Religious Coercion

It’s time to shine a light on the religious coercion taking place in the military. Our service members should never be subjected to religious proselytizing.

The military presents a unique situation in which the government is intricately involved in daily life for more than a million active duty personnel. For this reason, it is imperative that the government displays strict neutrality towards religion and belief in the military. Individuals of every faith and no faith have always served together in the Armed Forces. When Americans volunteer to serve their country, they should not be subjected to religious coercion or discrimination.

Religion, and Christianity in particular, is afforded special privileges within the U.S. military. Military cadets have frequently reported being pressured to participate in prayer during their training and as part of their graduation ceremonies. Additionally, military personnel have filled numerous complaints about being ordered to attend proselytizing religious events on military bases. Any religious event held on a military base must be strictly voluntary and officers should be instructed to ensure that their subordinates do not feel pressured to participate in activities that conflict with their conscience.

The Secular Coalition for America urges the Department of Defense to ensure that all official military ceremonies are religiously neutral and that personnel are never coerced into participating in religious activities.



Protecting the rights of all its citizens equally, while also holding everyone equally responsible for abiding by laws that serve to benefit our society, is a fundamental tenet of America’s constitutional democracy. Our laws must be unbiased and religiously neutral.

When the government favors one group and their belief system over another, it relegates all others to a second-class status. Secular values voters believe in an America where citizens of all faiths and of none are equally protected and held equally accountable by the law.

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