Family Research Council Remains Hopeful in Pivotal Military Religious Freedom Case

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President and former Delta Force commander, and Travis Weber, Esq., Director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, a former naval aviator and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, attended oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in the case of United States v. Sterling. The issue being considered in this case is religious freedom and expression for military servicemen. A decision in the case is expected later this summer.

Immediately after the hearing, Lt. Gen. Boykin commented:

“The Sterling case will set a precedent in my view: will RFRA be respected in the military or not? Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling’s appeal that was heard today may help determine the future First Amendment climate in the entire military. Sterling was denied her religious liberties, and now the appellate process will determine whether that will be the new norm or whether those constitutional rights will be upheld.”

Weber also commented:

“After hearing oral argument, I remain hopeful that the court will see the clear RFRA claim in this case. Upon questioning from the judges this morning, the government expressly admitted the obvious - that RFRA applies to the military. While the government tried to shift attention away from RFRA because a straightforward RFRA analysis is harmful to its case, we believe it remains obvious that the military knew religious exercise was at play here, and substantially burdened this exercise by court martialing the service member engaging in that religious exercise. A win for the appellant in this case is a win for both religious exercise and the readiness of our military as a whole, for our armed forces can only be strengthened as their individual members draw upon faith to face hardship and danger in battle.”

To review the amicus brief filed by General Boykin and other retired general officers, please see:

To review Travis Weber’s testimony before the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee, please see: