Thursday, December 16, 2021

Military Sued After It Withdraws Permission For Selling Religious-Themed Replica Dog Tags

Suit was filed this week against the Department of Defense in a Texas federal district court by a company that creates military-themed replica "dog tags" featuring Army, Marine and Airforce emblems. The emblems are used under trademark licenses from the military services. The company's replica tags-- which are often worn by members of the military and their families-- also feature Biblical verses or religiously inspired phrases. After receiving a complaint from an advocacy organization, the trademark licensing offices of the military services informed the company that it may no longer produce or sell trademark-licensed products that feature religious content. The complaint (full text) in Shields of Strength v. U.S. Department of Defense, (ED TX, filed 12/14/2021) alleges that DoD's actions violate plaintiff's rights under RFRA, the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses as well as its free speech rights. First Liberty issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.