An atheist-minded activist has launched a legal threat against a Marine Corps base in Hawaii, saying the commander needs to tear down a decade-old sign that says “God bless the military” or else face the fury of his organization.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation contacted Col. Sean Kileen to demand the sign’s removal, Fox News. The message, which has stood in plain view on base property since shortly after September 11, 2001, reads: “God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them.”
The Marine Corps Times reported the atheist group wants the sign to be relocated to the base chapel.
“This sign is a brazen violation of the No Establishment clause of the Constitution, as it sends the clear message that your installation gives preference to those who hold religious beliefs over those who do not, and those who prefer a monotheistic, intervening god over other deities or theologies,” the letter from MRFF aide Blake Page to Kileen read, the Blaze reported. “We recognize the value that religious activity brings to the lives of many; however, this sign is not in keeping with the time, place and manner restrictions required by law [or] for any military commander to bolster religious principles through the official authority given to their rank and position.”
Mikey Weinstein, president of the MRFF, said he launched the protest of the sign at the quiet request of 21 Marines who were reluctant, out of fear of retribution, to complain to superiors.
“When [the sign] is not on chapel grounds, it is divisive,” Weinstein said, the Blaze reported. “IT is elevating the concept of one faith over no faith, which the Supreme Court has made very clear is wrong, and so we have asked the commander … to move it to the chapel grounds or take it off the installation altogether.”
The Star Advertiser reported the base was looking into the complaint.
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Weinstein also said if the base let that sign stand, it would have to also allow to stand signs that read: “There is no God to bless our military, their families and the civilians who work with them.”