U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) Thursday introduced The Eliminate DEI in the Military Act to prohibit federal funding from being used for any diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activity in the armed forces, service academies, or at the Department of Defense. 

Rep. Steube Revives Bill To Allow Sales Of Religious Jewelry With Military Logos

Rep. Greg Steube will try once again to convince Congress to allow those licensed to sell goods bearing the Defense Department’s trademarked logos with religious symbols.
Rep. Greg Steube (Steube’s Office)

Rep. Greg Steube will try once again to convince Congress to allow those licensed to sell goods bearing the Defense Department’s trademarked logos with religious symbols.

The Sarasota Republican highlighted the measure on Sunday in an email to constituents. He noted that it was one of 13 amendments he had proposed to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is the Pentagon’s primary spending bill.

Steube said in a statement that his proposal would “ensure our military’s budget prioritizes the safety and security of the American people” and that they “are commonsense and will make our nation safer and stronger.”

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Some of his other measures include prohibiting federal spending to promote “diversity, equity, and inclusion” activities, full reinstatement and back pay for any military personnel who were discharged for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, allowing troops to carry concealed weapons on military installations, and empowering the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General to audit the funding sent to Ukraine in support of its war with Russia.  

The trademark issue is one Steube attempted to tackle before.

According to a March 2020 report by Stars & Stripes, the GOP congressman, who also is an Army veteran who served in Iraq, filed a bill to overturn the Defense Department policy that prohibits its trademark licensees from selling goods with religious symbols.

Steube did so after the left-wing Military Religious Freedom Foundation objected that a Christian jewelry company sold dog tags adorned with Christian crosses and Bible verses.

The U.S. Marine Corps actually banned the company, Shields of Strength, to stop its practice, even though the company was selling them to willing buyers who chose the dog tags. Shields of Strength was subsequently forced to cancel a Marine Corps unit’s request for 2,000 of the tags, which retailed for about $10 each.  

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“When I deployed to Iraq, I took great comfort in my faith in God and my savior Jesus Christ, and I carried scripture and a cross my father had given me on my dog tags,” Steube told Stars & Stripes at the time.

“Our service members fight for our freedom and our Constitution, and one of those freedoms is our freedom of religion. Our service members should have access to dog tags that display that religious freedom, and companies should not be penalized from producing those tags.” 

Mike Berry, a lawyer with the First Liberty Institute, which was representing Shields of Strength, supported Steube’s bill.    

“Denying our troops a source of inspiration, hope, and encouragement simply because it contains a religious message is an outrage,” he told Stars & Stripes.

He also rejected the idea from liberals that the troops could still get the tags, just minus the religious symbols.

“It’s not what service members are demanding,” he said. “They want to have their unit logo on one side and the Bible verse on the other.”

“We’re hopeful that the DoD will be able to see the benefit that these replica dog tags bring to the military and their families and allow Shields of Strength to make and distribute those,” he said.

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