by Russell Irons ‘19
In January of last year, the United States Army conceded in a long struggle between the Sikhs and the Uniform Code Of Military Justice. Sikhism is a religion that originated in India. Its adherents do not cut hair on their face or head, and wrap their hair in a turban. The purpose of growing out one’s hair is to show respect for God’s creation, and it is considered one of the major tenets of Sikhism. This belief directly conflicts with the military’s regulations on hair. Army Regulation 670-1 covers the wear and appearance of uniforms. Both men and women are held to strict standards regarding hair. The Army allows trimmed moustaches, but not beards or hair of excessive length. While the Army allows Sikhs to wear turbans and beards, the issue is still hotly debated.
The purpose of these regulations in to ensure that the military upholds a grooming standard that shows the organization and discipline of its members, but they should not apply to those whose religion demands them to do otherwise. When you join the military, you yield yourself to the government and are subject to their rules. However, there is one higher authority than the government; God. If someone wants to serve their country, they should be allowed to do so without being forced to stray from their religious beliefs.