Chaplains spurned by SCOTUS, DOD will continue to push for religious liberty

Chaplains spurned by SCOTUS, DOD will continue to push for religious liberty

Chaplains spurned by SCOTUS, DOD will continue to push for religious liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court and Department of Defense continue to ignore the religious freedom of the country's service members – and chaplains aren't being excluded from the assault on their sincerely held beliefs.

The Supreme Court announced its decision on April 29 to deny the petition by 38 military chaplains to reinstate Alvarado v. Austin. The court refused to stay, or pause, the policies that caused unfair retaliation by the Department of Defense (DOD) for making religious exemption requests.

American Family News spoke to retired Vietnam War veteran and lead attorney Arthur Schulcz, who admits he is "incredibly disappointed" in the Supreme Court's decision to not take on the case.

Despite what he calls the high court's "unconscionable denial of our petition," he vows to continue to seek an effective way to restore the chaplains' careers. One option, he explains, is "a new case can be started to seek declaratory, injunctive and remedial relief for the career-ending injuries resulting from the Armed Services' retaliation for filing religious accommodation requests."

While the COVID-19 military vaccine mandate is said to have been rescinded in January 2023, Schulcz argues that isn't true. For example, he discloses that some of the chaplains failed selection for promotion for filing their religious accommodation requests – and argues that "adverse actions like this must be removed."

"A true rescission would have restored the chaplain plaintiffs to their status quo before the mandate was issued," he tells AFN. "And that cannot happen until the Department of Defense makes their 'bad paper' good."

"Since the onset of the vaccine mandate, chaplains have been asked to recant their conscience or suffer the consequences." (Arthur Schulcz, in an earlier interview with AFN)

In the meantime, Schulcz and his team are looking for other chaplains who were subject to similar retaliatory actions by the Department of Defense for taking a religious objection to the COVID-19 shot. "Knowing the numbers is important because that may allow us to use subclasses or other strategies," he adds.

"It will also help us in our efforts to get Congress involved to address DOD's continuing hostility and retaliation, and the Judiciary's failure to 'ensure the blessings of liberty' offered by the U.S. Constitution."

Schulcz refuses to give up and vows to continue to "pursue justice for our chaplains and confront DOD's overt religious hostility, bigotry and deception."

Those chaplains, he notes, have fulfilled their duties to their God and to the Constitution. "They should not be punished for doing what is right – nor should DOD be excused for its gross suppression of religious liberty," Schulcz concludes.