Marine Court-Martialed Over Bible Verse Won’t Back Down
A marine court-martialed after refusing to remove a Bible verse from her desk has been defending her right to show love for both her country and God ever since. The case made its way all the way to the Supreme Court. But unfortunately, the Supreme Court declined to hear the former Marine’s case.
The battle began back in 2013. Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling always found inspiration in the verse Isaiah 54:17:
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."
She decided to display a paraphrased version in her work station, hanging it in three different places to reflect the Holy Trinity.
Her supervisor objected, and ordered Monifa to take the Bible verse down. She refused, saying it was her First Amendment right to leave the verse up. The supervisor later tore it down, Monifa said. So, she replaced it and it was removed again.
Next, they court-martialed Monifa and charged her with refusing an order, failing to report for duty and lying about why she didn't wear the proper uniform. The court-martial resulted in a conviction, and Monifa walked away with a bad conduct discharge.
The court-martialed Marine refused to back down, though. Monifa turned to First Liberty for help, a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting religious freedom. And since then, she and her lawyers have been fighting to reverse the decision.
Supreme Court Deals A Blow
When appealing to the Supreme Court, there were seven amicus briefs — legal documents filed by experts in the subject matter who are not involved in the ongoing case –requesting Monifa’s case be heard. In Monifa’s case, the briefs submitted were from retired military generals, state attorney general and Congress members.
So, it was disappointing when the Supreme Court refused to hear the former Marine’s case.
First Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford responded by saying the decision “is going to affect the religious freedoms of all of those who serve us in uniform, and that really is a shame.”
"The military court's outrageous decision means federal judges and military officials can strip our service members of their constitutional rights just because they don't think someone's religious beliefs are important enough to be protected," he went on to say. "Our service members deserve better."
But neither First Liberty nor Monifa plan on giving up. Kelly says First Liberty will keep working to get Monifa’s case overturned.
"In fact it's going to really cause us to redouble our efforts," Kelly said.
Though it is not the outcome for which we all hoped, we applaud Monifa and her lawyers for standing up for faith in the face of such adversity. First Liberty says they will continue the fight for religious liberty in the armed forces through other matters and through legislative efforts. And we’ll be praying for their success!
h/t: Christian Headlines