Army to allow soldiers to wear hijab, turbans, and religious beards

Over the last eight years, in addition to fighting Obama's numerous wars, the U.S. Army has served as a gigantic social sciences lab under this president.

Gays can serve openly, as can transgender people.  The government will even pay for some gender reassignment surgeries for trans soldiers.  Women are now eligible for some combat roles, including special forces.

It seems that President Obama has cared more about imposing his cultural agenda on the military rather than winning wars. 

Now, in the waning days of the administration, the army has decided to take the idea of a “uniform” and turn it on its head.  If approved at the brigade level, Muslim and Sikh soldiers can now wear the hijab, as well as grow beards for religious reasons.

Army Times:

Since 2009, religious accommodation requests received by the Army have largely been from soldiers wanting to wear a hijab or a Sikh turban or patka with uncut beard and hair, according to the directive. 

"Based on the successful examples of soldiers currently serving with these accommodations," Army Secretary Eric Fanning wrote in the directive, he decided to move forward with those accommodations as long as the colors match the uniform of the day. 

"The Army has reviewed its policies to ensure we allow every opportunity for qualified soldiers to serve, regardless of their faith background," Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. "We believe in preserving the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion for those who want to serve in the U.S. Army." 

But when training or deployment calls for it, soldiers will still be required to wear combat helmets or other protective gear. 

“While we still seek a permanent policy change that enables all religious minorities to freely serve without exception, we are pleased with the progress that this new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity by our nation's largest employer,” said Harsimran Kaur, legal director for the Sikh Coalition, in a press release from Becket Law, a firm that represents several Sikh soldiers. 

Kaur is co-counsel for Capt. Simratpal Singh, whose 2016 lawsuit against the Defense Department lit on fire the discussion of religious accommodations to uniform policy. 

Previously, Sikhs had been able to wear beards and turbans in the Army, up until a 1980s ban. 

"Sikhs have a history of heroic service in militaries around the world — including in the U.S. until about thirty years ago," Eric Baxter, senior counsel at Becket Law, said in the release. "Now their strength will be added back to the Army without the threat of forced shaves and haircuts.” 

Though Fanning's decision opens up the option for hijabs, turbans and beards, soldiers will have to submit requests with an explanation of their sincerely held religious beliefs to their brigade commanders for approval. 

If the commander, or a designated O-6, denies the request, they must send it to the G-1, who will send it on to the Army secretary for final approval. 

Constitutional guarantees in the military of freedom of religion like other constitutional rights is not absolute.  There are numerous examples where freedom of speech has been abridged and freedom of the press curtailed in the name of maintaining morale or operational security. 

So why should freedom of religious expression  be at all different?  The whole point of the “uniform” is to build esprit, subsume individuality, and promote pride in serving.  By making exceptions, the entire concept of “uniform” is lost. 

If “obsevant” Muslims and Sikhs really want to serve, they should understand that uniformity is more important than any claim they may have to freedom of religious expression.  Because there is no draft, if they don't want to serve with those restrictions, no one is holding a gun to their head. 

This is just more social engineering by the Obama administration.  Secretary-Designate General Mattis is just the sort of no-nonsense military man who would reverse this rule.  The liberals will squeal if he does, but it would be the right thing to do.

Over the last eight years, in addition to fighting Obama's numerous wars, the U.S. Army has served as a gigantic social sciences lab under this president.

Gays can serve openly, as can transgender people.  The government will even pay for some gender reassignment surgeries for trans soldiers.  Women are now eligible for some combat roles, including special forces.

It seems that President Obama has cared more about imposing his cultural agenda on the military rather than winning wars. 

Now, in the waning days of the administration, the army has decided to take the idea of a “uniform” and turn it on its head.  If approved at the brigade level, Muslim and Sikh soldiers can now wear the hijab, as well as grow beards for religious reasons.

Army Times:

Since 2009, religious accommodation requests received by the Army have largely been from soldiers wanting to wear a hijab or a Sikh turban or patka with uncut beard and hair, according to the directive. 

"Based on the successful examples of soldiers currently serving with these accommodations," Army Secretary Eric Fanning wrote in the directive, he decided to move forward with those accommodations as long as the colors match the uniform of the day. 

"The Army has reviewed its policies to ensure we allow every opportunity for qualified soldiers to serve, regardless of their faith background," Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. "We believe in preserving the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion for those who want to serve in the U.S. Army." 

But when training or deployment calls for it, soldiers will still be required to wear combat helmets or other protective gear. 

“While we still seek a permanent policy change that enables all religious minorities to freely serve without exception, we are pleased with the progress that this new policy represents for religious tolerance and diversity by our nation's largest employer,” said Harsimran Kaur, legal director for the Sikh Coalition, in a press release from Becket Law, a firm that represents several Sikh soldiers. 

Kaur is co-counsel for Capt. Simratpal Singh, whose 2016 lawsuit against the Defense Department lit on fire the discussion of religious accommodations to uniform policy. 

Previously, Sikhs had been able to wear beards and turbans in the Army, up until a 1980s ban. 

"Sikhs have a history of heroic service in militaries around the world — including in the U.S. until about thirty years ago," Eric Baxter, senior counsel at Becket Law, said in the release. "Now their strength will be added back to the Army without the threat of forced shaves and haircuts.” 

Though Fanning's decision opens up the option for hijabs, turbans and beards, soldiers will have to submit requests with an explanation of their sincerely held religious beliefs to their brigade commanders for approval. 

If the commander, or a designated O-6, denies the request, they must send it to the G-1, who will send it on to the Army secretary for final approval. 

Constitutional guarantees in the military of freedom of religion like other constitutional rights is not absolute.  There are numerous examples where freedom of speech has been abridged and freedom of the press curtailed in the name of maintaining morale or operational security. 

So why should freedom of religious expression  be at all different?  The whole point of the “uniform” is to build esprit, subsume individuality, and promote pride in serving.  By making exceptions, the entire concept of “uniform” is lost. 

If “obsevant” Muslims and Sikhs really want to serve, they should understand that uniformity is more important than any claim they may have to freedom of religious expression.  Because there is no draft, if they don't want to serve with those restrictions, no one is holding a gun to their head. 

This is just more social engineering by the Obama administration.  Secretary-Designate General Mattis is just the sort of no-nonsense military man who would reverse this rule.  The liberals will squeal if he does, but it would be the right thing to do.

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