Collins Applauds Navy’s Decision to Change Course, Allow Service Members to Attend Worship Services

Jul 9, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement after the U.S. Navy reversed its order prohibiting service members from attending off-base worship services indoors while allowing social gatherings of any size. 

“I’m encouraged that the Navy has reversed course and decided to recognize their Constitutional duty to protect the religious freedom of our service members. As I told Secretary Esper last week, singling out religious gatherings while allowing other activities and unrestricted social gatherings to take place is unlawful, and I’m glad the Navy acknowledges that.

“While this is a step in the right direction, changes still need to be made. For too long, the Pentagon has turned a blind eye as our military leaders have completely disregarded their obligation to protect the religious freedom of its service members. I look forward to sitting down with Secretary Esper and leaders at the Department of Defense to further discuss how we can protect religious freedom across all branches of our military.”

Last week, Collins and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper blasting the Navy’s recent order prohibiting servicemembers and chaplains from attending off-base religious services indoors while simultaneously allowing social gatherings of any size, signaling a disparity in how religious services are treated in the Navy.

On May 14, 2020, Collins, Lamborn, and a number of their colleagues sent a letter to Secretary Esper urging him to protect the religious liberty of our servicemen and women as commands across the globe were giving in to baseless demands from anti-faith outside groups.