Appeals Court Rules AGAINST First Ammendment In Case Of Courtmartialed Marine
A former Marine court-martialed in part for refusing to remove a biblical phrase from her workspace lost her appeal on Wednesday, when a federal court concluded the orders from her superiors did not constitute a "substantial burden" on her First Amendment rights.
Monifa Sterling, who was a lance corporal stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was court-martialed for various offenses relating to separate incidents – including disrespecting a superior officer, disobeying lawful orders, and failing to report to an assigned duty.
But the part of the case that fueled her court challenge involved orders to remove a personalized version of the biblical phrase from Isiah 54:17: "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper."
Sterling taped the verses in three spots on her workspace. Court testimony said Sterling's superior repeatedly ordered her to remove the signs -- and when she refused, trashed them.
In its 4-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces turned away Sterling’s case.
"We reject the argument that every interference with a religiously motivated act constitutes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion," the court said.