The 14th amendment states in part that:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of
the United States; Nor shall any State deprive any
person of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law; Nor deny to any person within its
Jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Figure 2-7.The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States, as it addresses the equal protection
of the laws. Provisions of the 14th Amendment have
struck down state laws which provided religious services
for Christians and Jews in prisons but not for Buddhists
(Bullock v. Carter 405 U.S. 134 (1972)).
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience, and religion. This right includes the
freedom to change his religion or belief, and free-
dom, either alone or in community with others in
public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in
teaching, practice, worship, and observance.
Figure 2-8.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Article 18, Charter of the United Nations.
Religious freedom in America is based upon the guarantees given in the
1st and 14th amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The
1st amendment (figure 2-6) is directed toward the U.S. Congress and the
14th amendment (figure 2-7), as now interpreted, is directed toward the state
and territorial governments of the United States and bars legal interference
in the practice of religion and worship. Furthermore, as a member of the
United Nations and signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, Article 18 in the Charter of the United Nations, (figure 2-8), the
United States endorses the principle that everyone has the right to freedom of
thought, conscience, and religion.
As can readily be seen, the composition of the Navy, like American
society, is characterized by religious pluralism (figure 2-9). The role of
Religious Program Specialists is to provide secular support to chaplains in
their religious ministries to naval personnel of all faiths. In order to provide
this support, it is necessary for RPs to have a basic knowledge of the various
religious requirements and practices of these faith groups. The material
presented in this chapter is by no means comprehensive but is meant to serve
as a guide for RPs in their efforts to support Navy chaplains who provide
ministry to naval personnel as prescribed by Article 1163, U.S. Navy
Regulations (figure 2-10) and Department of Defense Human Goals (figure