A civil rights watchdog group is crying foul over a “God bless the military” sign at a Hawaii Marine Corps base, claiming the display violates the U.S. Constitution.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent a message to Marine Corps Base Hawaii commanding officer Col. Sean C. Killeen asking that the sign – which says “God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them” – be moved to the chapel grounds or removed from the base.
The nonprofit advocacy group alleges that the sign is a “brazen violation” of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the government from promoting one religion over another.
“MCBH will exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with existing regulations and law, including the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Capt. Tim Irish, spokesman for the base, said in a statement.
Established in 2006, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) describes itself as “a watchdog group” that is “dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled …” The organization’s primary objective is to eradicate the religious bias and “coercion” that it deems prevalent among high-ranking Christian members of the U.S. military. Toward that end, MRFF functions as “a clearinghouse for violations reported by military and civilian personnel,” offering “complete anonymity” to all complainants.
“Only someone with a great misunderstanding of the First Amendment or an axe to grind against religion would claim that such a slogan poses a threat or in any way unconstitutional,” Chaplain Ron Crews said. “The real threat is posed by those who want to whitewash any reference to God from public discourse — even ones as innocuous and uplifting as this one.”
“‘God bless our military’ is a slogan little different than the official national motto, ‘In God we trust,’ that appears so publicly on our money, and the courts have repeatedly upheld it,” Crews said. “From the founding of our country, every president, including President Obama, has called on God to bless America.”
Attention: Is it not a call for alarm when some fly by night organization operating out of New Mexico seeks to run down our own military?