First Liberty Institute Amends Lawsuit, Sues for Religious Protections for All Members of the Navy

group of Navy members sitting on bleachers

The First Liberty Institute (FLI) on Monday amended their lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to sue for religious protections for all members of the U.S. Navy.

The suit, which originally only included U.S. Navy SEALs, claims the Navy has been unwilling to grant religious exemptions to the coronavirus mandate handed down by President Joe Biden.

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Judge Suspends COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military Service Members Seeking Religious Exemption

The Navy cannot force service members with religious objections to COVID-19 vaccines to take them so long as the exemption process remains “by all accounts … theater,” a federal judge ruled Monday.

“Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in approving a preliminary injunction against the mandate as applied to the 35 service members who sued.

“Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees,” O’Connor said.

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Navy, Air Force Allegedly Issuing Blanket Denials of Religious Exemptions from COVID Vax Mandate

The Navy and Air Force are allegedly issuing predetermined blanket denials of requests for religious exemptions from the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, in violation of federal law and regulations.

Vice Admiral John Nowell, deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training, and education, created a 50-step standard operating procedure streamlining the denials of these requests, known as religious accommodation requests (RARs).

The military is required by law to evaluate RARs on an individual basis to ensure due process under the Fifth Amendment and protect service members’ First Amendment right to religious freedom.

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Navy Removes Two Top Commanders Citing ‘Loss of Confidence in Their Ability to Command’

The Navy has made the rare decision to remove two high-ranking officers from their posts – commanders of the littoral combat ship Montgomery – citing a “loss of confidence in their ability to command.”

The announcement Thursday by the military service provided no specific information about why Cmdr. Richard J. Zamberlan, the ship’s skipper, and Cmdr. Phillip Lundberg, the vessel’s executive officer, were relieved of their command.

However, two Navy officials told The New York Times, on the condition of anonymity, that Lundberg and Zamberlan’s removal resulted from their handling of a sexual harassment investigation.

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Arizona Gov. Ducey Fails to Join Governors Fighting Back Against Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine for Their National Guard

The Biden administration announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all branches of the military on August 25, which applies to members of the Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG). Although six governors are attempting to stop the mandate for their National Guards, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is not one of them. 

AZARNG has not begun discharging any soldiers yet, but intends to follow the lead of other branches of the military, which have. The Department of Defense declared that Army National Guard and Reserve members have until June 30 to receive their shots.

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Commentary: Dogma, Not Facts, Risks the Navy’s Readiness to Defend the Nation

Airplanes in the air above Navy ships

After the 2020 summer of riots, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations stood up Task Force One Navy (TF1N) on July 1, 2020. After a six-month effort, the final 142-page report was submitted on January 28, 2021 Its two operating assumptions are, first, that the Navy, as an institution, is systemically racist, and, second, that “Mission readiness is stronger when diverse strengths are used and differing perspectives are applied.” Notwithstanding several key military principles—such as unit cohesion, strict discipline across the chain of command, and, well, uniforms—the Navy is now ideologically committed to the mantra that “diversity is strength.”

Not surprisingly, considering the key entering assumptions, the task force report identified problems with Navy systems, climate, and culture; and submitted almost 60 recommendations aligned with four lines of inquiry: Recruiting, Talent Management/Retention, Professional Development, and Innovation and STEM (as well as a fifth line for miscellaneous recommendations).

One should be skeptical, however, about the entire exercise and the recommendations that flow from it. It inaccurately depicts the proud institution of the United States Navy as systemically racist—a slander that has more potential to undermine morale, good order, discipline, and military effectiveness than any geostrategic adversary. 

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Commentary: The Navy’s New Emphasis on ‘Diversity’ Puts the Nation at Risk

group of Navy members sitting on bleachers

After the 2020 summer of riots, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations stood up Task Force One Navy (TF1N) on July 1, 2020. After a six-month effort, the final 142-page report was submitted on January 28, 2021 Its two operating assumptions are, first, that the Navy, as an institution, is systemically racist, and, second, that “Mission readiness is stronger when diverse strengths are used and differing perspectives are applied.” Notwithstanding several key military principles—such as unit cohesion, strict discipline across the chain of command, and, well, uniforms—the Navy is now ideologically committed to the mantra that “diversity is strength.”

Not surprisingly, considering the key entering assumptions, the task force report identified problems with Navy systems, climate, and culture; and submitted almost 60 recommendations aligned with four lines of inquiry: Recruiting, Talent Management/Retention, Professional Development, and Innovation and STEM (as well as a fifth line for miscellaneous recommendations).

