The Daily Mail reports that the U.S. Defense Department expanded their list of recognized faiths and established a process for members of the armed forces to apply for waivers for reasonable exceptions to standard uniform and appearance to accomodate religious beliefs. Some excerpts from the story state:
“The Nevada Army Guard said this month Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Hopper is the first guard soldier to receive a religious accommodation approval for a beard even though ‘growth consistently degrades the protection factor provided by the protective masks currently in the Army inventory’ according to ALARACT 002/2019…
“It comes after in 2017, the Defense Department expanded their list of recognized faiths and shared how troops can apply for a waiver that will let them wear a beard of items such as a turban and headscarf.
“The Army and Air Force then granted waivers for Sikh and Muslim service members of the faiths.
“They say four soldiers and four airmen declare paganism as their religion. Eight soldiers and three airmen in the Nevada Guard list Islam as their religion.
“‘The Army will approve requests for accommodation of religious practices, unless accommodation will adversely affect military necessity, including unit readiness, individual readiness, and health and/or safety for soldiers and units,’ All Army Activities message No. 002/2019 states. “
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thanks to Soror Amy for the tip!