U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss) today sent a letter, cosigned by 22 Members of Congress, to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta expressing concern over recent actions to remove military insignias from Bibles. Since 2003, B&H Publishing has been publishing Bibles with the official emblems of the five branches of the military. The atheist group Military Religious Freedom Foundation is claiming responsibility for the revocation of trademark permission.
"The problem here is that it appears the decision made by DoD was in response to a manufactured, frivolous complaint," Nunnelee said. "The military should not be succumbing to pressure from outside groups to alter longstanding policy."
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000
Dear Mr. Secretary:
We write today to express our concern over recent actions to remove military insignias from Bibles. As you are aware, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is claiming responsibility for the revocation of permission for B&H Publishing group to use official emblems on its military-themed Bibles. While we are aware that each branch has replied individually to the MRFF, they did so on the same day with similar responses, and we are alarmed by the appearance of the Department of Defense bowing to a third-party.
Religious freedom is one the founding principles of our nation. Enshrined in the First Amendment is the right for Americans to worship our creator without the obstruction of the government. The brave men and women who have committed their lives to protect and defend the Constitution should surely be granted this fundamental opportunity. We are frustrated by outside groups aiming to limit these protections, but we are troubled by the fact that the Department of Defense has not clearly renounced these attempts and stated its intentions to preserve religious freedom in the military.
Clarity on this issue is needed, and we look forward to your response on how the decision to revoke this trademark permission was made and what the Department of Defense is doing to ensure that the religious freedom of the members of our military is preserved and protected. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.