Updated: Feb 6, 2022
I am a Major in the Army. As of February 1st, I am refusing all orders to wear a mask, and I published statements online, in-uniform, explaining why. I know the strong empirical, historical, ethical, and psychological arguments which, on their own, should be enough to prevent any mask mandates. For me personally, however, the religious case against wearing a mask on the basis of COVID-19 makes mask-wearing such an intolerable violation of conscience that I would rather be court-martialed than put one on again.
Sincerely-held religious objections make compulsory mask-wearing warrant strict scrutiny under the 1st Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. These laws apply to all branches of the military. Mask mandates cannot survive strict scrutiny, and if the Army cannot legally or morally force a Soldier to wear a mask, then no other governmental institution can force you or your children to wear a mask. Like a modern-day One Ring, winning on masks in the military means winning on masks, vaccines, and other COVID mandates everywhere else.