Religious Accommodation for Military Members in the Twenty-First Century
Air War College Maxwell AFB United States
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This paper assesses the Air Forces current policy on religious accommodation and then develops a descriptive alternative to the current policy that addresses shortfalls uncovered in the current policy. Changes in society, laws, and emerging religious trends catalyzed by the military services unique culture have created an ambiguous social context regarding the free exercise of religion in the United States Air Force. Members and leaders lack sufficient standards by which they can test the benefits of the free expression of faith against a set of identified compelling governmental interests. The lack of definite guidance unnecessarily restricts the constitutional guaranteed free exercise of religion and denies leaders the ability to leverage the pre-existing religious beliefs of members to the mutual benefit of the individual and the organization.