The Texas Attorney General’s Office today joined with nine states to file an amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to correct a misinterpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental right and our nation’s armed forces should not have to compromise their right to religious exercise while serving our country,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “The failure of the Court of Criminal Appeals to recognize the applicability of RFRA jeopardizes Congress’ efforts to protect religious liberty. We hope the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will clarify the issue and confirm that RFRA protects our troops’ right to religious freedom.”
On Oct. 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces granted review in United States v. Sterling, the court martial of Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling, whose workplace allowed other service members to have personal items in their workspaces but who was punished for reposting a Bible verse at her desk. The lower courts ruled that RFRA did not apply because posting a Bible verse does not constitute religious exercise protected by that law.
Texas and nine states are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to reverse the misinterpretation of RFRA by recognizing that the challenged conduct is an “exercise of religion” under the law.