A religious freedom group is pushing back against an atheist organization’s efforts to end “unconstitutional” prayers and Bible readings presented by a chaplain during ceremonies at an Air National Guard base in New Hampshire.
First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans, on Tuesday sent a letter to Col. James Ryan, the commanding officer at Pease Air National Guard Base.
In the letter, the organization reminded him that federal law, military regulations, and the Constitution all allow prayer and Bible readings by chaplains at military events – despite with that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) says.
“The FFRF’s position and legal argument are incorrect. Federal law, military regulations, and court precedents belie the FFRF’s specious claims. Uniformed chaplains are clearly permitted, indeed protected, when they offer invocations at military functions,” senior counsel Mike Berry wrote in the letter, which was made available to The Gospel Herald.
Referencing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as the Department of Defense (DoD) instruction entitled “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” Berry said that “the DoD must accommodate individual expressions of religious belief, which undoubtedly include a military chaplain’s invocation.”
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