U.S. Marine who was brought before a court-martial and then convicted for refusing to take down a bible verse that was displayed on her computer screen has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Armed Forces, FoxNews.com reports.
Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was convicted in 2014 at a North Carolina camp for disobeying an order from a superior that she take down this verse from the Old Testament:
“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”
Her superior and the military argued that the content “could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline,” Fox News reports.
Sterling was found guilty of disobeying orders and being disrespectful. She was discharged and given a lower rank from lance corporal to private. She unsuccessfully appealed to a lower appellate court and now Sterling is taking her case to a higher appeals court that presides over the Armed Forces.
Sterling’s lawyer, Michael Berry with the Liberty Institute, argued that the repercussions that can come about as a result of the military censoring religious forms of expressions can be major, and is an infringement on one’s constitutional rights.
“If the government can order a Marine not to display a Bible verse, they could try and order her not to get a religious tattoo, or go to church on Sunday,” Berry said. “Restricting a Marine’s free exercise of religion is blatantly unconstitutional.”
Sterling’s legal team will argue that her right to display the bible verse is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, since it is a form of religious exercise. Both lower courts that convicted, and then threw out Sterling’s appeal already ruled that that act does not apply in this case since displaying a Bible verse on a computer is not, exactly, a religious exercise.