ACLJ Continues to Seek Answers Surrounding the Decision by the Army (and the Marines) to Ban Bible Verses on Military Dog Tags That Include Service Logos
We recently told you about the reported United States Marine Corps (“USMC”) decision to pull the license of Shields of Strength (“SoS”) in response to one organization’s erroneous complaint. The anti-Christian organization demanded that the USMC “immediately revoke and cancel the current approval for ‘Shields of Strength’ to continue using the official USMC emblem on any and/or all of its religious items for sale.”
In response to this ridiculous complaint and the USMC’s decision to comply, we submitted a FOIA request to the USMC to get answers. As we pointed out in our initial update, SoS is an organization worth fighting for as it supports our troops in a powerful way.
Not surprisingly, the same anti-Christian organization sent a similar threatening complaint to the Army Trademark Licensing Program Director. Once again, the organization demanded that the Army immediately “cease and desist from [allowing use of] the official Army logo on [SoS] Christian religious proselytizing sales products. . . .”
And similar to the USMC’s response, the Army, according to reports, caved to the organization. In fact, according to reports, on August 12, 2019, the Army Trademark Licensing Program Director sent the following email to Mr. Vaughan, founder of SoS: “You are not authorized to put biblical verses on your Army products. For example Joshua 1:9. Please remove ALL biblical references from all of your Army products.”
As we explained in our recent post, if the Army (or USMC) approved the sale of SoS religious products that include the official Army emblem and also approved the sale of SoS non-religious products that include the Army emblem, then there is not a First Amendment problem. In fact, in this context, if the Army were to prohibit the sale of SoS religious products that include the Army emblem, while permitting the sale of non-religious products with the Army emblem, the Army would be in violation of the First Amendment by denigrating religious expression in favor of non-religious expression.