TRUTH BOMBS: Many Christians still live with their heads in the sand about the persecution in the US. Yes it does look different then in other countries where Christians are giving their very lives for the Kingdom of Christ, but that does not mean there isn’t persecution. This article reflects the removal of religious freedoms from members of the armed forces. I can think of no other place where God is so desperately needed. There are no atheists in foxholes.
ARTICLE: The United States military’s appeals court has upheld the bad-conduct discharge of a Christian Marine who posted Bible verses at her computer desk but was ordered to remove it.
In a 4-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) in Washington ruled against former Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling, who was court-martialed for posting the Bible verse Isaiah 54:17, which says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper,” according to the Associated Press.
Sterling was convicted by a military court in 2014 for six offences mainly because of the Bible verse. She was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
According to Liberty Institute, which represented Sterling in her appeal, she printed the Bible verse in May 2013 and posted it on three places at her workspace.
But when her supervisor saw it, he ordered her to remove it, saying, “I don’t like the tone.”
Sterling refused to take it down, believing that it was her First Amendment right to post the Bible verse. The following morning, she found out the posts were removed.
She reprinted copies and posted them again. The next day, she found again that these were thrown in the trash.
During the trial, Sterling represented herself and invoked the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in defending her posting the verse.
The court ruled against her. She lost her appeal at the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals and at the CAAF.
First Liberty announced that they will appeal her case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, described the CAAF decision as “absolutely outrageous.”
“A few judges decided they could strip a Marine of her constitutional rights just because they didn’t think her beliefs were important enough to be protected. If they can court-martial a Marine over a Bible verse, what’s to stop them from punishing service members for reading the Bible, talking about their faith, or praying?” she said.
The institute’s Michael Berry said First Liberty is appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court for justice and precedent.
“Ms. Sterling posted the Bible verse as an expression of her faith – an expression which should have been protected by RFRA,” said Berry. “Our Marines give up many freedoms when serving, but religious freedom is never one of them. The First Amendment, RFRA, and military code all protect service members’ right to express their faith freely.”