- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2015

A religious sign that was erected on Marine Corps Base Hawaii after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has come under fire from a watchdog group that says it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The sign says, “God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them.” The Military Religious Freedom Foundation seeks to have it taken down and moved to the grounds of the base chapel, the Marine Corps Times reported.

In a message to the base’s commanding officer, Col. Sean C. Killeen, the group asserted that the sign is offensive and illegal.

“This sign is a brazen violation of the No Establishment clause of the Constitution, as it sends the clear message that your installation gives preference to those who hold religious beliefs over those who do not, and those who prefer a monotheistic, intervening god over other deities or theologies,” wrote Blake A. Page, special assistant to MRFF founder and president, Michael Weinstein.

“We recognize the value that religious activity brings to the lives of many, however this sign is not in keeping with the time, place, and manner restrictions required by law [or] for any military commander to bolster religious principles through the official authority given to their rank and position,” the letter said.

Mr. Weinstein said the sign was brought to their attention by 23 active-duty Marines, who were unwilling to lodge complaints through their chain of command for fear of reprisal, the Times reported.

“We have no issue with the message that is being posited with that sign if they move that to the chapel grounds, but it is certainly certainly something that is in violation the No Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” Mr. Weinstein told the paper. “When it is not on chapel grounds, it is divisive. It is elevating the concept of one faith over no faith, which the Supreme Court has made very clear is wrong, and so we have asked the commander — you know this sign is clearly not within the time, place and manner restrictions required by the law — and so we’ve asked him to move it to the chapel grounds or take off the installation altogether.”

Capt. Timothy Irish, a base spokesman, said officials there are investigating the matter.

“The commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii has received a complaint about a sign on base which was erected shortly after September 11, 2001,” Capt. Irish said in a statement, the Times reported. “He has tasked his staff with researching the origin of the sign and its compliance with existing regulations. The Base Inspector’s Office is reviewing its files to see if there have been any complaints in the past. MCBH will exercise due diligence to ensure compliance with existing regulations and law, including the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

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