News / USA

US Military to Allow Troops to Outwardly Display Religious Beliefs

FILE - U.S. Marines pray before the arrival of President Barack Obama at Marine Corps Base-Camp Pendleton in California, August 7, 2013.
FILE - U.S. Marines pray before the arrival of President Barack Obama at Marine Corps Base-Camp Pendleton in California, August 7, 2013.
VOA News
The U.S. military says its troops can now outwardly display their religious beliefs, such as growing beards or wearing a turban, as long as it does not impair the country's defense mission.

Until now, the Defense Department has not had a consistent policy on religious accommodations. But under the new policy, the Pentagon said military personnel can seek individual waivers to wear religious clothing, seek prayer time or engage in religious practice.

A military spokesman said the religious requests would be granted unless it would have "an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline." The Pentagon said that "expression of sincerely held beliefs" would not be used for "adverse personnel action" against any military service personnel.

Under the new rules, Jewish troops will be able to seek a waiver to wear a yarmulke, and Sikhs could request to wear a turban and grow a beard. Others could ask for specific times to pray, ask that they be allowed to carry prayer beads or various religious symbols or wear religious body art.

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Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 24, 2014 1:18 AM
Any where in the world military men and women should display high standard of professionalism not simple of religious beliefs.

What make us all idiots and fanatics are religious beliefs.

by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
January 23, 2014 11:55 PM
The Battle of Saragarhi was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September 1897 between twenty-one Sikhs of the the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment of British India, defending an army post, and 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen. 36th Sikhs was led by Havildar Ishar Singh. They all chose to fight to the death. It is considered by some military historians as one of history's great last-stands. Sikh military personnel and Sikh civilians commemorate the battle every year on 12 September, as Saragarhi Day as the battle was giving the honor of a regimental holiday.

Colonel Haughton, was the last Sikh defender. He is stated to have killed 20 Afghans, the Pashtuns having to set fire to the post to kill him. As he was dying he was said to have yelled repeatedly the Sikh battle-cry "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal" (Shout Aloud in Ecstasy! True is the Great Timeless One). "Akal," meaning Immortal, beyond death, the Supreme Creator God unbound by time and non-temporal.

The US military listens closely for many reasons.

This was an extremely difficult call for leadership to make on the behalf of the Sikh community. The legendary warrior class of the Sikhs has an extremely high standard to follow set by warriors like Commander Haughton that has won them many a quiet supporter. This is just one step in the long push to victory. Congratulations.

by: ali baba from: new york
January 23, 2014 6:37 PM
this is a shameful news. we encourage Muslim to have their bears and display the picture of Osama bin laden as a hero. the American is losing its traditional and it is sad .even in Egypt ,the military and police prohibit solders to have a bears.. but the liberal democrat want to do so
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
January 23, 2014 10:24 PM
what about thousand who were killed in Iraq because the Muslim wave el jihad against them . did you forget the marine bodies in Falagua and the terrorist group make a party about killing them . bear is the symbol of fanatic . in Egypt ,they know that those have bears are belong the extremist Muslim. you have to know the difference between religious and fanatic. Muslim fanatic has waved war against the American .they called a holy war. they called war against infidel and American commander allow to have a bear .bear a symbol of haltered. . I will give another example. the major doctor who killed 15 soldiers. we allow them to stay in army We allow the invisible virus that damage the whole body.
In Response

by: I actually served from: Idaho
January 23, 2014 9:49 PM
Ever participate in the vietnam war? Soldiers, marines and sailors wore their religious medals along with peace buttons, love beads and many other non-authorized devices. No one got killed from reflections off these. Also, recon personnel took everything off before missions except their dog tags. Which by the way were shiny metal. But not being dumb military personnel, boot polish was used to darken them.
As far as beards go. The Navy is allowed to wear them at the commanding officers discretion. Take a look at the vaunted SEAL's. You will see many with beards. These arguments against the permission for religious icons-beards-longer hair are weak at best.
Navy-Marine Corp medical corpsman

by: Srg. Mayo from: USMC
January 23, 2014 6:23 PM
watching America disintegrate... first Iran... than this abomination...

by: Tony Strange from: Savannah Ga
January 23, 2014 4:28 PM
while in the service of the United States men and women should respect the rules that they are enlisted by. These rules are in place for a reason. if in a combat situation, reflection from a piece of plastic glass or other object could prove the downfall of an entire unit. long hair or long hair could prove to be in extreme hazard for the individual or others in his group. this selfishness could prove fatal for entire members of the unit.

by: DODO from: ABUJA
January 23, 2014 2:50 PM
A loud applause to the US for this thoughtful spiritual turn around. Every individual be it soldier, doctor, scientist, writer and even the two word sided politicians need to be closer to God in their everyday affairs. Religion bring us more closer to mortality and makes every human being comprehend that good always win over evil, and importantly make individual have respect for other peoples faiths.

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