Don't Let This Army Captain Wear a Beard
Uniform, appearance exceptions a slippery slope to ruin
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2009 12:56 PM CST
US Army Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, who has been granted the right to wear his traditional Sikh beard and turban in uniform.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Following the Fort Hood shootings, top Army brass have worried about a “backlash” against Muslim soldiers. Funny, then, that the Army itself is creating the climate for backlash by eroding the uniform code with concessions to religious custom, writes Elaine Donnelly. Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, was granted the right to wear his beard and turban in uniform last month, an accommodation that will weaken military culture, "fueling doubts about the judgment of leadership and resentment of special treatment for religious minorities."

And along with those resentments will come more requests, Donnelly writes in the National Review: “If individuals on active duty may choose their own mode of dress on a 'case-by-case basis,' why not allow peyote smoking and other controversial religious practices," let military band members sport "cool-looking" beards, and ditch the "demeaning" practice of saluting superiors? “Absent adherence to sound priorities, the Army will have difficulty avoiding a headlong slide down diversity’s slippery slope.”