Republican lawmakers are fighting for increased religious freedom in the U.S. military. The proposed 2014 National Defense Authorization Act would expand protections from religious beliefs of service members and chaplains to also include actions and speech.
The amendment is sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-La., and specifies in the military spending bill that beliefs, actions and speech would be accommodated, "except in cases of military necessity."
The news comes on the heels of a Family Research Council report that includes an incident where an Air Force member allegedly was asked to remove a Bible from his desk.
The council also has created the Restore Military Religious Freedom group, which offers information on legal assistance to military members concerned about their religious liberties.
A statement on the site reads: "The history of religious expression in American military life dates back to the Revolutionary War. For over 200 years our servicemen and women have lived their faith in service to their country, often making the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen an increase in hostility to religious expression in the military."
Others have publicly called the amendment unconstitutional, including Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Opponents also worry that the change would affect relationships among the ranks, and create more conflict.