AFN reported this week that the preliminary injunction granted by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew McFarland protects approximately a dozen officers, and also airmen and reservists. Most of them are stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, located near Dayton, Ohio.
The plaintiffs are accusing the Air Force of allowing medical and administrative exemptions, but only a few for religious objections, and the judge’s order bars the Air Force from punishing the objectors while their lawsuit moves forward.
Reacting to the judge’s ruling, former military chaplain Dr. Gordon Klingenschmitt says religious freedom is a “winning argument” in the courts despite the push from Democrats, including the mandate-demanding commander in chief in the White House.
Klingenschmitt, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, clashed with the Pentagon over religious liberty and hence he eventually formed the Pray in Jesus Name project.
“Unless you rely strongly upon a religious freedom argument,” he tells AFN, “it's an uphill battle because Republicans are not in power right now.”
Mat Staver, who leads Liberty Counsel, is representing numerous members of the armed forces in lawsuits that are demanding religious exemptions.
“Every one of these cases continues to advance the cause,” Staver insists, “and that is what we want to do is get protection, for every person in all the branches of the military, who have submitted religious accommodation requests.”
There are currently tens of thousands of military members, he says, who are waiting for the courts to grant protective orders that recognize their religious rights.