Update: Navy revises order that banned sailors from indoor religious service

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of U.S. Military Services, celebrates Mass with U.S. and Italian service members deployed to Nigerien Air Base 101 in Niamey, Niger, Nov. 3, 2019. (Courtesy Photo)

It turns out the U.S. Navy is not entitled to revoke the Constitutional rights of its sailors. Who knew?

The Navy recently “updated” its coronavirus restrictions after chaplains and a law firm specializing in religious liberty cases complained that service members were being unlawfully barred from attending indoor worship services.

Now, it seems, sailors are still barred from indoor religious services … except when they’re not.

FOX News was told by a Navy spokesman that conditions still “prohibit Sailors from attending off-base indoor religious services, and remain necessary given existing medical information about the current rise in COVID-19 cases in certain locations throughout the country.”

However, if conditions are met locally, as they are by several Navy installations across the country, “Sailors are not prohibited from attending off-base indoor religious services,” the spokesman said.

“The Navy works to support every Sailor’s religious practices to the broadest extent possible within the bounds of military readiness, health, and safety,” said the spokesman. “These provisions, among others outlined in the original message, are essential to safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of our service members and ensuring the Navy’s operational readiness.”

Mike Berry, the First Liberty Institute attorney working on the case, expressed assurance that the Navy would do the right thing in light of President Trump’s executive actions.

“Under the leadership of Commander in Chief Trump, we are confident the Navy will follow the President’s executive order on religious liberty in support of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces,” Berry told FOX News.


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