Military relaxes rules on religious apparel, facial hair

Military relaxes rules on religious apparel, facial hair

Posted: Updated:
By FOX NEWS -

The Pentagon on Wednesday relaxed its rules governing the religious apparel and facial hair that troops can wear or maintain while in uniform, permitting in some cases tattoos, body piercings and other religious items. The Defense Department issued the changes via a directive Wednesday afternoon. As part of the military's changing approach to making religious accommodations, the new policy will allow service members to sport different kinds of religious garb and hairstyles so long as they don't have an "adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline."

The changes create several new categories, besides clothing, of religion-based features that can be displayed by troops. These now include facial hair, such as beards, and religious tattoos and piercings.

Immediate commanders will be allowed to grant accommodations to service members in some cases; in others, these items will have to be approved at a higher level.

The Pentagon stressed that religious apparel that "impairs" the safe operation of weapons, poses a safety hazard to others, or interferes with special equipment like helmets and flak jackets will not be permitted.

"By promulgating this new instruction, we believe that it will enhance commanders' and supervisors' ability to promote the climate necessary to maintain good order and discipline, and would reduce both the instances and perception of discrimination among those whose religious expressions are less familiar to the command," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said.

"The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the Military Services to observe the tenets of their respective religions and the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, including the right to hold no beliefs."

The changes come after a Sikh American complained that fellow Sikhs should be able to wear a turban or maintain a beard while in uniform.

Read more

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:05:27 GMT
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
  • Girl fights to bring 22-year-old prom date

    Girl fights to bring 22-year-old prom date

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:50:19 GMT
    A Connecticut teenager is appealing to her local Board of Education after school officials rejected her request to bring her 21-year-old boyfriend to her prom.
    A Connecticut teenager is appealing to her local Board of Education after school officials rejected her request to bring her 21-year-old boyfriend to her prom.
  • Man charged in theft of woman's dog on first date

    Man charged in theft of woman's dog on first date

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:47 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:47:04 GMT
    A man who allegedly stole a woman's Yorkshire Terrier and flat-screen TV during their first date has been charged with two counts of theft.
    A man who allegedly stole a woman's Yorkshire Terrier and flat-screen TV during their first date has been charged with two counts of theft.
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices