Pentagon has decided to ease its uniform rules to allow religious wear including turbans, skullcaps, beards and tattoos, officials have said.
Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Wiccan soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen can now request exemptions to strict military uniform and grooming policies.
Requests will be evaluated individually and can be denied if they hinder military readiness.
Previously, at least three Sikhs had won specific accommodation.
Pentagon has decided to ease its uniform rules to allow religious wear including turbans, skullcaps, beards and tattoos
Service members’ requests for a religious accommodation will be weighed on a case-by-case basis to ensure they do not impact “mission accomplishment, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline”.
And appeals to be allowed to wear beards or special apparel, for example, may be denied if they hinder the safe operation of weapons or military equipment, such as helmets or protective masks.
An accommodation will only apply to the service member’s current assignment, requiring him or her to obtain new exemptions with every transfer.
The new policy, in effect on Wednesday, will extend to all religions recognized by the US military across all branches.
The US military counts nearly 3,700 Muslims and 1,500 Wiccans among its ranks, according to statistics reported by NBC News, but it remains unclear how many will apply for dispensations.
Duck Dynasty stars have issued a statement regarding the indefinite suspension of family patriarch Phil Robertson, who was pulled from the A&E reality show on Wednesday after making anti-gay comments in a GQ magazine interview.
In the statement, posted on the Duck Commander website, the Robertson family says that it “cannot imagine” going forward with the show if Phil isn’t aboard, and that it’s “in discussions” with A&E Networks to determine what his suspension means for the future of the show.
The family asserted that Phil Robertson “would never incite or encourage hate” and that they were “disappointed” in the suspension.
The Robertson family cannot imagine going forward with Duck Dynasty reality show if Phil isn’t aboard
They also said that Duck Commander’s expression of his faith is his “constitutionally protected right.”
The statement read: “We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: <<Love the Lord your God with all your heart>> and <<Love your neighbor as yourself>>. Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of <<Duck Dynasty>>. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.”
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Duck Dynasty star Si Robertson recently spoke to Fox 411 in an interview about his faith.
Si Robertson, like all the other members of his Christian family, spoke openly about his faith.
“That’s what got me through 65 years of life. My belief in God and what He’s done for us and what He will do for us. That’s a lot of the problems now. Look a lot of people don’t believe there’s evil. If there’s good in this world, then you’re being intellectually dishonest, if you believe there’s a good power you’ve also got to believe there’s an evil power too. There are physical laws that are in place. We’ve got the physical world we see but there’s a microscopic world that you have to have special stuff to see, just because you don’t see it with your naked eye doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
Si Robertson talked about his wife’s difficulty in conceiving, saying that he believes his two children were miracles from God
In the interview, Uncle Si Robertson also talked about his wife’s difficulty in conceiving, saying that he believes his two children were miracles from God.
“She went to all the specialists and they all said, <<You’ll never have kids>>. I said, <<Don’t worry about it>>. She said, <<Yeah but I know you love ’em so I’m not going to marry you>>. I said, <<Hey, don’t worry about that. The doctors don’t have the final word. I believe in a higher power>>, and I’ve got what you call two miracle babies, my daughter and my son and they gave me four grandsons a piece.”
Si Robertson, 65, has been married to his wife Christine for 43 years. He also served in the military for 25 years before joining the Duck Commander business.
Si Robertson’s job in his family’s duck-call manufacturing business is to fashion the reeds that are inserted in every patented duck call.