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Jan-25-2014 19:13printcommentsVideo

Turban charging the U.S. Military

Includes the full Department of Defense news release...

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Sikh Doctor, U.S. Army Captain Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi

(SALEM) - New rules about uniform appearance could greatly impact the future look of the U.S. military. The Pentagon says members of the armed services can now seek waivers to wear religious clothing, engage in religious practices, and seek prayer time.

The new policy took effect Wednesday, and the waivers will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Defense Dept. officials say approval of the waiver will depend on where the service member is stationed. Also considered, is whether the change would affect military readiness or the mission.

Conservative Americans are reacting sharply to the news that turbans, beards, tattoos and other symbols of non Christian religious origin will be tolerated by the U.S. military.

FOX News, in the video below, has your typical anti-Muslim paranoia. One of them complains about how Wiccan people will be able to observe their religion too. What else is new? The right wing network's hosts and guests are practically spitting.

Taking a less paranoid approach, The Associated Press wrote, "Until now there has been no consistent policy across the military services to allow accommodations for religion. Now, for example, Jewish troops will be able to seek a waiver to wear a yarmulke, or Sikhs can seek waivers to wear a turban and grow a beard."

Personally, I think somebody needs to remind these media personalities that this country was founded on the basis of freedom of religion and those who disagree are standing against the very principle of what this whole country is about.

There are massive unaddressed problems in this country; NSA eavesdropping, drones killing civilians and eroding all popular support of the Afghan war, political efforts to aid jihadist rebels in Syria, feds providing guns to Mexican cartels, four million dollars in U.S. taxpayer money shipped to Israel every day... these issues threaten all of us and they are everywhere. Veterans are treated like garbage when then are done serving their country. I don't think a member of the military wearing a turban is going to upset the balance too much.

This is how it is done places like India; some members of the military wear turbans and some don't. Also remember that a turban does not represent any particular religion.

    Turbans are worn by people with multiple religious affiliations like Muslims, Sikhs, Rastafarians, and even a Christian church in Kenya known as the Akurinu. The turban has also been purely a cultural item in the past, but is now generally worn for religious reasons.

Also, nobody on FOX seems to know that the U.S. Navy has allowed beards at different times, including the time period when I served in the Marines, in the 1980's. Navy Corpsman with the Marines even wore beards while wearing Marine uniforms.

According to The Navy Department Library:

    From 1886 through 1947 the regulations are all identical:

    "The hair, beard and mustache shall be worn neatly trimmed. The face shall be kept clean-shaved, except that a mustache or beard and mustache, may be worn at discretion. No eccentricities in the manner of wearing the hair, beard, or mustache shall be allowed."

    Today the rule is:

    "The face shall be kept clean shaven, except when a mustache and/or beard is worn. The mustache and beard shall be kept short and neatly trimmed and no eccentricity in the manner of wearing these shall be permitted.

One Man Behind the Change

The Facebook page for Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Bronze Star Medal recipient, explains that he testified before the United States Commission on Civil Rights on Friday, May 31, about the right of Sikhs to serve in the US military without giving up their Sikh articles of faith. The United States Commission on Civil Rights set up a teleconference for Sikhs and members of the public to listen to Major Kalsi's testimony live.

The New York Times article, Army Allows a Sikh Doctor to Serve Wearing a Turban, explains that this U.S. Army doctor has been wearing his turban since 2009.

    The Army will make an exception to a decades-old rule and allow a Sikh doctor to serve without removing his turban and cutting his hair, an advocacy group said Friday.

The Tribune India, wrote of the change, in the article, Faith factor: US military eases regulations on turbans, beards:

    As the beard is a requirement, according to the Rehat Maryada, the current regulation, created a regulatory barrier that has kept Sikhs from serving in the US military. Prior to this change in regulation, two Sikhs who served in the US military were Col Arjinderpal Singh Sekhon and Col GB Singh. Currently, three Sikhs Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, Corporal Simranpreet Lamba are serving in US Army with hair and turban.

Sikh Coalition Cautions that Challenges Continue

The Sikh Coalition issued the following statement in response to new Pentagon rules governing religious liberty in the U.S. military:

    "The Sikh Coalition is deeply appreciative that the Pentagon established a formal process so that aspiring Sikh American Soldiers and other Soldiers of faith may request accommodation of their articles of faith. We are disappointed, however, that the presumptive ban on Sikh articles of faith remains intact.

    While the policy revisions announced today provide a framework through which Sikh Soldiers may seek religious accommodation, we caution that uniform rules barring Sikh service remain intact. To be clear, Sikh Americans must still go through a lengthy and uncertain administrative process before being approved or denied the opportunity to serve their country with their religiously-mandated turbans and beards. We will respectfully work with our Nation’s military leadership to improve these regulations and promote the rights that our brave Soldiers are working to protect."

    Since 2009, three Sikh Coalition clients—Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, and Corporal Simran Preet Singh Lamba—have received rare and historic accommodations to serve in the U.S. Army with their articles of faith intact.

    These American Soldiers have won awards and promotions and courageously proved that Sikhs can make great Soldiers without abandoning their faith. However, their historic accommodations came only through the expending of significant resources from the Sikh Coalition and our co-counsel at McDermott Will & Emery LLP over several years.

    The revised Pentagon policy appears to formalize the ad hoc process through which these three clients were granted individualized religious accommodations, while maintaining restrictive appearance regulations that effectively ban Sikh articles of faith.

    We will continue our respectful dialogue with military leadership to convey our clear message – the service of Sikh Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces is entirely consistent with military readiness, safety, and unit cohesion, and the presumptive ban on Sikh articles of faith must therefore end.

