HONOLULU — A Marine base on Oahu is keeping its "God bless the military" sign despite pressure from a religious freedom group.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Marine Corps Base Hawaii commander Col. Sean C. Killeen responded Friday to a request from the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The sign reads, "God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them." It was erected after Sept. 11, 2001, and Killeen says it stands as a secular sign of support without inhibiting other religions.
"We will always support all service members' rights to pursue and practice their own belief sets, whether religious or not," he said.
Founder Mikey Weinstein says the Military Religious Freedom Foundation represents 72 Marines on the base.
Killeen said no service members have complained about the sign, but Weinstein argues that's because they fear retribution.
The foundation wrote in a Sept. 24 letter to the base that the sign violates the Establishment Clause in the Constitution by promoting one religion over another.
The group wants the sign relocated to chapel grounds, taken down or accompanied by other signs bearing messages like "Goddess Bless" and "There is no god to bless ... We have each other."
Neither the base nor Killeen responded to the request for additional signs.
"He hasn't had the courage here to say, 'I'm going to disallow the other signs of other faith groups,'" Weinstein said, noting that would be a violation under the constitution.
Weinstein said the group is considering a lawsuit.