The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that the Department of Defense will begin allowing Muslim and Sikh students who wear an Islamic head scarf (hijab) or a turban to participate in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).Let me be clear. By "misfit" I'm NOT talking about Ms. Demin Zawity who precipitated the DOD decision. I'm talking about the Obama administration, specifically one Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield who was "asked to respond on behalf of the Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta to...[CAIR's]...October 13, 2011 letter concerning Miss Demin Zawity’s request to wear a religious head covering (hijab) while participating in an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) event at Ravenwood High School."
Was Stubblefield aware that some years ago a Jewish US Air Force officer sued the military for the privilege of wearing a yarmulke or skullcap and he was threatened with Court martial? The Jewish officer sued, and in 1986 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the military and ruled against the Jew.
I'm not an attorney, but the precedent seems clear. According to the Orlando Sentinel article, the Court found that:
Military officials were not constitutionally required to condition their professional decisions to the Constitution because the military was found to be a "specialized society separate from civilian society" and "to accomplish its mission the military must foster instinctive obedience, unity, commitment, and esprit de corps."Now, the 1986 Supreme Court decision centered about the Jewish officer wearing his skullcap indoors. Whether the DOD will allow Ms. Zawity to wear her hajib only in an outdoor parade and not indoors is an open question. My guess is we'll soon see pictures of Ms. Zawity and other Muslims in full military uniform wearing hajibs and turbins outdoors and in.
Is this the end of the world? Hardly. So long as the rule extends to military personnel of all religions, it may even be a morale booster. On the other hand, does anyone really believe we'll ever see a native American US military officer marching in a parade wearing a full-feathered Sioux war bonnet (which I imagine must have some religious significance)? Or how about a Catholic wearing a black silk biretta complete with a fur ball on top?
I have one question for Mr. Stubblefield (and ultimately Mr. Panetta and Barack Obama): Was this ruling honestly made in the interests of the US military and its mission to defend America, or was it made to mollify CAIR and the Islamic community, which is after all a potential voting constituency of the Democrat Party?
I have two questions for Muslims (or for that matter any religious or immigrant group of fundamentalist philosophy):
First, knowing the military is a, shall we say, extra-Constitutional authority that exercises strict discipline and a strict dress code, why volunteer to join it? When military service was compulsory, individuals who objected to serving on religious grounds could petition for the status of conscientious objector. Some Quakers, who do not believe in war and refuse to fight in war, do not choose to enter the military and, then, sue the military to change its warrior ways. Why do you?
Second, assuming Ms. Zawity may be an immigrant, I've always wondered why immigrants come to this country and then, after arriving, seek to change this country's customs and traditions to accommodate theirs? Don't they do their homework? Don't they know what they're getting themselves into?
Suppose I am a Catholic and I decide to emigrate to Iran where I know I would be a second class citizen as a matter of official, national policy. In the United States I have religious freedom; in Iran, I would have none. Would emigration to Iran be a rational decision on my part? Would it be rational, after I arrive, to sue the Ayatollah for the "right" to pray a rosary in the public square?
I just don't get it!