After receiving criticism from a religious liberty law firm and multiple chaplains, the United States Navy is lifting several restrictions on religious services for its service members, as reported by Fox News.
As explained by Sarah Self-Kyler, director of Fleet Public Affairs for the Navy, the restrictions aimed at “prohibiting Sailors from attending off-base indoor religious services,” which she insisted was still a necessary rule in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, she admitted that due to the new rule change, service members will no longer be prevented from attending such services if local safety precautions are met.
The change was implemented after a formal complaint from the First Liberty Institute, a law firm specializing in freedom of religious expression. In the letter, general counsel Mike Berry references President Donald Trump’s oft-stated commitment to religious liberty as a reason to ease up restrictions on religious services.
There have been numerous widespread examples of suppression of religious liberty in the wake of the coronavirus, particularly in states run by Democratic governors. Most recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) ordered that churchgoers be banned from singing in church, baselessly claiming that singing and chanting increases the spread of the virus.