastor’s benediction. Clear direction was also provided to the pastor by the TAG’s senior staff that deviations from the pre-approved content of the pastor’s benediction were strictly prohibited. However, during the benediction, the fundamentalistChristian Evangelical preacher significantly deviated from his pre-approved benediction by adding a blatantly Christian sectarian message to his benediction. Immediately after his highly un-ethical behavior, this pastor was banned by the State’s TAG for participating in any future events held by the National Guard unit. This quick and decisive action by the TAG and his senior staff directly benefitted the unit moral and cohesion of over 80 MRFF clients and all members of this National Guard unit.