Senate Passage of Defense Authorization Act a Victory for Military Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tonight, the U.S. Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a religious freedom amendment authored by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) that protects the right of service members not only to hold religious beliefs but to act on them and freely practice those beliefs. The House of Representatives also adopted the amendment to address growing religious hostility within the military. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement: "I commend the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress for protecting the right of service members to freely practice and express their faith. Congress acted appropriately after investigating numerous incidents involving service members who have had their careers threatened, and harassed simply for practicing their faith in a real and tangible way. The religious liberty violations have grown so frequent in recent years leading many service members to report being too fearful to share their faith. The problems have even extended up the chain of command as recounted by Rear Admiral William Lee who was told by military lawyers not to give a Bible to a soldier who had attempted suicide. "Defending America's freedom shouldn't mean surrendering theirs, especially given that the Constitution they have sworn to uphold guarantees religious liberty as all Americans' 'first freedom. We commend Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) U.S. Reps. John Fleming (R-LA), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and others who have worked so hard to defend the religious liberties of Americas men and women in uniform, concluded Perkins. Last July, FRC released a new report at a press conference documenting incidents of hostility toward religious expression in the military. Additionally the coalition launched a new website,, to support the religious liberties of America's men and women in uniform. -30-