Atheists have been on the attack against religious liberty in the U.S. military for decades.
But things are changing thanks to an executive order issued by President Trump shortly after taking office.
And a new directive just released by the Department of Defense proves it.
Executive Order 13798, entitled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” directed the U.S. military to take measures to safeguard religious liberty for military service members.
President Trump has recognized the need to celebrate religious diversity in the military and protect service members’ faith while they sacrifice for their nation.
“It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,” wrote President Trump.
“The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation.”
“For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans’ first freedom.”
“Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government.”
President Trump firmly asserted that “the executive branch [of the Federal government] will honor and enforce those protections.”
This executive order specifically protects the religious freedoms of those serving in the Department of Defense.
“All executive departments and agencies…shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech.”
“In particular, [departments] shall…not take any adverse action against any individual, house or worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks…about moral or political issues from a religious perspective.”
In other words, President Trump knows how important it is to protect people of faith from backlash about their personal speech and beliefs.
As a result of this executive order, the Department of Defense just issued a new directive in the form of an amended “instruction 1300.17,” implementing President Trump’s vision for religious liberty in the military.
The directive recognizes “that service members have the right to observe the tenets of their religion, or to observe no religion at all.”
Additionally, Trump directed the DOD to accommodate “individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs…which do not have an adverse impact on…health and safety.”
This directive comes on the heels of the censorship of military chaplains in the U.S. Army.
Many government officials have taken advantage of COVID-19 restrictions to punish chaplains for holding public services and prohibiting service members from attending in-person religious services.
This has caused an uproar within the Christian community and advocates for religious freedom are pushing for increased religious protections in the military.
After all, for those sacrificing everything for their country, faith is often the most important part of their lives.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but this new guidance is a huge step in the right direction for America’s brave service members, for whom faith is an essential element of their life and duty,” said Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute.
First Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal organization fighting to protect religious liberty across America and commended President Trump and the DOD for taking decisive steps in protecting service members’ freedoms.
“Since the days of the Revolutionary War, religious freedom has been a force multiplier for our military,” Berry continued.
“We applaud our Commander in Chief, President Trump, and Secretary [of Defense] Esper for ensuring that religious liberty is alive and well in our Armed Forces.”
Under the new directives, service members will have protection to observe their religion’s tenets and attend religious services without backlash from superiors or the government.
Military departments will also be required to implement training for these new policies and oversee the proper performance of new procedures regarding religious liberty.
Most importantly, religious beliefs will not be grounds for discrimination or the loss of promotions, education, or military assignments.
One can only imagine how many service members will breathe easier due to these new policies.
Praise God for President Trump’s work in this regard!
And please pray for our service members who are striving to practice their faith while protecting our nation. May God bless and keep them!