The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the right of Americans to pray before public meetings. The leader of the nationwide military chaplains group says that federal courts should no longer have to assess when a religious activity might make someone feel uncomfortable.
"Our brief makes the point that a military chaplain, just like a chaplain in a town council meeting, cannot fulfill his or her duties with the federal courts looking over one shoulder and a hypothetical observer looking over the other to assess when a religious activity may make an observer feel like an outsider," said CH (COL) Ron Crews, executive director for CARL.
The religious liberties case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, provides the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to "affirm America's long-standing practice of opening public meetings with prayer," the alliance stated on Tuesday.
"We are calling for the Supreme Court to affirm public prayer, which is rooted in our nation's history and tradition, and to allow chaplains and others to continue to pray in public meetings, just as our founding fathers sought to ensure," said Crews. "Our military chaplaincy provides an elegant model, created by the Founders and upheld by the courts, of a respectful accommodation of religious belief--a model whose principles can and should be applied to legislative prayer."
Chaplains in the military have been the target of recent attacks in so-called separation of church and state issues from atheist groups, and in some cases, from officers within the branches themselves.
Recently, an Air Force chaplain's assistant said she was accused of creating a "hostile and antagonistic" environment after posting on her personal Facebook page that homosexuality a sin, according to Fox News.
The chaplain's assistant said her commander ordered her to either remove the Facebook message or face a reduction in rank and pay. She asked not to be identified.
"I haven't taken it down and I won't take it down," she told Fox News. "It is frustrating that people are trying to silence me – for something that I believe in. We fight for the freedom that I can't enjoy right now. That's not right."
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is an organization of chaplain endorsers, the faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains. The endorsers in the Chaplain Alliance speak for more than 2,000 chaplains serving the armed forces, according to the organization.