The ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross shaped headstones removed- Fiction!

The ACLU has filed a suit to have all military cross shaped headstones removed- Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email that claims that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit to remove “military cross-shaped headstones.” The email also says that the ACLU is forcing Navy Chaplains to cease praying in the name of Jesus and also wants to end all prayers in the military.

The Truth:

This is Fiction. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) posted a statement on their Frequently Asked Questions section saying that “The ACLU has never pursued the removal of religious symbols from personal gravestones.” 

This wasn’t a matter of the removal of religious symbols but one of diversity, however.  The ACLU and  the Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a suit to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs to agree to allow family members to choose from 38 different  religious symbols for headstones to represent the variety of faiths practiced in the US.

Click for ACLU FAQ 

Other emails have surfaced over the years regarding the ACLU, religion and the Military but this eRumor hit wide distribution in the Summer of 2009. reported on The ACLU’s opposition to US Marines praying in 2003 and that one is also Fiction!   Click here for our findings.

The claim that Navy Chaplains not being permitted to pray in the name of Jesus has nothing to do with the ACLU but rather a story of a former U.S. Navy Chaplain who says he was fired for praying in the name of Jesus.

In August 15, 2006, World Net Daily reported that an Evangelical Episcopal Church priest who served as a Navy Chaplain, Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt was charged “with refusing to follow an order and wearing his uniform at a March 30 event in Washington, D.C., where he prayed on the steps of the White House.”  Gordon argued that he was being punished for praying “in Jesus name” during the event along with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in March of that year.  Gordon is noted for staging an 18-day hunger strike to protest a new prayer policy authorizing only generic prayers.

The ACLU does not oppose religion or prayer and according to their website,  “The ACLU believes in the right of each and every American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU works to ensure religious liberty is protected by keeping the government out of the realm of all religions.”

updated 07/01/09