Finally, for the record, here is the news release carried on the State Dept. Website about the new changes in uniform appearance.

DOD Releases New Religious Accommodation Instruction

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2014 – The Defense Department today released a new instruction that details its updated policy on making religious accommodations requested by service members, Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen said today.

A DOD instruction implements a policy or prescribes the manner or plan of action used to carry out a policy, operate a program or activity, and assign responsibilities.

“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members,” Christensen said, “unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline.”

When a service member requests such an accommodation, he added, department officials balance the need of the service member against the need to accomplish the military mission. Such a request is denied only if an official determines that mission accomplishment needs outweigh the need of the service member, Christensen said.

Requests to accommodate religious practices will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the spokesman noted.

“Each request must be considered based on its unique facts, the nature of the requested religious accommodation, the effect of approval or denial on the service member's exercise of religion, and the effect of approval or denial on mission accomplishment, including unit cohesion,” he added.

Immediate commanders may resolve religious accommodation requests that don’t require a waiver of military department or service policies that address wearing of military uniforms and religious apparel, grooming, appearance or body-art standards.

Accommodation requests that require a waiver will be forwarded to the respective military department for determination.

Christensen said that factors used to determine if religious apparel interferes with military duties include whether the item:

-- Impairs the safe and effective operation of weapons, military equipment or machinery;

-- Poses a health or safety hazard to the service member wearing the religious apparel;

-- Interferes with the wear or function of special or protective clothing or equipment such as helmets, flak jackets, flight suits, camouflaged uniforms, protective masks, wet suits and crash and rescue equipment; or

-- Otherwise impairs the accomplishment of the military mission.

The spokesman said department officials believe the new instruction will enhance commanders' and supervisors' ability to promote the climate needed to maintain good order and discipline, and will reduce the instances and perception of discrimination toward those whose religious expressions are less familiar to the command.

“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,” Christensen said, “including the right to hold no beliefs.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinAFPS)



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Anonymous January 29, 2014 9:58 am (Pacific time)

Putting on a gas mask and getting a good seal is real tough with a beard. It's also easy for the enemy to dress in a disguise when there is a diversity of wardrobe. Obama and the other non-military serving Zionists are the ones making policy for our brave warriors. They also, 2/3 generations ago, did the same thing in Russia as it morphed into the Soviet Union and killed tens of millions. Ask these Zionists why they stopped the teaching of the USS LIBERT war crime in our schools claiming it was anti-Semite? And why Hollywood has not made a movie on this war crime. They made several films on Raid on Entebbe', so what is more relevant to Americans, the latter BS, or one on the USS LIBERTY? You may enjoy this military openness, but it is not what the military is about. You don't like the rules, then move on. Pretty soon, where you gonna go as the Zionists continue to set us up like they did in Russia?

I have friends who were aboard the Liberty, I was recently on a radio program about that.  BTW seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Anonymous January 28, 2014 12:12 pm (Pacific time)

I say let everything be okay to wear. Why even have uniforms or even be forced to follow orders...just peace out. Get some joy smoke and chill. Let China, Russia, or anyone who wants to come here and take over, let them do it. As long as we have food stamps and well-stocked stores, who needs farmers anyway? Let's get rid of all machines and industry and allow everyone to have unlimited funds to buy anything we want or live wherever. We do not need schools, why should we have to study or pay taxes, just love one another because we are all equal in everything, not just under the law. There are no radical people out there who want to destroy us, that's just made-up to keep us under the yoke of those who want power over us.

Yup, there sure is a connection between religious headgear and farmers, right. LOL It must be sad to have such a limited perspective. 

Jackson January 26, 2014 12:33 pm (Pacific time)

The American military should not be used by those who have no idea why we exist. To make some weak-knee joke about one's lack of knowledge about just what the "mission" is for our military quickly reflects the danger when amateurs are in decision-making responsibilities for the safety of America. Obama's Regime is quickly being exposed as a Marxist enemy, and will soon have an appropriate accounting. The author of this article has no concept of what he is talking about. I am Jewish, and do understand just how dangerous some Jews are...and frankly doubt even one of my Jewish brothers/sisters assigns any value who uses the term "cool Jews."

You, like the last guy, are delusional.

Anonymous January 26, 2014 10:50 am (Pacific time)

Most who have been officers or senior NCO's realize the importance of discipline and uniformity in our infantry, and other combat units. Those who engage in social experimentation for our military generally have never been in the military (and certainly not combat units), or were in some non-combatant unit. Please be appraised that approximately 50% of sexual assault cases in the military, the victim is male. As far as someone concerned about "radicals" acting out violently, there is a clear record of this happening.
The purpose of our military is to protect America, and that is best done by quickly eliminating any and all threats. Since the Korean War, the "PC" virus has grown like a cancer and has caused thousands of deaths because of this lack of focus to accommodate ignorant perspectives. Regarding the founding of this country, read the private papers of the "Founders," it was freedom of different denominations within Christianity. Once again, those who see no problem with not having uniformity and discipline do not understand the military role. It is a volunteer military at this time, and under Obama, a community organizer whose main focus was to create dissension among different groups, he has been peerless in doing that and growing his mob of useful idiots who at best can blame some news outfit that reports factual info and uses professionals in doing that. I would like to know exactly what military qualifications the writer of this article has? My guess is none, other than simply following orders as some low ranked private who never experienced the day to day slog of combat. Just like the moron Obama and the jews who control that piece of filth.

Oy vey, I am such a bad person for not being in combat day after day, and it is true that I like the cool Jews, I guess when the glass starts breaking I'll know it is you, accept my apology, LOL.  

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