U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal (LCpl) Monifa Sterling put up Bible verses in her work space. Her supervisor asked her to take them down, although co-workers had personal items in their spaces. When she refused, he took them down and tossed them in the trash.
A trial court gave LCpl Sterling a bad-conduct discharge and reduced her rank. She appealed her case to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, but that court also ruled against her.
LCpl Sterling appealed to the nation’s highest court — a purportedly right-leaning court — to protect her religious freedom to post inspirational words from her holy book.
More bad news for a Christian in the military in the United States who put Bible verses in her personal work area. The Supreme Court this week declined to hear LCpl Sterling’s case.
Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO & Chief Counsel for First Liberty, LCpl Sterling’s legal counsel, said the Court of Appeals decision stands and added: “The military court’s outrageous decision means federal judges and military officials can strip our service members of their constitutional rights just because they don’t think someone’s religious beliefs are important enough to be protected. Our service members deserve better.”
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Counsel and others had filed an amicus brief in the case.
“The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear this case has the unfortunate effect of allowing a chill on religious expression in the military to continue, and only underscores the need for the Trump administration to root out the anti-religious animus allowed to fester in the military during the Obama administration,” Lt. Gen. Boykin said in a statement. “Defense Secretary Mattis must consider the many complex ramifications of anti-religious Obama-era policies that remain in effect. The DOD and Congress need to ensure the priorities of the U.S. armed forces remain those that the Secretary has outlined: mission readiness, command proficiency, and combat effectiveness – not squelching religion – which is actually quite necessary to readiness and effectiveness. Holdover personnel from the Obama administration need to focus on these priorities, and not on the last administration’s social engineering projects that ignore military readiness.”
Photo credit: First Liberty Institute