Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling of the United States Marines was successfully court-martialed for failing to go to her appointed place of duty, disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer, and four counts of disobeying the lawful order of a noncommissioned officer.
In plain English, her crime amounted to leaving a Bible verse up on her computer after a superior officer told her to take it down.
The punishment for this dastardly crime? A slashed rank down to private and a bad-conduct discharge. Which means she’s out of a job with a bad record in a lackluster economy.
On rendering that verdict, the military court in question declared that, because she was subjecting any visitors “coming to the desk for assistance… to biblical quotations in the military workplace,” that could easily have a “divisive impact to good order and discipline.”
The Bible is actually very much about good order and discipline. I mean, isn’t that one of people’s biggest complaints about it? That it’s too rigid and restricting?
I – and I’m sure Sterling – would argue those rules and regulations are more than worthwhile, since they’re issued out of love and concern for our wellbeing, much like a parent who tells his children not to play on train tracks or run with scissors.
But that aside, the Bible verse listed wasn’t even restrictive; it was empowering: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17).
Ghandi could have said that, for crying out loud! Or Budha. Or any other generic source of inspiration. How is it in any way shape or form offensive?
Now admittedly, I don’t know the exact situation. Maybe Sterling was intentionally and repeatedly disrespectful about the matter. Though according to her, her supervisor demanded she remove the Bible verses in question, cursed at her when she refused, and then threw them in the trash by the next day.
Oh yeah, and other Marines in the office were allowed to have their own workspace decorations with no backlash.
Though, I’m guessing, none of them were “biblical quotations” with “divisive impact to good order and discipline.”