One should be skeptical, however, about the entire exercise and the recommendations that flow from it. It inaccurately depicts the proud institution of the United States Navy as systemically racist—a slander that has more potential to undermine morale, good order, discipline, and military effectiveness than any geostrategic adversary. 

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Marine Who Publicly Criticized the U.S. Afghanistan Withdrawal will be Released from the Brig

The U.S. Marine who posted public criticism on social media of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will be released from the brig Tuesday pending a trial by court martial, Capt. Sam Stephenson, Training and Education Command spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is being released from confinement today, Oct. 5, 2021, as a result of a mutual agreement between Lt. Col. Scheller, his Defense counsel, and the Commanding General, Training Command,” Stephenson said in a statement. “No additional details regarding the agreement may be released at this time.”

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Wisconsin Rep. Gallagher Opposes Using Photos in Navy Promotion Decisions to Enhance Diversity

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-08-WI) wrote a letter to Vice Admiral John Nowell opposing the use of photographs when making decisions about promotions in the Navy. Gallagher and five other members of Congress wrote the letter because he believes that basing a decision about giving a naval officer a promotion on their headshot is not a good criteria.

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Official Navy Reading List Includes ‘Anti-Racism’ Books

The United States Navy’s official curriculum is set to include new books on “anti-racism” and “gender politics” that will further push the message of social justice in America’s military ranks, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Of the 37 books included in the full reading list, 16 books are listed under the category of “personal and leadership development.” Of these 16, four of them deal directly with social justice; among the titles are How to be an Anti-Racist, The New Jim Crow, and Sexual Minorities and Politics. These four stand out in particular against the other 33, which focus on the more traditional subjects such as military strategy and the history of the Navy.

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Trump Promises Navy, DOD Will ‘Not be Cancelling’ Contract with Catholic Priests

President Donald Trump promised Wednesday that neither the Navy nor the Department of Defense will cancel contracts with Catholic priests allowing serving military members.

“The United States Navy, or the Department of Defense, will NOT be cancelling its contract with Catholic Priests who serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill,” the president tweeted Wednesday morning, tagging the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “This will no longer be even a point of discussion!”

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Navy Ends Catholic Masses on San Diego-Area Bases to Cut Costs

The U.S. Navy has reportedly ended Catholic church services on San Diego-area bases for cost purposes, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The Navy declined to renew contracts with priests who were contracted to assist the Chaplain Corps, an active-duty group containing few Catholic clergy members, according to a Tribune report on Saturday. The new changes are from a national realignment announced in August.

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Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe Weighs in on the Navy’s Demand that Personnel Cease Attendance of Religious Services

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil McCabe to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, McCabe talked about the Navy’s recent call for military personnel to sign a waiver acknowledging that they will not attend indoor religious services. He later discussed whether this was an infringement on the First Amendment rights and how COVID-19 is being used as a tool by those that oppose the Catholic religion.

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Military’s Top Catholic Prelate: Navy’s Indoor Religious Services Ban ‘Odious’

The leader of the Archdiocese for the Military Services compared the Navy’s banning sailors from attending religious services to the treatment of the Catholics in 17th century Japan depicted in the movie “Silence.”

“The persecution was systematic and destined to eradicate the faith from the islands,” wrote Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who has led the Catholic military chaplaincy and its programs since 2008, in a public letter posted Sunday.

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Joe Robertson Was Imprisoned for Digging Ponds on His Montana Land, and Now His Widow Continues the Fight

by Kevin Mooney   The name of a Navy veteran may be cleared after he was convicted, fined, and imprisoned for digging ponds in a wooded area near his Montana home, to supply water in case of fire. The Supreme Court has vacated a lower court ruling against Joe Robertson,…

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Blackburn, Alexander File Resolution to Honor the Late Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy’s First Female Pilot

U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have introduced a resolution to honor the late Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the Navy’s first female fighter pilot. S. Res. 61 was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 7. The resolution’s tracking information is available online here. Mariner was buried on…

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Exclusive: Kyle Schmid on ‘Six’: ‘We Try to Provoke the Audience Emotionally’

SIX tv show

“Six” is a unique television program. The military drama not only sheds light on Navy SEALs and the brave work they do — it’s enlightened by the experiences of actual veterans. The creators are the father-son duo of William Broyles Jr. and Danny Broyles. William Broyles is a Vietnam veteran;…

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Tammy Bruce Commentary: Army Puts Its Troops at Risk by Opening the Ranks to Those with Mental Health Issues

The Army very quietly announced in August that it will lift a ban on waivers allowing people with a history of mental health issues, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, to join their ranks. Even in normal times this should concern you greatly, let alone when the world appears…

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