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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 10:53 AM
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Bearded rabbi allowed to join army without shaving
December 2, 2011

NEW YORK (JTA) -- A Chabad rabbi has won his battle to join the U.S. Army without shaving his beard.

Rabbi Menachem Stern, whose approval to serve as an Army Reserve chaplain in 2009 was rescinded because he refused to shave his beard, will be allowed to serve after settling a lawsuit against the military, Chabad.org reported. Stern expects to be sworn into service next week and begin chaplain training in January.

Though army policy does allow religious waivers for beards on a case-by-case, the waivers had previously been granted only after the men entered the service clean-shaven.

In December, Stern filed a lawsuit against the military after attempts -- aided by Senators Joe Lieberman, Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand -- to receive a waiver failed.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/12/02/3090541/bear...
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 03:32 PM
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1. No real problem here.
Sure technically he gets a privilege denied others but

a)beards are definitely important to his religion and hurt no-one else (so it's not a case akin to a taxi driver refusing to carry passengers with booze or pharmacists refusing abortifacients. Nobody is deprived of a chaplain's assistance because he has a beard).

b) The privilege is trivial to others without the religious trait. I have a beard. I much prefer having one. I have no plans to shave it, but I would not be traumatized in any way if I needed to lose it for a job or medical procedure or something else significant. It's not that he gets any subatantial additional benefit because of the accommodation. It's not a five breaks a day scenario or a carte blanche to proselytize others with impunity.
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ChadwickHenryWard Donating Member (692 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 04:32 PM
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2. I remember my friend told me the story a while ago
of the sole Sikh in the US military. He was a surgeon who wanted to be a medic for the Army. At first they wouldn't let him in because he refused to shave his beard (it interferes with one's ability to properly wear a gas mask.) Then they agreed to give him a special dispensation. Since he can't wear a gas mask, they will never send him into a combat area, which doesn't cause any problems for anybody except the guy that has to go in his place.
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 05:59 PM
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3. I knew it, I knew it. First you let the gays in and next thing guys with beards are going to want in
What next, dogs in the Army?
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deacon_sephiroth Donating Member (315 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 09:49 AM
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4. I knew it
reserves, AND a chaplain. You could get away with just about anything you want under those circumstances. Reserves are easier and chaplains are so insanely special it's like not even being in the military (except the rare occassion you have to deploy and get mortars flung at you blindly)
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