(IntegrityMag.com) – Some people try to take the separation of Church and State a little too far, poking into private matters and creating issues where they don’t necessarily exist. In a massive recent overstep, officials at the Pentagon revoked the licensing of official military insignias in response to what they deemed to be “proselytizing.”
The company it targeted, Shields of Strength, hasn’t taken the decision lying down, and it could be taking the government agency to court over blatant religious discrimination.
Shields of Strength
Company founder, Kenny Vaughan, made his first Shields of Strength inspirational dog tag in 1996 after overcoming his fears of learning to water-ski. He felt that wearing a line of scripture personal to him could serve as a source of strength and vision, and he found himself starting a trend among friends and family. Demand for his dog tags exploded, and in 1998, Vaughan set up shop.
The company went on to provide inspirational tags to military officials across the country, including the entire 86th Signal Battalion, which went to Afghanistan in 2001 to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom. Vaughan explains he and his wife, Tammie, believe their family business is part of a higher mission to spread love, forgiveness and strength to people who need it the most.
In 2019, an organization calling itself Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent a complaint to the Department of Defense calling the dog tags a violation of laws dividing Church and State. The organization alleged their very distribution turned government-approved apparel into “Christian proselytizing.”
The military owns trademarks for the insignias representing its branches, and it sells rights to companies all the time for private use. Vaughan asserts the fact Pentagon officials have singled out Shields of Strength proves religious discrimination, and he intends to validate it in court.
Mike Berry, a lawyer from First Liberty Institute, which filed the lawsuit, has also spoken out. He maintains the refusal to license the company is part of a radical Leftist agenda, and they’re willing to fight for what they believe is right. The First Liberty Institute lawyer called out the parties responsible for the Pentagon’s decision, telling Breitbart such people “make their living by being offended.”
Vaughan and First Liberty believe they have a solid case. Shields of Strength is a private company selling to the interests of individuals who want more religious inspiration in their lives. It would be one thing if they were pushing to put Bible verses on all dog tags, but Kenny and Tammie Vaughan are simply trying to spread some good — without stepping on anyone’s toes or imposing any views. Has religious freedom really gone so far out the window that even private, family-run businesses need to watch their backs?
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