US Army removes 'God and country' recruiting sign

(Photo: United States Army)

An Army recruiting station in Phoenix was admonished by seniors on Friday over a recruiting sign that included a religious message. 

Since at least October, the station had a sandwich board outside of its office that read: "On a mission for both God and country." 

US Army Recruiting Command spokesman Brian Lepley said the sign, which included a Special Forces patch and Ranger, Airborne, and Special Forces tabs, was erected by "local recruiting personnel" without prior approval.  

"Had the process been followed, the copy shown would not have been approved," Lepley told reporters. 

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an atheist organisation, called the sign the "Poster of Shame" and a "stunning, unconstitutional disgrace" in a blog post published Thursday, according to the Army Times. 

MRFF'S Mikey Weinstein applauded the Army's decision to remove the advertisement. 

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is delighted the Constitution has been adhered to by the US Army Recruiting Command," he said in a statement. 

Separation of church and state issues were also raised at a National Guard station in Missouri last August. 

The station was threatened with a lawsuit after a humanist organisation took issue with the station's display of Gideon Bibles in the lobby. 

Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen of the Office of the Secretary of Defense said that the display of religious materials in military stations does not violate any laws.

"Non-Federal entities may request and when authorized in writing by the unit commander may place secular or religious literature for use (including, but not limited to, Bibles, pamphlets, tracts, and texts) in a location on the base or recruiting station designated by the commander," he said in a statement.