Press Release

Media Advisory: Court to hear military religious liberty case Will decide if military can punish service members for expressing faith

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Later this morning, the military’s top court will consider whether U.S. service members can be court-martialed for expressing their faith. Earlier in the case, a court ruled that only well-known religious beliefs enjoy legal protection and that religious speech seen as “divisive” can be broadly censored. The case arose when a Marine Lance Corporal was forced to remove the scriptural phrase “no weapon against me shall prosper” from her personal workstation even though co-workers were permitted to keep nonreligious personal messages on their desks.

Becket filed an amicus brief explaining the lower court’s ruling harms religious liberty, particularly for minority religions, and must be overturned. The brief was signed by a coalition of military veterans and military ministries from a variety of faith backgrounds—including Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Sikh, and Southern Baptist. Among them are the U.S.’s largest organization of Orthodox rabbis; the first Sikh soldier in a generation allowed to keep his turban and beard on active duty; and the ministries led by a recently retired U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains and senior veteran chaplains from the Army, Air Force, and Marines. The Lance Corporal is represented by the First Liberty Institute and Paul Clement of Bancroft PLLC.

Oral argument in United States v. Sterling

Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel of Becket
(available for comment immediately following the hearing)

Today, April 27, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. EST

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
450 E St NW, Washington, DC 20442

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket  attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at  or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).