A Sikh combat soldier has filed suit against the U.S. Army for forcing him to undergo special testing before granting him a religious accommodation for his beard and turban. Capt. Simratpal Singh, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a decorated veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, says that Army authorities ordered him to report for three days of helmet and gas mask testing.
Capt. Simratpal Singh will be temporarily allowed to wear a turban and short beard in accordance with his Sikh faith, Army leaders decided last December. Singh, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, is a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict and earned a Bronze Star.
“It is wonderful. I had been living a double life, wearing a turban only at home,” he told The New York Times. “My two worlds have finally come back together.” Singh had originally adhered to Army grooming standards but decided to request an accommodation so he could comply with his faith.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who spent 22 years in the U.S. Army before being forced into retirement amid a scandal, claims anyone who wants to serve in the armed forces but won’t say the words “so help me God” as part of the enlistment oath isn’t a real American.
“I proudly and honorably took the oath of office as a commissioned officer several times and also as a Member of Congress,” West said on his website in September. “That’s what Americans do.”
Let’s say you’re applying for a job. You would expect to be rated on your skills, work experience and abilities, education level and even your attitude.
What about your “spiritual fitness”?
Unless you’re applying to be the minister of a local church, it shouldn’t matter, right? What you believe (or don’t believe) about God would seem to have little bearing on your ability to work at a widget factory, do office work or sell cars.
Last week, Americans United urged Army officials to cancel an evangelistic event at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, we found out about this rather late. The complaint came in on Thursday, and “Rock The Fort” was scheduled for Saturday. AU’s Legal Department swung into gear with a strong letter to military officials, but it was not enough; they refused to cancel the event.