Marine court-martialed for having Bible verse on desk
A Marine who was court-martialed after refusing to take biblical verses down from her desk has lost her federal appeal, in a decision her representative called 'outrageous'.
Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling lost a 2014 court-martial at her base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, based in part on her refusal to remove the verses.
She challenged that action but was told Wednesday that she had lost the case after it was ruled that the order was not a 'substantial burden' on her First Amendment rights, Fox News reported.
We reject the argument that every interference with a religiously motivated act constitutes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion,' said the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the highest military court, in a 4-1 decision.
'In this case, the record does not clearly address whether (Sterling's) conduct was based on a "sincerely held religious belief" or motivated by animosity toward her chain of command,' it added.
'Military orders are presumed to be lawful and are disobeyed at the subordinate’s peril.'
'This is absolutely outrageous,' Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, which represented Sterling.