Army Says Bible Verses No Longer Allowed on Dogtags After Atheist Group Complains

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Our religious liberties continue to face assault here in America. Apparently, it’s now offensive for members of the military to have Bible verses printed on their dog tags. Men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedoms are apparently not allowed to wear, on their own personal bodies, a reminder of their faith and hope. This is truly disturbing. 

Fox News reports:

For the past 20 years, military members have been able to wear dog tags with Bible verses on them, giving them light and hope in some of their darkest times. For some Gold Star families, this is one of their most cherished possessions to remember their loved one who gave the ultimate sacrifice. But all this could be coming to an end.

After Fox News reported in July on “Shields of Strength,” the faith-based business that prints Bible verses on dog tags for military members and their family, complaints were raised to the Department of Defense by Mikey Weinstein, founder, and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). He demanded the military branches stop allowing the group to use the military emblem, saying it “poisons the constitutionally-mandated separation of Church and State…”

It sounds like Weinstein is referring to the constitutionally-mandated protection of religious liberty. This is the most common misrepresentation of the First Amendment from anti-religious groups like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which, by the way, is an incredibly ironic name for a group that is trying to suppress the religious freedoms of Americans.

What could be a better example of religious freedom than allowing the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom to select Bible verses of their choosing on their most valuable piece of identification? 

Fox News continued:

Soon after, each military branch then pulled or threatened to pull the trademark licenses that had been issued to Kenny Vaughan from Shields of Strength. The Army emailed him with the subject line, “Negative Press,” suggesting they were motivated by MRFF’s press release.

“You are not authorized to put biblical verses on your Army products,” Army Trademark Licensing Program director, Paul Jensen, wrote to Vaughan in August, according to a letter obtained by Fox News. “For example, Joshua 1:9. Please remove ALL biblical references from all of your Army products.”

Vaughan told “Fox & Friends” he was “speechless” especially after the military initially approached him with the idea.

First Liberty Institute, on behalf of Vaughan, sent a demand letter to the Army on Tuesday, calling on the branch to reinstate the trademark license for the faith-based initiative.

“Your directive that SoS remove all Biblical references from its Army-licensed products is unconstitutional and violates RFRA,” Mike Berry, chief of staff and director of military affairs for First Liberty wrote in the letter to Jensen.

Berry is completely right. It is unconstitutional to prohibit freedom of religion which includes expression of that religion. It seems as though the only religion that is ever targeted by these anti-religion groups is Christianity. When have you ever heard any group demanding that verses from the Qur’an be banned from anything?

“It’s insane. It’s incredibly selfish. All we do is provide a reminder of God’s word. No one has to do this,” Vaughan, who has produced more than 4 million dog tags with Scripture on them, told Fox News. According to Fox, “His organization has donated hundreds of thousands to Department of Defense units and individual service members.”

“Virtually every unit has contacted us and said, ‘Would you make us a tag with our unit on it?’ We’ve seen the fruit of the mission. Literally thousands of soldiers, airmen, marines, telling us with tears in their eyes how much it’s meant to them, and many times the old Star families to be in possession of the dog tag they wore,” he added. “I don’t understand it.”

It isn’t possible to understand acts without reason. It makes no sense to prohibit members of the military from wearing a reminder of scripture on their own personal bodies. 

Berry, a Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, laid into Weinstein over the decision.

“Just when I didn’t think Mikey Weinstein could stoop any lower, he pulled a stunt like that,” he told Fox News. “He’d rather take it away from them just to raise his own publicity than support our service members … that’s pretty cowardly and that’s cruel.”

Fox News reports:

Vaughan started making the dog tags after a friend put a Scripture verse on his skies and, he said, it gave him courage and strength. He said he thought if it helped him that much as an athlete, then how much more would it help soldiers on the battlefield.

He’s seen soldiers, who have to leave their Bible behind, carry it with them through the Shields of Strength, and, oftentimes, the soldiers would stand in line for hours just to get one.

“The love of Jesus changed my life forever. It’s the most valuable thing I have to offer anyone is God’s Word,” Vaughan concluded. “No one needs it more than a young man or woman fighting for our freedom and we’re going to fight for them.”

An Army spokesperson told Fox News in a statement: “The Army can confirm receipt of the letter. We are looking into the matter.”

Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the military who are fighting this important battle for the First Amendment rights they put their lives on the line to defend in an act of selfless love for their country. 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

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