The commanding officer at Fort Benning Army Base has been asked to follow federal law and provide an exemption for soldiers who don’t want to participate in a new “trangender training” program.
The non-profit legal group Liberty Counsel sent a letter Friday to Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley based on complaints from a number of service members at the Columbus, Georgia, base.
One year ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced transgender individuals would be allowed to openly serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. As a result, the Pentagon directed commanders to conduct face-to-face “transgender awareness” training for all military members and civilians who supervise military personnel.
Liberty Counsel’s letter explains the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Department of Defense Instructions offer exemptions from “so-called ‘transgender’ directives which violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and conscience.”
The letter says RFRA and DOD instructions require the Army to provide religious accommodation and exemption from compliance with “transgender directives” which “violate rights of conscience or religious beliefs, when such exemption has no effect on the accomplishment of the Army’s actual mission.”
Liberty Counsel contends transgender “training” mostly “requires personnel to accept false statements about the nature of sex, gender, biology and morality.”
“This directive includes requiring officers to approve medically unnecessary surgeries and harmful, unproven hormone replacement, all at taxpayer expense; addressing gender-confused officers and soldiers ‘identifying’ as the opposite sex by false gender pronouns and false gender titles; and requiring female soldiers (and vice versa) to sleep, shower and perform private bodily functions in the presence of the opposite biological sex.”
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the military “must respect the religious free exercise rights of service members and this ‘transgender’ directive may not even qualify as a ‘lawful order’ under DOD regulations.”
“The duty of military officers is to appropriately lead and prepare their personnel to serve and protect. This ‘transgender’ directive undermines unit cohesion and preparedness. We also call upon Secretary of Defense Mattis to put an end to this Obama-inspired social engineering,” he said.