Senior Litigation Associate, Craig H. Handler, was recently honored to serve as a guest speaker for a special event held at The Chai Center – Dix Hills, New York Jewish Center. Mr. Handler, a staff Judge Advocate with the New York Army Guard, spoke about a wide range of legal issues impacting the U.S. military, including the exercise of religious freedom for military personnel. Mr. Handler’s presentation highlighted the fundamental principle that all branches of the United States military are afforded the same rights to religious freedom, as are American civilians. However, Mr. Handler noted that members of the Armed Forces willingly surrender on a temporary basis certain free exercise rights when it impinges on military discipline and the successful completion of a military objective. The discussion involved a fascinating look at the rules guaranteeing religious rights to U.S. servicemen and woman, which are codified for the Armed Forces in Title 10, United States Code (USC), sections 3073, 3547, 5142, and 8067, and in Department of Defense Directive (DODD) 1300.17, “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” which describes the commander’s responsibility to provide for religious accommodation.

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